Hanoi 3rd in JLL’s City Momentum Index
The Asia-Pacific is home to 19 of the top 20 cities on the sixth City Momentum Index published by JLL, highlighting the continuing shift of fast urban growth from the West to the East.
Overall, Indian and Chinese cities dominate the rankings, accounting for three quarters of the top 20. Leading the pack are Bengaluru and Hyderabad in India, with Hanoi third.
“Asia continues to show strong momentum, with cities that are successfully expanding their innovation economy punching above their weight in terms of attracting capital, companies, and people,” said Mr. Jeremy Kelly, Director of Global Research at JLL.
“It’s clear that the tech sector is a key driver of both real estate and economic momentum – driven by large technology firms as well as dynamic startups in cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ho Chi Minh City and Shenzhen.”
Although the global economic cycle is in its late stages, there are still many cities in the world where real estate and economic growth continue to be robust. But while strong growth brings opportunities for economic and social development, it also brings challenges that cities must address to ensure short-term growth transitions into long-term momentum. Investing in infrastructure and greater transparency is essential to facilitate this transition.
“These cities need to address the environmental and social impacts of rapid growth, such as social inequality, congestion, and environmental degradation,” Mr. Kelly added. “The provision of smart, efficient and productive real estate and increased transparency are key factors driving long-term, sustainable growth.”
JLL’s City Momentum Index measures momentum in 131 of the world’s most commercially-active cities by tracking a range of socioeconomic and commercial real estate indicators over a three-year period to identify the urban economies and real estate markets undergoing the most rapid expansion.
The City Momentum Index presents a weighted overall score for the sub-scores of 20 variables. For each variable the model calculates a score based on the city’s performance relative to the distribution of all 131 city regions, scaled from zero to one. The top-scoring city for each variable has a value of one, while the lowest-scoring city receives a value of zero. Variables focus on indicators of socioeconomic momentum and commercial real estate momentum.
Money Forward Vietnam opens HCMC office
Two directors from Money Forward, Inc. and Money Forward Vietnam Co., Ltd
Money Forward Vietnam, a subsidiary of Japanese financial technology (fintech) company Money Forward, Inc., held a grand opening ceremony for its new office in Ho Chi Minh City on January 8.
The office is on the 21st floor of the E.Town Central building, 11 Doan Van Bo Street in District 4.
Mr. Yosuke Tsuji, Representative Director, President and CEO of Money Forward, Inc., Mr. Takayuki Tsuzuki, General Director of Money Forward Vietnam, and representatives from Japanese corporations active in Ho Chi Minh City attended the ceremony.
“Vietnam was selected for our first foreign branch due to its huge number of talented engineers, especially young software engineers, along with the cooperation, honesty, and responsibility of Vietnamese people,” Mr. Tsuzuki told the gathering. “Vietnam is also our first step in plans to penetrate into Southeast Asia.”
The company aims to release a variety of services that could become a financial platform not only in Japan but also every corner of the world. According to data on Vietnam’s fintech market from Statista and a Solidiance report released last May, the country’s fintech market is predicted to rise from $4.4 billion in 2017 to $7.8 billion in 2018 and perhaps $35 billion in 2025.
Vietnam also has support policies for fintech, a declining use of cash, an increase in population, a good business environment and IT platform, and, especially, a 45-year relationship with Japan and geographical proximity.
Money Forward, Inc. aims to build financial and IT-oriented services to ease concerns about personal and company financial foundations and develop services to become a “financial platform”.
It offers personal finance and asset management support services, such as business operation analysis software and electronic documentation applications, etc. Money Forward ME – a financial management service for individuals – has 7 million users, giving it the largest market share in Japan.
Established last August, Money Forward Vietnam has investment capital of $910,000 and its mission is to support and upgrade existing products available in Japan. With experienced software engineers in Vietnam, the company contributes to developing fintech services for the Japanese market and in the future will provide such services in Vietnam and throughout Asia.
Established in May 2012, Money Forward, Inc. focuses on developing two ranges of products in Japan: applications for individuals and personal financial management services (Money Forward), money saving applications (Sira Tama), and financial planning services (Mirai talk), as well as cloud-based applications for back-office operations (Money Forward Cloud Series).
Kiwoom Asset Management & VinaCapital sign MoU
Kiwoom Asset Management signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on January 7 with VinaCapital, one of Vietnam’s largest asset management companies, under which Kiwoom will provide selected VinaCapital investment products to South Korean investors. In the long run, it hopes to provide its own investment products to Vietnamese investors.
“The opening of our office in Vietnam in 2018 is part of our entry into the Southeast Asian market,” said Mr. Seong Hoon Kim, CEO of Kiwoom Asset Management. “After several months of discussions and shared investment experience, we decided to sign an MoU with VinaCapital to transform our current relationship into a longer-term strategic partnership.”
VinaCapital is one of Vietnam’s leading multi-asset management companies, which has grown steadily since its establishment in 2003 to approximately $1.8 billion in assets under management. It offers the most diverse product lineup among Vietnamese investment management companies, covering all asset classes in the country, including listed equity, fixed income, private equity, and real estate.
“Our mission at VinaCapital is to deliver innovative investment products that will produce superior returns for Vietnamese and international investors,” said Mr. Nguyen Thi Thai Thuan, CEO of VinaCapital Fund Management. “We are excited to extend our expertise to South Korea, not only because of its growing interest in Vietnam but also because of our strategic partnership with Kiwoom. We believe that our deep investment experience in Vietnam, coupled with Kiwoom’s product and distribution innovations, will enable both parties to enjoy shared success in both markets.”
As part of the partnership, Kiwoom Asset Management will develop and launch new products that will tap into VinaCapital’s expertise. Initial ideas include a multi-asset fund, an index fund, a real estate fund, and a fixed-income/corporate bonds fund.
Kiwoom Asset Management has been aggressively expanding its global business since 2014. Its total assets under management is currently $40 billion, of which approximately 16 per cent will be overseas investments in 2019, a 100 per cent increase since 2014. Notably, Kiwoom Asset Management has been selected as a trust management company for various pension funds, based on its excellent global investment performance and its proven ability to operate effectively in South Korea and overseas.
Toyota Vietnam a leading tax contributor in Vinh Phuc
Toyota Motor Vietnam (TMV) has announced its business results and highlight activities in 2018.
Regarding sales, TMV saw record growth of 11 per cent against 2017 to more than 65,856 units (excluding the Lexus), bringing accumulated sales to 518,742 units. The Vios has always led the market, with over 3,600 units sold in December; a new record. Others, including the Innova and Fortuner, were among the best-selling cars in 2018.
Pfizer Vietnam partners with Medochemie
Pfizer Vietnam announced a partnership with Medochemie on January 10 in Hanoi on technology transfer to manufacture Pfizer’s innovative medicines in Vietnam.
Medochemie, which has its own manufacturing plant in southern Binh Duong province, will follow international high-quality standards for manufacturing Pfizer’s products in the therapeutic areas of anti-infective, cardiovascular, and pain.
Pfizer will also provide on-ground support resources, including quality subject matter and technical transfer experts to facilitate effective technology transfer of these essential, life-saving medicines.
The partnership is aligned with the Vietnamese Government’s vision to boost and promote the development of the local pharmaceutical industry. It brings Pfizer’s global technology and operations platform of hard-to-make products such as sterile injectables to Vietnam and will help raise local manufacturing standards to that of international developed markets.
Mr. Bradley Allen Silcox, Chief Representative of Pfizer Thailand in Vietnam, said that the partnership with Medochemie reflects their commitment to Vietnam. “We are grateful to the Ministry of Health and the government for their vision of improving the capacity of the pharmaceutical sector and for creating an ecosystem that gives patients quality care and treatment,” he added. “We also strongly believe that Vietnam has the potential to develop into an ASEAN hub for the manufacture of innovative pharmaceutical products. We will continue to work in areas of research and development as well as local capacity building to bring our oncology and sterile injectable medicines, among other products, which will not only meet market demand but also contribute to developing a better local life sciences sector.”
Ms. Daphne Pittas, Member of the Board of Director at Medochemie, said the partnership provides impetus to the local pharmaceutical industry’s capabilities in manufacturing complex medicines such as oral dosage and injectable cephalosporin.
She also noted that Medochemie strongly believes in and will continue to support the scientific and technological advancement of Vietnam’s pharmaceutical sector.
Pfizer provides science and global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives.
From Europe, Medochemie provides affordable healthcare to every human being across the globe. Beginning in 2009, Medochemie has invested $100 million in Vietnam to develop three state-of-the-art pharmaceutical production facilities with a total area of 63,500 sq m, including at the Vietnam – Singapore Industrial Park 2 in Binh Duong province.
The company has also successfully transferred to Vietnam more than 98 formulations to operate technology and provide production know-how.
NS BlueScope Lysaght Vietnam partners with Denmark’s SKIOLD
NS BlueScope Lysaght Vietnam signed a strategic memorandum of understanding on January 10 with the Denmark-based SKIOLD.
The two will cooperate to develop modern turn-key solutions for Vietnam’s poultry and livestock farming market to increase efficiency and productivity, including total solution offerings, market development, customer service, and marketing activities.
“The strategic partnership enables NS BlueScope Lysaght Vietnam to combine our 165 years of experience in the industry with SKIOLD’s strengths to offer complete solutions for Vietnam’s poultry and livestock farming to improve the industry’s competitive edge in both the domestic and international market,” said Mr. Nguyen Cao Tri, President of NS BlueScope Lysaght Vietnam. “Our solutions will be characterized by optimal nutrition control and traceability, helping farm owners access the models of high-agriculture farms applied in developed countries, improving returns on investment with higher productivity and profitability.”
NS BlueScope Vietnam launched Lysaght Agrished in 2015 and now offers total solutions for breeding facilities and central control systems. Lysaght Agrished has been installed by more than 20 large farms of major names in high-agriculture investment and production, such as Thai Duong, CP, Phu Gia, CJ, Red Star, and Viet Uc.
SKIOLD has had a subsidiary in Ho Chi Minh City since 2015 and Vietnam is one of its most important markets. It has delivered many full-line pig farms, grain handling and paddy rice handling plants, and feed mills to Vietnamese companies like Vinamilk, the Hoa Phat Group, CP Vietnam, TH True Milk, the Hung Vuong Group, the Tan Long Group, and the RTD Group.
“The partnership with NS BlueScope will make it possible for us to offer valuable future-proof turn-key projects for the emerging Vietnamese market, securing the best solutions on the market with high productivity, food safety, and traceability of the same high standards as in Denmark,” said SKIOLD Board Member Mr. Jens Vinther Jensen.
FastGo launches FastBike Pro in Hanoi
Ride-hailing app FastGo begun its FastBike Pro service in Hanoi on January 11 after a period of testing.
As part of the launch, FastGo also introduced a promotional program of VND11,000 ($0.5) for all rides under 6 km from January 11 to 22, in six districts in Hanoi.
FastGo also offers incentives for the first drivers to register, with revenue of VND5 million ($215) per month guaranteed in the first two months and a free uniform.
To encourage and support drivers, FastGo also offers an additional VND15,000 ($0.6) per ride from midnight to 5am.
FastGo also provides health insurance packages worth up to VND20 million ($860) and insurance related to theft or new vehicle purchases, of VND20 million ($860), to attract drivers, especially students.
It has tested FastBike Pro since August, with the difference being a greater focus on professional two-wheeler services, as drivers must undergo a rigorous recruitment process, assessing their ethics and attitudes and ability to ride a high-end motorbike.
Founded last June, the NextTech Group’s FastGo Vietnam has grown rapidly, staking out presence in seven cities and provinces throughout the country within the first six months of launch, with four-wheel ride-hailing services including FastCar, JustGo, and FastTaxi.
Beyond ride-hailing, it is also an open application for a variety of services, including home delivery, home care, and personal finance. The app is available at the App Store and the Google Store.
FastGo provides stable incomes to more than 40,000 drivers, high reward points, a Fast Protection insurance policy, and study encouragement programs for their children. In particular, it does not charge a percentage fee on drivers.
It marked a step towards the international market when launching services in Myanmar on December 28 and it aims to be in the Top 2 in Southeast Asia in the near future.
FastGo recently won third prize at the Vietnam Talent Awards 2018, organized by the Dan Tri newspaper and the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) since 2005. The award is recognition of the ongoing efforts of FastGo to continue its mission of providing users with a safer and more comfortable technology experience.
BRG & Sumitomo open first supermarket in Vietnam
Vietnam’s BRG Group and Sumitomo Group of Japan officially opened their first partnered supermarket named FujiMart at 142 Le Duan, in Hanoi’s Dong Da district, on December 22.
The new supermarket aims to provide “Fresh Everyday” product complimented by the famous Japanese thoroughly service culture.
In her opening remarks, Madame Nguyen Thi Nga, BRG Group’s Chairwoman said: “With our mission of creating a sustainable business that integrates into the community and offers ever improving domestic lifestyles, BRG Group always committed to bring best products and services for Vietnamese consumers. And today, BRG group and our strategic partner Sumitomo Group have the honour to bring a very successful Japanese supermarket model to Vietnam. We want to provide unique buying experience of Japan and product diversification that meet all highest standard for freshness, cleanness and safety.”
FujiMart is resulted from the partnership between the two leading corporations in retail industry, therefore it is benefited from Sumitomo’s experiences to operate supermarket chain over 50 years and BRG Group’s rich business knowledge in Vietnam.
Mr. Keisuke Hitotsumatsu, CEO of FujiMart, for his part, said: “Both BRG and Sumitomo have great resources to invest comprehensively in this project. Besides, Sumitomo has experiences to operate supermarket chain over 50 years and BRG has knowledge a variety of business in Vietnam. Through the FujiMart retail model, both BRG and Sumitomo hope to provide Vietnamese people with the most delicious, nutritious and safe food products.”
With the goal of bringing every product under slogan “Fresh Everyday” to consumers, FujiMart will apply the know-how and technology of the leading Japanese food supermarket, especially in control and ensure fresh food and Japanese service style dedicated to customers. In addition, customers can also enjoy Vietnamese and Japanese dishes available at Fujimart.
FujiMart has a total area of 1,061m2, including 914m2 of sale area, being located at the intersection of Kham Thien – Le Duan – Nguyen Thuong Hien streets, very convenient for customers to shopping. In particular, with the desire to bring a whole new experience to Vietnamese customers, besides the shopping area with thousands of products, there is also a dining area – where customers can enjoy sushi and sashimi, among many others dishes. Its wine and liquor area is inspired by European style. Moreover, FujiMart also provides natural experience through the “nature journey” decorated with trees and mosaic arts.
Japanese cosmetic brand DHC now in Vietnam
The Belie JSC signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Japanese beauty product provider the DHC Corporation on January 12 in Hanoi to officially become an exclusive distributor in Vietnam.
The two sides expect the signing to open up a new development phase for Vietnam’s cosmetics sector and is an opportunity for DHC to expand cooperation and relations in Vietnam and the region.
Mr. Nguyen Manh Dung, Chairman of Belie, said the cooperation expresses its desire to search for products and prestigious brands in Japan to help Vietnamese people gain access to high quality products and ensure product safety and origin.
Mr. Gary Gauntt, Global Market Director of DHC, told VET that Vietnam is a young market and incomes are on the rise. “This provides potential for DHC’s development in the country in the future,” he added.
Belie signed an agreement to test DHC’s products in Vietnam a year ago. One year on, DHC has three official DHC showrooms and more than 100 sales points via agents nationwide.
The goal for the next three years is to open 30 DHC showrooms and have over 1,000 sales points.
With more than 40 years in the business, DHC is a global brand with a presence in ten countries and territories, many of which are seeing impressive results.
It has more than 84,000 sales points around the world and annual revenue exceeds $1 billion, with more than 15 million registered users. It expects to open more than 2,000 new sales points in the US this year.
DHC’s product lines focus on natural treatments that incorporate ingredients drawn from nature, minimizing the use of ingredients that might irritate the skin. More than 800 types of cosmetics are available. In field of health food, DHC supports healthy daily living through 553 products.
Its four laboratories in Japan undertake a broad range of basic research activities and seek to develop products with an emphasis on safety and efficacy.
The brand has continuously occupied the No. 1 position in Japan for online sales of cosmetics and functional foods for 19 years (2000-2018).
Cold chain logistics workshop held
GIZ’s Project Development Programme (PDP) of the German Energy Solutions Initiative, in cooperation with Emergent Cold Vietnam, Kingspan, and Thang Long Logistics, organized the “Cold Chain Logistics – Technology and Future” workshop on January 14 in Hanoi.
Proudly supported by the Vietnam Logistics Business Association and held for the first in Vietnam’s north, the workshop was an opportunity for over 100 market leaders and experts to share and exchange their views, thoughts, and concerns over the future of cold chain logistics.
One of the topics up for discussion was the latest technologies and trends in cold storage construction, focusing on energy efficiency, fire protection, green-building construction, rooftop solar panels to reduce CO2 emission, service costs, and competitiveness.
These measures will create added values to products being transported or stored and meet the sustainability requirements of other players along the supply chain, such as manufacturers and end users.
Vietnam’s logistics sector is still in the early stages of development and demand for complete logistics solutions, from inland transportation, ocean shipping, and air freight to warehousing, distribution, and customs services are increasing significantly, with growth forecast at 15-20 per cent to 2025.
Logistics is also a common denominator of all industries and an essential part of the global supply chain. Despite having 3,000 companies in operation, the sector is fragmented, with many small companies, under-developed infrastructure, and old equipment and facilities, resulting in high losses, emissions, and costs.
The PDP has been providing technical support for many industrial enterprises in Vietnam to assess investment feasibility when applying rooftop solar panels and establishing business partnerships with reputable German solar companies. The PDP is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and within the scope of the German Energy Solutions Initiative and commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).
One exemplary case in Vietnam’s cold chain sector is the 308 kWp rooftop solar system at Emergent Cold Vietnam in northern Bac Ninh province, supported by the PDP. Its solar generation covers 15 per cent of annual power demand and contributes to cutting 170 tons of CO2 emission from the facility.
Reducing risks of outward foreign direct investment
In the context that outward foreign direct investment (OFID) is getting bigger and bigger, the issue of reducing risks and reinforcing the reputation of Vietnamese investors in overseas countries comes to the fore.
The Vietnam Cross-Border Investment conference discussed outward foreign direct investment
On January 10, 2019, Oxfarm in Vietnam, in collaboration with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) held a seminar on cross-border investment in Vietnam, outlining the risks and challenges in legal compliance.
According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, as many as 149 projects were granted certificates for OFDI with the total investment of $376.1 million and total additionally-registered capital of $56 million. Vietnam is investing in 38 countries and territories. Of these, Laos ranks first with $81.5 million of total investment, making up 18.8 per cent, followed by Cambodia and Myanmar.
In addition to contributing to the socioeconomic development of Vietnam and recipient countries, OFDI, especially in the agricultural sector, carries risks, particularly related to the environment and social affairs due to the high demand for land funds and labour.
Sharing his experiences about investing in Laos and Cambodia, Nguyen Thi Hai, deputy general director of Dak Lak Rubber JSC (DAKRUCO), said that the company faced a lot of difficulties. They had to research legal policies and translate all documents by themselves because consultancy services in these countries are not yet available, along with numerous challenges in technical infrastructure and cultural differences.
At the seminar, Voluntary Guidelines on reducing environmental and social risks for Vietnamese OFDI businesses in the agricultural sector at Mekong Sub-Region area has been introduced. This is the first guideline in this sector, which was built by a bottom-up approach through practical experience from pioneering business groups, including six companies and two associations. This guideline also referred to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
Dau Anh Tuan, head of VCCI’s legal department, said, “We have built these voluntary guidelines in order to provide information on the steps of the OFDI process, as well as warn of the environmental and social risks in relevant legal policies. These guidelines will reduce risks in investment activities and provide useful information and connect involved parties and strengthen investment performance.”
These Voluntary Guidelines have been applied by Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG) and Dak Lak Rubber JSC (DAKRUCO). They have been checked and implemented in line with social-environmental policies, as well as strengthened their community activities in Laos and Cambodia.
Trinh Le Nguyen, director of PanNature, said, “These guidelines are used for Vietnamese businesses investing in the agricultural sector in Mekong Sub-Region countries, especially Laos and Cambodia. However, its content draws on international experiences and documents, particularly the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, so it could be applied in other regions.”
Lauding these guidelines, Dinh Trong Thang, head of the Investment Policy Department of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said that it is necessary to make these processes the new standards in the time coming, and even put these principles into law to promote the sustainable development of OFDI enterprises. Agencies should disseminate this information among businesses, as well as recognise enterprises’ outstanding achievements in order to strengthen the participation of others.
Lotte E&C accelerates expansion in Vietnam
Lotte Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd. (Lotte E&C), a subsidiary of Lotte Group, will co-operate with Hung Loc Phat Corporation to develop a real estate project in District 7 of Ho Chi Minh City, showing its ambitions to expand operations in Vietnam.
On January 8, Lotte E&C signed a business co-operation contract with Hung Loc Phat Corporation. Detailed information of this contract has not been revealed yet.
At the signing ceremony, the representative of Lotte E&C said that the company is looking for investment opportunities in the real estate market of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
The representative of Lotte E&C also said that this contract is the prelude to a deep co-operation between the two companies to create a premise for the two sides’ future development plans in the future.
This co-operation is expected to create a breakthrough in the real estate market in the Saigon South area based on the potentials and unique strengths of the two sides.
As a member of Lotte Group, Lotte E&C is a well-known international general contractor as well as housing developer in Korea. Lotte E&C’s business lines include infrastructure, petrochemicals, and environment, among others.
This co-operation is expected to create a breakthrough in the real estate market in the Saigon South area based on the potentials and unique strengths of the two sides.
Lotte E&C is venturing further into the Vietnamese transport infrastructure segment, with the metro lines in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City among the focuses of expansion.
In August, 2018, Lotte E&C signed a strategic cooperation deal with Phu Cuong Group (PCG) aimed at developing housing and trading projects in Vietnam.
The two parties signed an agreement to jointly develop the first condo building in Thanh My Loi Ward in District 2, which is expected to pave the way for further projects in the years to come.
The residential building, which boasts an ideal riverside location as it is near the Saigon River, comprises two 25-storey blocks, some 500 metres away from the administrative centre of District 2.
In addition, in October 2018, it signed an MOU with PCG to promote the Western Gate Project. The two companies will cooperate in building commercial facilities, five apartment buildings and schools, and a large sales facility in the Ben Thanh area of Ho Chi Minh City.
Lotte E&C is also interested in the North-South Expressway, the North-South High-Speed Railway, and Long Thanh International Airport.
FE CREDIT introduces $NAP lending platform
FE CREDIT has employed new technologies to develop its end-to-end digital lending platform $NAP, after meticulous localization including but not limited to Vietnamese language and script, Selfie Face Recognition, AI-based Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Voice Based Virtual Assistant, Speech to Text, Device Based Scoring, Telco Data Scoring, eSignature, and more.
$NAP has overcome challenges for the traditional lending model by using OCR and Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) to verify the customer’s identity and authenticate documents submitted by customers using their phone cameras.
FE CREDIT also deployed Selfie Face Recognition, which uses an applicant’s selfie photo to query their data and process their credit assessment accordingly. Face Recognition is not only relevant for storing customer information but also helps save time and manual effort for credit assessment and works towards minimizing fraud.
According to the National Financial Supervision Commission, consumer lending in Vietnam has been growing rapidly since 2015, with growth at 65 per cent in 2017 compared to 50.2 per cent in 2016, and with the percentage of consumer lending in total credit rising to 18 per cent in 2017 from 12.3 per cent in 2016.
Despite there being so many players in the market, the consumer experience still leaves much to be desired, especially the process of acquiring consumer credit being mostly manual and time consuming, taking up to four or five days.
FE CREDIT is the first in Vietnam’s consumer lending market to deploy an end-to-end digital lending platform, suitably named $NAP, which allows a complete digital process for loan applications, instant approvals, and immediate disbursements, taking only 10-15 minutes for customers to complete the process with money received within hours. It drastically increases its appeal among customers while mitigating the challenges faced in the traditional lending model.
Only two months after a pilot campaign for $NAP, applications and loan volumes increased significantly, by 280 per cent every month. By the end of November, the number of loan applications reached almost 150,000 and about 2,000 applications are received each day.
The app’s stability increased from 58 per cent during the pilot stage to over 97 per cent now; among the best levels of stability for an app that is only four months old. The company expects it to be 99 per cent in January.
“Customers are the center of our universe,” said Mr. Basker Rangachari, CMO of FE CREDIT. “Our single-minded agenda is how can we make the lending experience faster, easier and better for our customers. This is our DNA.”
The company is working on the possibility of extending its lending services to rural areas, to add to its urban and suburban presence. It has recently extended the platform to device-based account management, with a merchant module capable of accepting payments from the credit lines of FE CREDIT’s individual customers. The move opened up the opportunity to bring the 5 million plus micro-merchants who control 90 per cent of retail in Vietnam under organized finance through digital payments.
OCB recognized as complying with Basel II
The Orient Commercial Joint Stock Bank (OCB) was officially recognized by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) on December 26 as applying Circular No. 41 ahead of schedule after one year of implementing and applying Basel II standards.
In order to complete risk management categories according to international standards in Basel II, OCB has implemented ten large and small tools to actively support credit and risk management, and has also studied, drafted, adjusted, and improved nearly 30 processes/regulations relating to credit, data, and risk management. At the same time, the bank also organized a series of communication and training programs that are synchronous and effective throughout the system.
The proactive and successful implementation of Basel II over the past year and now the recognition from SBV demonstrate compliance with the bank’s regulations and the SBV’s orientations, contributing to building a healthy banking industry in Vietnam, and enhancing competitiveness, especially in asset quality, profitability, capital adequacy ratio, and governance capacity.
According to financial experts, the successful implementation and application of Basel II helps OCB operate safer and healthier while managing capital more effectively, resulting in more positive and sustainable business results. After implementing Basel II with capital indicators, liquidity, and risk management requirements meeting international standards, Vietnamese banks will have the opportunity to reach further. The successful implementation of Basel II shows that OCB has been gradually operating risk management standards following international standards, marking a new turning point in the bank’s development in the future.
Specifically, Basel II not only brings practical values for the bank but also for its customers and shareholders. Application has helped OCB optimize profits by adopting business strategies based on risk, the rational allocation of capital to customers and products, and establishing an investment/credit portfolio with optimal profit margins.
“The SBV’s recognition of the application of Circular No. 41 officially completes the successful implementation of Basel II by OCB, which is considered a remarkable milestone after recent efforts,” said Mr. Nguyen Dinh Tung, CEO of OCB. “At the same time, it creates an important foundation for OCB to maintain a high growth rate, enhance its competitiveness in the local market, and bring added value to customers within the customer-centric strategy the bank is pursuing.”
In addition to successfully completing Basel II and being recognized by the SBV, OCB also achieved many other successes in 2018, such as Moody’s upgrading its rating to B1 in many important categories; being the first Vietnamese bank to successfully apply the Omni Channel platform into its operations; receiving two consecutive awards from International Finance magazine in 2018; and, most recently, on December 23, receiving a Top 100 Vietnam Gold Star 2018 Award.
Novaland announces plans for 2019
Novaland has recently announced it will continue to focus on the real estate market in Ho Chi Minh City and expects to introduce around 4,400 apartments, townhouses, and villas and endeavor to hand over about 5,900.
It will become active in the hospitality sector with NovaTourism, which has three main product brands – NovaHills, NovaBeach and NovaWorld – and introduce about 2,300 other hospitality real estate products.
This is also part of its plan to realize Phase 2 of its business strategy, with two key areas being real estate and tourism services.
The company’s goal is to coordinate with consultants and professional operators to create excellent destinations for both local and international tourists, to turn these places into tourism – hospitality – entertainment centers of the region, contributing to the imprint of Vietnam on the global travel map.
Novaland also said it will focus on developing destinations with great tourism potential, such as Phu Quoc Island, Can Tho, Ho Chi Minh City, Ba Ria Vung Tau, Phan Thiet – Binh Thuan, Ninh Thuan, Cam Ranh – Khanh Hoa, and Quang Nam – Da Nang.
NovaTourism will consist of eight main categories: hospitality, transport, logistics, food culture, modern shopping, entertainment services, travel, and local tourism development.
Brands to be introduced into the market include NovaHills Resort and NovaBeach. NovaHills will consist of projects with a scale of less than 100 ha, located in an area with hilly landscapes, and include a full range of utility services for accommodation, food and shopping for tourists, and entertainment areas. The first project launched is NovaHills Mui Ne Resort & Villas.
NovaBeach, meanwhile, includes projects with a scale of less than 100 ha located in coastal areas and including a full range of accommodation, shopping, and other entertainment. The first project to be launched is NovaBeach Cam Ranh Resort & Villas.
NovaWorld’s recreational and resort complex includes projects over 100 ha, integrating many resort activities with various forms of accommodation such as villas, hotels, second homes, and commercial townhouses with high-class entertainment, theme parks, safari parks, and golf courses, etc. Each part of NovaWorld will follow a main theme and create its own special and unique accents for tourism in selected developed regions.
Preparing for the deployment of tourism services, Novaland focuses on building strategic partnerships with many leading brands in the world and in the country. It has signed a deal with the Hoa Binh Group as a construction contractor for NovaBeach Cam Ranh Resort & Villas and with Ricons JSC as a construction contractor for NovaHills Mui Ne Resort & Villas.
Novaland put into operation Azerai Can Tho Eco Resort and Anantara Mui Ne Resort last year. By the end of 2018, it had developed and delivered around 6,000 real estate products with the right quality and commitment to customers.
CBRE: HCMC’s east holds potential
Infrastructure improvements, including the construction of Metro Line No.1 and the opening of the Ho Chi Minh City – Long Thanh – Dau Giay Expressway, have significantly changed the development landscape in Ho Chi Minh City’s eastern area since 2012, according to the latest report from CBRE.
In terms of location, given the lack of land availability for residential developments and the difficulties in obtaining freehold tenure, new supply in central districts (including Districts 1 and 3) has been limited. Recent developments have tended to concentrate on neighboring areas such as Districts 2, Binh Thanh, 4 and 7. The southern area ranked first in terms of new supply in 2018 (with 53 per cent), thanks to mid-end and high-end projects in Districts 7, 8 and Binh Chanh. The eastern area accounted for 29 per cent of new supply, with the majority in District 2.
The average selling price in the primary market in the fourth quarter was $1,709 per sq m, an increase of 6 per cent quarter-on-quarter and 10 per cent year-on-year. This significant increase was due to new supply in the luxury segment in the quarter and the selling prices of these projects were higher than the current price level. Some projects in the segment recorded selling prices of $7,000-$8,000 or more per sq m. In terms of location, the average selling price in the eastern area was $1,838 per sq m, an increase of 11 per cent year-on-year, second behind only the central area.
2018 ended with the number of newly-launched condominium units nearly equal to that in 2017. This is a positive result given that many projects had to change their development timeline during the year. In the fourth quarter, the market welcomed an additional 8,112 units, up 28 per cent quarter-on-quarter, bringing total supply for the year to 30,792 units and total accumulated supply since 1999 to 260,247 units. In general, diversification of unit type, unit size, and price helps keep the market’s absorption rate high while average selling prices increase.
The proportion of the mid-end and affordable segments decreased last year compared to 2017, with the mid-end segment accounting for 52 per cent of total supply compared to 64 per cent in 2017 and the affordable segment accounting for only 2 per cent compared to 15 per cent. There was a lack of projects with launching prices below $800 per sq m, and some large projects in the mid-end segment delayed their launch to this year.
Similarly, Hanoi’s condominium for sale market continued to maintain a high level of new launches last year, of around 30,000 units. The market has further shifted towards the mid-end segment, with 70 per cent of new launches compared to 63 per cent in 2017 showing that end-users are still a major source of demand in the capital. Notably, the market saw the launch of large-scale townships including VinCity Ocean Park and VinCity Sportia, adding vibrancy in the last quarter of the year.
In terms of location, the trend towards decentralization continued in 2018, as only 2 per cent of new supply was launched in the city’s four core districts. Hanoi’s residential market has also expanded to suburban areas, with an increasing number of new projects launched in locations outside of a 10-km radius from the CBD. Projects in suburban districts such as Thanh Tri, Hoai Duc, and Gia Lam accounted for 20 per cent of total new launches last year.