TTCS board member to increase holdings
Sugar producer Thanh Thanh Cong-Bien Hoa JSC (TTCS) has announced a member of its management board will buy 12 million shares via trading on the stock market.
Dang Huynh Uc My plans to purchase the shares between December 24 and January 22, via both order-matching and put-through transactions, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
My previously bought 20 million TTCS shares between October 17 and November 7 to increase her ownership to 10.6 per cent from 6.56 per cent.
If she buys all 12 million shares, My will raise her stake in the firm to 13 per cent. My is also the management board chairwoman at Thanh Thanh Cong Investment JSC, the biggest shareholder of the sugar firm.
Thanh Thanh Cong-Bien Hoa JSC is listing more than 557 million shares on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange under code SBT. Its shares gained 0.8 per cent to end Thursday at VND19,950 (US$0.87) per share.
In the financial year 2017-18 between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, the sugar company earned VND10.28 trillion ($451.3 million) in total revenue, up 130 per cent year on year.
The firm’s pre-tax profit rose 116 per cent year on year to VND682 billion. Post-tax profit reached VND545 billion.
The company plans to make an 8 per cent dividend payout for this financial year.
For financial year 2018-19, the company targets VND11.5 trillion in revenue and VND680 billion in pre-tax profit.
Beta Securities fined for breaking margin loan rules
The State Securities Commission (SSC) has issued a decision to fine Beta Securities Incorporation VND125 million (US$5,500) for violating rules on margin trading.
The company had allowed its customers to carry margin trading deals that exceeded their margin creditability, SSC said in a statement posted on its website on Wednesday.
The company was also fined VND85 million for reporting inaccurate data about its financial security at the end of January, June and September 2018.
The total fine for Beta Securities Incorporation is VND210 million and the company will have to pay the fine by December 24.
The maximum required margin ratio set by the SSC is 5:5, meaning each shareholder has to deposit a minimum of 50 per cent of the purchase value to make loans from brokerages.
However, some securities firms have allowed their customers to cut their required deposit and make higher loans.
Some of the companies also give margin lending to investors to buy UPCoM shares of the companies that have not met the SSC’s margin lending requirements.
Vietcombank and American Express launch Premium Unlimited Cashback Card
Vietcombank and American Express on Tuesday introduced the Vietcombank Cashplus Platinum American Express Card, offering customers unlimited cash rebates as well as lifestyle benefits.
Card holders will get unlimited 1.5 per cent cashback on all purchases, contactless payment and complimentary green fees at nine premium golf clubs across Viet Nam.
Thomas William Tobin, head of retail banking group at Vietcombank, said the market has many cashback products, but this one is unique as it offers simple and unlimited cashback on every purchase, anytime, anywhere.
Sanjiv Malhotra, Vice President and General Manager of Global Network Services in South East Asia and the South Pacific for American Express, said: “By bringing together the best of Vietcombank, the card will help widen our appeal to another segment of customers.”
The ninth product from both companies complements the existing suite of products which includes the Vietcombank Vietnam Airlines Platinum American Express card and the Vietcombank American Express Corporate Card to cater to the needs of different customer segments.
Lotte Finance offers consumer loans
Lotte Finance Vietnam Co Ltd (Lotte Finance) launched loan services in Viet Nam on Tuesday, it’s first new product after Lotte Card acquired Techcom Finance in March this year.
Unsecured loans are one of the two main businesses of the company in Viet Nam, with loans of a maximum VND100 million (US$4,300) with a term of up to five years on offer.
With the target customers with monthly income from VND3 million (US$128) and up, Lotte Finance hopes to offer better access to financial services for more Vietnamese people.
“I felt excited as Lotte Finance officially started the business. The Lotte Card’s acquisition of a finance company attracted attention not only in Viet Nam but also in Korea. Lotte Card will make more efforts to develop more convenient non-cash payment methods which can be used anywhere and anytime,” said Kim Chang Won, CEO of Lotte Card at the launching ceremony on Tuesday.
At the first launch, Lotte Finance will run its loan services at two cities including Ha Noi and HCM City before expanding to other regions.
The company’s interest rate is expected to be lower than the average market rate.
From now to the first half of 2019, Lotte Finance is expected to promote different forms of consumer loans such as durable loans and credit cards in various provinces and cities nationwide.
Lotte Finance was established after Lotte Card acquired Techcom Finance in March this year and got an operation licence in September.
Finance ministry eyes $8.78b bond issuance
The Ministry of Finance aims to issue VND200 trillion (US$8.78 billion) worth of Government bonds and develop green Government bonds in 2019.
The goals were set by the finance ministry during a meeting last week held by the Ha Noi Stock Exchange on the status of the Vietnamese bond market in the final quarter of 2018.
According to the ministry, the infrastructure of the secondary bond market is set to be improved to raise the quality of bond trading. Other goals include the publication of issuance dates by quarter for the whole year and the improvement in quality of bond market developers.
In 2019, the State Treasury will focus on fixed rate bonds and long/short coupon bonds and will consider re-issuing the bonds, which had been issued and matured in previous years, to raise the number of bond codes and to reduce the amount of small-valued bonds. It will also buy back Government bonds with maturity of less than three months.
The Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX) will aim to develop a trading platform to buyback and convert bonds, and offer supportive tools for market developers.
Lower bond issued in 11 months
According to the HNX, as of November 30, total value of Government bonds raised on the northern trading bourse hit VND147 trillion ($6.45 billion), down 24.3 per cent year on year. The figure was equal to half of the full-year target.
Of the figure, the State Treasury raised VND137.3 trillion worth of G-bonds, down 19 per cent year on year and fulfilling 78.4 per cent of its full-year target. Insurance companies topped the market by market share as their purchases accounted for 66.4 per cent of the market’s total.
The total value of the secondary bond market was nearly VND1.1 quadrillion ($48.3 billion), up 8.2 per cent year on year and equal to 20 per cent of last year’s gross domestic product.
Daily average trading value reached VND8.78 trillion in the past 11 months, down 3.3 per cent year on year. The value of repurchase agreement transactions accounted for 53.7 per cent of the market’s total, up 4.5 per cent year on year.
Banks raise deposit rates but only short-term
Many commercial banks raised deposit interest rates in recent months, triggering worries about the increasing pressure on the lending rates.
But some insist this was only a short-term measure.
From the beginning of December, rates for deposits of less than six month terms were mostly increased to the ceiling of 5.5 per cent and 5.7-7.6 per cent for deposits of six to 12 month terms.
For long-term deposits, rates were raised from 6.5-8 per cent per year popular in the first months of this year to currently 8.5-8.7 per cent.
National Citizen Bank, Viet Capital Bank, Bac A Bank, VPBank, PVComBank, VietA Bank, Sai Gon Commercial Bank and Orient Commercial Bank were among those offering 7 per cent interest rate for deposits of six-month term.
At VPBank, depositors would be provided rates of up to 7.7 per cent per year for deposits from six to 12 month terms. For deposits of 12-24 month terms, Viet Capital Bank offered a rate of 8.6 per cent per year and 8.4-8.5 per cent at TP Bank, VIB and PVComBank but with a requirement about the deposit sum.
Besides raising deposit rates, banks also provided promotions to attract depositors.
This raised a question whether the trend of increasing deposit interest rates would continue and weigh on lending rates.
According to Truong Huy Mai, a financial analyst from RMIT, the borrowing demand of the economy is often high in the end months of the year, resulting in that banks must raise rates to attract more deposits. However, it is different this year because of the State Bank of Viet Nam’s policy not increasing credit growth targets for commercial banks although some hit their credit growth targets in just first nine months of this year.
Mai added that from the beginning of this year, banks were required to increase the percentage of medium and long-term capital sources, therefore banks tended to raise interest rate for long-term loans to attract capitals. However, raising interest rates was only short-term pressure and deposit rates would soon be stable, Mai said.
A representative of the State Bank of Viet Nam was quoted by Nguoi Lao Dong (Labourer) newspaper that banks raised deposit rates to attract idle money from citizens, not because of that banks were facing with liquidity shortage. What’s important to the market was that lending rates remained stable, he said, adding that the central bank would keep a close watch on the recent developments of deposit rates and that which banks increased lending rates unreasonably or provided loans excessively in sectors not prioritised such as property and securities would be “whistled”.
Governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam Le Minh Hung recently said interest rates were kept at low levels this year, which together with the stability of the financial market helped remove difficulties for businesses, especially the private sector.
Besides, the restructuring of the banking sector and bad debt handling also posted positive results, Hung said, adding that bad debts were reduced significantly and was now at 2,16 per cent of the total outstanding loans. He said this helped consolidate confidence of depositors.
At the Government’s meeting in November, the Government asked the State Bank of Viet Nam to closely watch the development of foreign exchange rates and interest rates as well as be flexible in monetary policies to ensure liquidity of credit institutions to stabilise the monetary and forex market and meet the credit demand of the economy.
Vietcombank and Vietnam Railways ink strategic co-operation agreement
Vietcombank and Vietnam Railways (VNR) on Thursday signed a comprehensive strategic co-operation agreement in Ha Noi, marking an important step in the development of their relationship.
Vietcombank will supply comprehensive financial solution packages, from banking services such as funding projects and mobilisation capital, international payment and money flow management to other services including reasonably priced, high-quality personal lending.
Chairman of Vietcombank Nghiem Xuan Thanh said the bank hoped to become a comprehensive partner of VNR in the fields of banking finance, payment, transaction management, retail service and project investment contracts.
At the signing ceremony, the two sides also inked a credit contract, in which Vietcombank committed a long-term credit package worth more than VND260 billion (US$11.13 million) to help Saigon Railway Transport JSC, an affiliate of VNR, buy 30 passenger carriages and 50 goods carriages.
VNR has this year targeted revenue growth of more than 8 per cent over last year’s figure of VND8.17 trillion, and is aiming for after-tax profit of VND158 billion, VND4 billion higher than last year’s. It hopes to raise the average income of employees by 10 per cent.
MA dispute arbitration key: experts
Vietnamese and foreign firms are increasingly resorting to arbitration for settling disputes related to mergers and acquisitions, experts told a conference in HCM City on December 20.
Lawyer Dang Xuan Hop, an arbiter from the Viet Nam International Arbitration Centre (VIAC), said alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is being used more and more.
Arbitration offers great convenience, speed and affordability, and is highly enforceable, he said, adding that the quality of ADR is also on the rise and the Vietnamese Government has been supporting it.
Phan Trong Dat, deputy general secretary of VIAC, said 92 per cent of foreign companies — polled in a survey by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and USAID — do not prioritise using courts to resolve disputes.
Tran Du Lich, vice chairman of the VIAC, said as Viet Nam’s merger and acquisition market grows, so do legal risks and disputes, and resolving them through arbitration is highly recommended.
Truong Nhat Quang, managing partner of law firm YKVN, said disputes relates to mergers and acquisitions in Viet Nam typically involve issues such as guarantee violations, compensation, price adjustments (whether they were done correctly) and shareholding.
But he said negotiating is preferable to relying solely on arbitration or the courts.
Besides, firms need to watch out for concepts and terminology in mergers and acquisitions deals that may not be covered by Vietnamese laws yet, he warned.
The conference was organised by the VIAC and the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board.
Ha Tinh lures $294 million of investment this year
Investment in the central province of Ha Tinh has reached a total of US$294 million this year.
This week, the provincial People’s Committee announced the licensing of 68 investment projects worth a combined VND6.8 trillion ($294 million). They included 60 domestic projects and other eight funded by international investors.
Ten of them are located in Vung Ang Economic Zone, where the giant Taiwanese Hung Nghiep Formosa steel plant is based.
According to the committee’s report, the projects are in a diverse range of sectors including high technology, industrial manufacturing, renewable energy and urban and industrial infrastructure.
The committee named a $15 million Korean-backed clothing project and a German-funded $47 million solar plant as the most prominent FDI investments of the year.
Ha Tinh is listed as a less-developed locality in the country. Many know of this locality due to the toxic ocean spill caused by the province-based Formosa steel plant.
Farmers receive help to raise quality, traceability of goods
Farmers are increasingly receiving assistance from organisations to help them produce high-quality, traceable goods fit for export, experts said at a conference in HCM City on Friday.
Vu Kim Hanh, chairwoman of the Vietnamese High Quality Product Business Association, said the association had issued more geographical indicator certificates and helped firms become more aware of high-quality standards.
She said that adding value during the agricultural process required modern technologies and deep understanding of markets, and that retailers must keep track of the quality of the food they sell.
Most farmers, however, are still unfamiliar with high-quality standards and applying for GLOBALG.A.P. certification.
Hanh said that a cost-effective “localg.a.p.” programme would help them gradually reach GLOBALG.A.P. standards through consultancies and incremental goals.
Pham Viet Anh, a representative of GLOBALG.A.P., said that a “localg.a.p.” number which identifies individual farmers would be included in the GLOBALG.A.P. database. These numbers will help improve traceability of their goods.
The programme also helps retailers find good local suppliers and farmers gain access to local markets.
Le Dang Trung, general director of Real-Time Analytics, said that farmers’ use of mobile apps could help them enter information that would improve traceability.
The conference was held by the Vietnamese High-Quality Product Business Association.
Viet Nam targets high-tech FDI for development
Viet Nam would continue encouraging foreign investments in the long term, with focus on high-tech projects and modern governance in a move to expand export markets, join global supply chains and enhance competitiveness.
Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Vu Dai Thang made the statement at a conference titled ‘Future outlook of FDI attraction and implementation’ held in the northern province of Vinh Phuc on Friday.
According to Thang, after three decades, FDI has become an important part of Viet Nam’s economy. As of November 2018, the country was home to some 27,000 FDI projects worth nearly US$340 billion of registered capital and $188.8 billion of disbursed capital of investors from 128 countries and territories. Up to 57 per cent of the total was invested in industry.
FDI was an important source of the country’s total social development investment capital as its proportion increased from 15 per cent in 2005 to 23.7 per cent in 2017, Thang said, adding the resource had been also the driving force of the country’s economic growth in recent years.
“The growth rate of FDI firms reached 12.6 per cent in 2017, the highest in all economic sectors. The force contributed 27.7 per cent to the country’s economic growth in the 2010-17 period, compared with 15 per cent in the 1986-1996 period,” Thang said.
In addition, FDI has also contributed to promoting the country’s economic restructuring and forming some key industries of the economy such as telecommunications, petroleum, electronics and information technology.
Besides, he said, FDI has also made an important contribution to the country’s export growth in recent years.
Since 2010, the export growth rate and export turnover of FDI firms have been two to three times and 1.5-2 times higher than that of Vietnamese firms, respectively. The export value of FDI accounted for 72.5 per cent of the country’s total export revenue in 2017, surging sharply against 17 per cent in 1995.
However, according to Thang, there remain shortcomings in FDI attraction in the country, such as a poor spillover effects and low tech transfer rate between FDI firms to local peers.
To better lure and use FDI resource in the time to come, Thang suggested it was necessary to have unified awareness and actions to implement orientations and policies on foreign investment.
Besides, streamlining legal institutions and policies as well as improving the business investment environment in line with the market standards and international rules are important prerequisites for attracting and using foreign investment effectively, according to Thang.
Besides encouraging and supporting the joint venture, cooperation and technology transfer between domestic and FDI firms, it is also necessary to develop skilled human resources to reposition Viet Nam’s competitive edge in attracting foreign investment.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung asked localities to better prepare the construction planning and focus on infrastructure development to lure foreign investment.
Dung also urged local authorities to accelerate the reform of administrative procedures, invest in developing human resources for industrial development and strengthen supporting industries.
The Deputy PM also hoped foreign investors would implement their projects in accordance with their commitments and Viet Nam’s laws while paying attention to the research and development as well as investment of new technologies and cooperate with Vietnamese enterprises to develop supporting industries.
Foreign participants also mentioned the development of skilled human resources and promote the supporting industries.
Tetsu Funayama, head of the Business Forum Committee of the Japan Business Association in Vietnam, said 65 per cent of Japanese enterprises now chose Viet Nam as their investment destination in Southeast Asia and their interest when investing here was the country’s policy to develop supporting industries.
Viet Nam and Japan needed to expand cooperation to train Vietnamese experts, engineers and technical staffs to improve the country’s human resources, Funayama suggested, adding there should be also policies to promote supporting industries, enabling Japanese enterprises to invest in Viet Nam.
A representative from the Korea Chamber of Business in Vietnam also said one of the barriers hindering the technology transfer between FDI and Vietnamese enterprises was the lack of human resources and science and technology.
The representative expected Viet Nam to standardise its technical training programmes to grant certificates for Vietnamese engineers and workers so that FDI firms can use the employees when they invest in the country, avoiding waste of time and money for the training.
In addition, he said foreign firms expected to get preferential tax policies as well as simplified, transparent and clear administrative procedures when investing in the country.
Lâm Đồng silk production on a high
Farmers breed silkworms in the Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) province of Lâm Đồng. — Photo baolamdong.vn
Sericulture has been expanding in Lâm Đồng Province, the country’s largest silk producer, as it offers farmers high incomes and gets incentives from authorities.
In Đạ Tẻh District, thousands of households are planting mulberry trees on 1,340ha for breeding silkworms, according to the local People’s Committee.
Đinh Thị Nhiễu, chairwoman of the Đạ Pal Commune Farmers Association in Đạ Tẻh, said 99 per cent of households in the commune are growing mulberry and breeding silkworms.
Đạ Pal and Đạ Lây communes have had a tradition of planting mulberry for breeding silkworms since the 1980s.
This has now been expanded for the first time to other communes like Mỹ Đức, Quốc Oai and Đạ Kho.
Nguyễn Ngọc Thư, chairman of the Mỹ Đức Commune People’s Committee, said mulberry can be considered the optimal plant for reducing poverty in the commune.
The tree’s leaves are ready to be harvested six months after planting and requires little expenditure, he said.
With an average income of VNĐ200-250 million (US$8,600-10,700) per hectare of mulberry a year, there is no short-term crop offering higher profits than mulberry, he said.
The commune has three silkworm co-operatives with 550 households as members, or 50 per cent of the total number.
Bùi Văn Hùng, chairman of the Đạ Tẻh District People’s Committee, said the district has encouraged farmers to switch from other crops like sugarcane and cashew to mulberry if their lands are suitable for growing the plant.
The district has supported farmers with a subsidy of VNĐ5 million ($214) per hectare for switching from low-yielding crops to others.
Farmers in the district have converted 300ha of old and disease-hit cashew lands into mulberry fields this year.
The district has solicited investment in silk processing.
One investor has built a plant in Mỹ Đức Commune and is now installing machinery. The plant, which has a capacity of producing 40 tonnes of silk a day, will be able to process most of silk cocoons produced in the district.
Currently, the cocoons are sold to enterprises in the province’s Bảo Lộc City.
Lâm Hà District, the biggest silkworm producer in the province, has around 2,600ha under mulberry, according to its Agriculture and Rural Development Division.
Nguyễn Thị Hạnh, who plants mulberry and breeds silkworms in the district’s Đông Thanh Commune, said the price of cocoons has been high in recent years at VNĐ120,000-220,000 ($5.1-9.4) a kilogramme.
These prices ensure a steady income for farmers, she said.
One hectare of mulberry can supply enough leaves for breeding 80 boxes of silkworm cocoons a year.
Each box, containing 15-25 grams of silkworm eggs, which take about 24 days from hatching to producing cocoons, can produce about 50kg of cocoons.
Many farmers in Lâm Hà District have switched from rice, coffee, tea and other crops to mulberry.
The district plans to expand its area under the tree to 3,000ha and produce more than 31,000 tonnes of silk cocoons a year by 2020.
The province’s sericulture reached its peak in the 1990s but later declined due to several reasons, including failure to adopt advanced techniques to produce silk.
But it was revived in 2010 as global demand for silk surged and the province began to adopt advanced techniques.
It now has more than 5,200ha of mulberry, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Bảo Lộc City has many modern silk plants and accounts for 75 per cent of the country’s silk cocoon processing and 70 per cent of silk weaving, according to its Economy Division.
The province’s silk is mostly exported.
Best Vietnamese firms honoured with Gold Star Award
The Vietnam Gold Star Award 2018 was presented in Hanoi on December 23 to honour the 200 best businesses in the country.
The 200 firms generated more than 912 trillion VND (39 billion USD) in revenue and contributed over 72 trillion VND (3 billion USD) to the state budget this year. They posted an after-tax profit of about 72 trillion VND and created jobs for 417,000 people.
The top 10 in the list are VinGroup, Thanh Thanh Cong Investment JSC, Hoa Binh Construction Group JSC, FPT JSC, Hoa Phat Group JSC, Thien Long Group JSC, Century Land JSC, Traphaco JSC, Minh Phu Seafood JSC, and An Cuong Wood Working JSC.
The Award honours the enterprises that have achieved good business performance and sustainable development and undertaken good social responsibility.
The Vietnam Gold Star Award marked its 15th anniversary this year. It has honoured 2,127 brands and products so far, helping to promote the stature of Vietnamese brands and businesses in the international economic integration period.
It is organised by the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Central Committee, the Vietnam Youth Federation Central Committee and the Vietnam Young Entrepreneurs Association.
Masan Group inaugurates meat processing complex in Ha Nam
Masan Group inaugurated its MNS meat processing complex at the Dong Van IV Industrial Park in Kim Bang district of the northern province of Ha Nam on December 23.
The complex, spanning an area of 10ha, was built at a cost worth nearly 1.1 trillion VND (about 47.1 million USD). It has an annual capacity to process 140,000 tonnes of pork.
It uses an advanced production line from Dutch company Marel, which will be handled and monitored by European experts.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Chairman of the Ha Nam People’s Committee Nguyen Xuan Dong said the project promotes agricultural reform towards industrialisation and modernisation.
The complex will create stable jobs and improve local labourers’ livelihood, he added.
Dong also asked Masan Group to comply with policies and law of the country and regulations of Ha Nam province, as well as pay attention to workers’ lives. Local authorities will continue to create optimal conditions for businesses, he pledged.
Nghi Son oil refinery-petrochemical plant begins commercial operation
The Nghi Son oil refinery and petrochemical plant in the north central province of Thanh Hoa officially began its commercial operation on December 23.
“The commercial operation of the project is significant to the national development in terms of politics, economy, society, security and defence and contributes to ensuring national energy security,” Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at the launching ceremony.
The commercial operation of the plant marks a breakthrough development in the country’s oil refinery-petrochemical sector, he said.
Together with the Dung Quat oil refinery in the central province of Quang Ngai, the fuel provided by Nghi Son will meet about 80 percent of the domestic demand, thus reducing dependence on imports from foreign markets, he added.
So far, this is the biggest project in Vietnam regarding construction scale and total investment.
The project is a symbol of international cooperation that received special attention and support from the Vietnamese government and its important partners – namely Japan and Kuwait, the PM said.
It helps create a skilled workforce, serving as a “nucleus” for the development of human resources in the region, he said.
The government leader highly valued the warm support of people from Tinh Gia district in Thanh Hoa to hand over their land for the construction of the plant.
He asked Thanh Hoa authorities, the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), the management board of Nghi Son Economic Zone, and the Nghi Son oil refinery company to continue taking good care of local lives.
”The commercial operation of the plant is an important event, marking a big milestone in the socio-economic achievement of Vietnam at the end of 2018”, the PM said.
The Nghi Son oil refinery and petrochemical project has been carried out since 2013.
It is invested by PetroVietnam (25.1 percent), Kuwait Petroleum International (35.1 percent), and the Japanese firms Idemitsui Kosan (35.1 percent) and Mitsui Chemicals (4.7 percent).
The plant is located at Nghi Son Economic Zone – one of the key coastal economic zones and a national key location of oil and gas.
With a total investment capital of nearly 9.3 billion USD, the plant is a world-class deep processing petrochemical complex using the most advanced technology with the full capacity of 200,000 barrels of crude oil per day in the first phase.
At present, the plant has successfully produced 10 kinds of petrochemical products.
As of December 2018, the plant processed around 5 million tonnes of crude oil and contributed over 8 trillion VND to the State budget.
As planned, when reaching its full capacity, the plant could process 10 million tonnes of crude oil per year, meeting 40 percent of the domestic fuel market. Nearly 17 percent of the petrochemical products will be exported to foreign markets.
Japanese firms consider Vietnam key investment destination
About 70 percent of Japanese investors in Vietnam want to continue investing or expand their investments, meaning Vietnam is an important destination for them, according to a representative of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO).
JETRO Chief Representative in Ho Chi Minh City Takimoto Koji shared the figure in an interview with Cong Thuong (Industry and Trade) newspaper.
In 2017, Japan was the biggest foreign direct investor of Vietnam, posting a record figure of 9.11 billion USD. In the first 11 months of 2018, the country kept its top spot with nearly 8 billion USD, more than a quarter of the total foreign capital poured into Vietnam during the period.
According to Takimoto, 65.1 percent of the Japanese businesses in Vietnam are profitable.
He said Japanese goods have an increasing presence in the Vietnamese market, with Japanese firms’ foreign expansion receiving strong support from their government and organisations like JETRO. When these companies study the Vietnamese market, they aim to introduce high quality products and seek business partners and sale agencies. They also look for Vietnamese goods that suit Japanese consumers’ taste.
The JETRO Chief Representative said Japanese investors value Vietnam for its clear policies, stable legal affairs and its increasingly large workforce of trained youths. Despite such advantages, local labours’ average wage is ranked sixth in Southeast Asia.
He quoted Japanese investors as saying they have been assisted by local authorities in administrative procedures, including those for taxation and customs clearance. Complete infrastructure and waste treatment and power systems in Vietnam’s industrial parks have helped them make quick investment decisions.
Lauding the economic growth potential of Vietnam, Takimoto affirmed that Japan wants to enhance investment and business cooperation with the host country.
He said that Japanese firms intend to form win-win partnerships with Vietnamese peers, expecting to find capable local companies to become their long-term partners and join their global production-manufacturing supply chains.
Middle East, Africa as potential destinations for Vietnamese goods
Vietnamese enterprises should engage more in trade promotion activities in the Middle East and Africa, particularly as its traditional export markets are becoming oversaturated.
The Middle East and Africa, with their high demand for imports, are deemed as potential markets for Vietnamese products, experts said at an international conference held in Ho Chi Minh City on December 20.
By 2020, Africa needs to buy some 1.2 trillion USD worth of products from foreign countries, while the Middle East will have to spend 1.5 trillion USD on imports.
According to Nguyen Minh Phuong, a representative from the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Department of Asia-Africa Markets, Vietnam earned 2.7 billion USD from exports to Africa in 2017, with large importers being South Africa, Egypt, Algeria, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast. Major Vietnamese exports are rice, mobiles and spare parts, seafood, computers, coffee, garments, pepper, and machinery.
Vietnam splashed out 6.7 billion USD to purchase cashew nuts, cotton, timber and wooden products, precious metals, copper, minerals, animal feed, and others from African countries, mostly the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Ghana.
The Department of Asia-Africa Markets is stepping up trade promotion and offering support to Vietnamese firms looking to break into African countries, who have a wide range of cooperation programmes with Vietnam, she said.
Regarding the Middle East, another representative from the department, Pham Hoai Linh, said that the 15 Middle East nations hold strengths in finance and sci-tech. They boast huge purchasing power and less demanding consumers, which make it easy for Vietnamese firms to satisfy the markets’ standards.
Harsh natural conditions make the region unable to produce agro and seafood products for domestic consumption. Thus, Vietnamese firms should draw up strategic and long-term strategies to enter those potential markets.
Experts at the event suggested that products with developed branding and quality that meet the standards of each nation should be paid significant attention. In addition, Vietnamese companies need to build a distributing network, open representative offices in the markets, and keep close contact with the Vietnamese Embassies and trade offices in the region.
Meanwhile, Tran Thi Minh Thu, an official from the Government Committee for Religious Afairs, said that domestic companies should study Muslim culture, business culture, and Halal standards before approaching potential partners in the region.
Sacombank rolls out app
Sacombank launched the Sacombank Pay online banking app at a ceremony held in HCM City on Friday to mark its 27th anniversary.
One of its highlights is the quick withdrawal function by using the QR code to withdraw money at any Sacombank ATM quickly but safely.
With the QR function, customers also can make quick payments and transfer money.
They can use the “My Account / Card” function on the app to lock or unlock their Sacombank cards instead of calling the bank and to manage their card information.
The bank said next year it would develop more personalised features such as offering financial solutions customised to users.
To mark the launch of the app, Sacombank is offering a number of incentives to customers.
For instance, between December 21 and January 3, customers making a payment of at least VND200,000 using the QR code will be refunded 10 per cent of the first transaction, 15 per cent of the second and 30 per cent of the third.
Customers can download the the Sacombank Pay app from the App Store or Google Play.
VNPAY honoured at Viet Nam Digital Awards 2018
VNPAY-QR and QR Merchant Management System (QR MMS), developed by Viet Nam Payment Solution Joint Stock Company (VNPAY), have been honoured as the most outstanding digital technology applications in 2018.
The awards were given at Viet Nam Digital Award 2018, organised for the first time by the Viet Nam Digital Communications Association. The award aimed to honour outstanding businesses and individuals providing digital applications or applying digital technologies to bring a better experience to customers, thus promoting digital development in the country.
In the first year of the award, the organising board chose 34 agencies and businesses with the best services and solutions.
After just two years of operation, more than 2,000 shops nationwide accept payment through VNPAY-QR with a new user growth rate of 30 per cent per year.
VNPAY is integrated into the mobile apps of 18 big banks in Viet Nam. QR code has become a popular payment method in shopping, travelling and entertainment.
The company also developed the QR MMS to provide online reports of each transaction to merchants. They can update their payment information at any shop, any time, anywhere.
The QR MMS gives business owners their own code to be more active in supervision and management as well as launching specific business programmes without support from software management companies.
FastGo not qualified to run ride-hailing service: ministries
Vietnamese platform FastGo is not yet eligible to provide a ride-hailing service, according to the ministries of Industry and Trade, and Transport.
The ministries said FastGo, which received funding from Vinacapital in August, was not approved to pilot its ride hailing services and the company had not completed the registration for operation as a transportation e-commerce platform.
As the competition in the ride-hailing service market heats up, FastGo is facing legal problems.
The Ministry of Transport said FastGo was subject to management under Decision 24 issued in 2016 on pilot application of technology in passenger transport connectivity, but the ministry had not yet received the company’s proposal for a pilot period in Viet Nam, online newspaper Vnexpress reported.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade said FastGo had not yet completed its registration for operation as an e-commerce platform.
As the procedures were not complete, FastGo was not eligible to recruit partner drivers or provide ride hailing services, an official from the ministry’s E-commerce Department told the newspaper.
He added that only when FastGo got the Ministry of Transport’s approval for pilot implementation, could it be licensed for operation by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
FastGo made its debut in Viet Nam on June 12. In August, it received an undisclosed sum of funding from VinaCapital. It had nearly 15,000 car and motorbike partner drivers in HCM City and Ha Noi and provided nearly 15,000 rides in August.
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