Fri. May 27th, 2022

Promising prospects for Vietnam’s agro and seafood exports to Ukraine

Judging from Ukraine’s great potential for agricultural and industrial development, Vietnamese businesses need to achieve deeper penetration into this market, said Nguyen Tien Tiep, Vice President of the Vietnam-Ukraine Friendship Association.

In recent years, Ukraine’s demand for imported consumer goods, especially agricultural and seafood products has risen sharply.

Following the signing of more than 20 agreements on economic and trade cooperation between the two sides the volume of seafood, garment and textiles, footwear, hats and handicrafts products exported to Ukraine has grown considerably and two-way trade turnover is estimated at around US$2.4 billion.

Since early this year, Ukraine’s investment in Vietnam has reached nearly US$400 million and is expected to hit US$600 million soon. Ukraine has 12 valid investment projects in Vietnam with a total capitalization of more than US$27 million, ranking 60th among 98 nations and territories investing in Vietnam.

The Ukraine ambassador to Vietnam, Oleksiv Shovkoplias, says Vietnam remains a reliable partner of Ukraine businesses despite its geographical distance.

The exchange of goods and services between the two nations rise from US$324.5 million in 2011 to US$456 million in 2012, but its turnover almost doubled in both sectors.

In the context of global economic downturn, Ukraine and Vietnam are yet to iron out certain snags in updating forecasts on market trends.

Duong Hoang Minh, Deputy Head of the European Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, admits that Vietnamese businesses are not fully aware Ukraine’s import-export policy due and its local consumer tastes.

Minh insists that domestic businesses get advice from the Vietnam trade office in Russia and the website of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry to seek proper partners.

Drop in purchasing power in last three months

A survey by market reseacher Kantar World Panel on all fast-moving consumer goods in Vietnam showed a slowdown in the past three months with growth at only 7 percent in cities and 9 percent in rural areas, much lower than 17 percent in 2012 in both cities and rural areas.

In the first quarter of the year, only 28 percent of urban consumers believed that the economic situation will improve in the next six months. Besides, consumers saw supermarkets as less attractive, reflected by near zero growth.

On the other hand, convenient stores and mini-supermarkets posted the most impressive growth at 91 percent with customers showing more frequent shopping in these retail outlets.

Bigger retail supermarkets saw a drop of 10 percent in the past six months, compared to the same period last year.

HCM City plans to build first BRT route by 2017

The City has studied the feasibility of building the first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route and plans to make it operational by 2017, said Duong Hong Thanh, Deputy Director of the City Department of Transport.

In a recent interview with Saigon Giai Phong Newspaper on the City’s transport development plan until 2020, Mr. Thanh said that the first BRT route will start from Mien Tay Bus Station and run along Vo Van Kiet Highway to connect with the terminal of Metro Route No.1 in Cat Lai Ward in District 2.

The City is trying to complete all related surveys and procedures to seek for World Bank loan and start construction of the project by 2015.

If all goes as per schedule, the first BRT route in HCMC will come into full operation by 2017.

The South Korean Government has assisted HCMC to study eight BRT routes, which Korean experts believe viable for their economic feasibility.

They propose the City launch a pilot program to first build the 16.3km seventh route, which will start from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 and end at An Suong Bus Station.

The City appreciates the advice of South Korean experts and will consider their proposal in the development of the BRT network.

Related organs will step up investment in BRT after assessing all possible routes and arranging investment capital.

Mr. Thanh said that because the road area in the City is limited, the Department of Transport is expected to let BRT buses travel on the same lane as other vehicles.

They will organize a different lane for BRT buses on broader roads. There will be a priority lane for BRT buses on smaller roads where the volume of vehicles is not high. When a BRT bus shows up, other vehicles will have to give way.

BRT buses will have to ply together with other vehicles on smaller streets with higher volume of vehicles.

HCMC will use BRT buses with only one to two coaches to suit the traffic in the City.

New foreign technologies to be displayed in HCM City

An international exhibition on plastics, rubber, packaging, printing, food technologies and automation will be held in Ho Chi Minh City from September 3 to 6, bringing a good chance for local manufacturers to select the most suitable ones for their production.

VietnamPlas, VnPackPrint, VnFoodtech, VnPrintLabel Linkage Vietnam 2013 will take place at Saigon Exhibition Convention Center in District 7, with nearly 460 booths set up by over 260 companies from 15 countries and territories.

The exhibition is co-organised by VINEXAD, Chan Chao International Co. of Taiwan, Yorkers Trade Marketing Service Co. of Hong Kong, Paper Communication Exhibition Services Co. of Hong Kong, Vietnam Plastics Association (VPA) and Vietnam Rubber Association (VRA).

Advanced technology products and services will go on display at the exhibition, offering chances for trade, market approach, partner search, and technology exchange.

Handicraft exports to hit new record

Export value of Vietnamese fine arts and handicrafts is expected to surpass US$2.5 billion in 2013, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

In the first half, shipment of arts and handicrafts jumped 18.3% against the same period last year, compared to the country’s average export growth rate of 16.1%.

Especially, the revenue of suitcases, wallets, hats and umbrellas totaled US$925 million, pottery US$218 million, and bamboo products, US$110 million.

So far, arts and handicrafts have entered the club of 11 biggest export earners.

Promoting Vietnam-India trade ties

Economic and trade cooperation between Vietnam and India has been strengthened alongside the fine development of their political ties.

In a recent interview granted to Vietnam News Agency, Nguyen Son Ha, Vietnamese Trade Counsellor to India, said trade and economic cooperation is the centerpiece of the Vietnam-India strategic comprehensive partnership.

India is the 10th largest trade partner of Vietnam and Vietnam is the fourth largest trade partner of India in Southeast Asia.

Two-way trade turnover between the two countries increased from US$2 billion in 2009 to US$3.94 billion in 2012.

Bilateral trade value hit US$2.592 billion in the first half of 2013, a year-on-year rise 40.3%, of which Vietnam’s exports were US$1.160 billion (up 53.7%) and imports US$1.432 billion (up 31.1%). The figure is expected to surpass US$5 billion this year.

At the 15th meeting of the Vietnam-India Joint Committee in New Delhi on July 11, the two sides agreed to set up a sub-committee on trade between Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade and India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, aiming to raise bilateral trade value to US$7 billion in 2015.

India has poured US$2.052 billion into 73 projects in Vietnam, ranking it 12th among 100 foreign investors in the country.

Vietnam has invested in three projects in India with registered capital of US$23.6 million.

Ha stressed that the strong development of Vietnam-India economic and trade cooperation in recent times has yet to match the fine political ties and the two countries’ potential.

A complete legal framework between the two countries and India’s recognition of Vietnam’s full market economy status plus the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIG) will create a driving force behind flourishing economic and trade ties, he said.

Ha said Vietnam should continue encouraging Indian businesses to invest in such areas as oil and gas exploitation, electricity generation, mineral exploitation and processing, sugar production, agricultural chemicals manufacturing, and information and technology which are India’s strengths.

In addition, the two business communities should work out measures to improve cooperation efficiency, especially in building strategies and trademarks, developing markets, cooperating in goods production, and taking part in fairs, seminars and business forums.

Relevant Indian and Vietnamese agencies should further provide businesses with market information, trade and investment opportunities, facilitate their travel, consider granting long-term visas to businesspeople, and open direct flights between the two countries.

Vietnam tightens control over sturgeon imports by air

The national flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines has been asked not to carry wildlife, especially sturgeon, without legal certificates of origin.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) recently issued an official document requiring intensified control over the international trade of animals named in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), including sturgeon.

The move followed a recent rumour that an increasing number of sturgeons have been smuggled into Vietnam by air.

In early July, the Vietnam Cold Water Fish Association said around two or three tonnes of sturgeon were illegally imported into HCM City daily by air. Such fish are said to be dumped in the domestic market, creating unhealthy competition with local products.

Nguyen Van Hong, Deputy Director of Hanoi municipal Department of Customs, denied that claim.

“Air transportation fees are rather high, making the price of sturgeon double what it might be with the added transport and preservation costs,” Hong said.

He said that all fresh aquatic and seafood products that are transported by air are strictly controlled and that there have not been any cases found of sturgeon transported through Noi Bai International Airport to date.

“There is a very strict system for detecting and controlling smuggling at Noi Bai Airport. It’s impossible that sturgeon could be illegally imported via the terminal,” he emphasised.

Recently Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan requested that the Ministry of Public Security inspect and report on sturgeon imports.

A report by the ministry’s Environmental Crime Prevention and Fighting Police Department showed that between five and seven tonnes of Chinese sturgeon is imported into Hanoi daily. Many of these imports come with falsified documents from domestic fish farms.

They added that currently major traders often illegally import Chinese aquatic products across the borders at Quang Ninh, Lang Son and Cao Bang Provinces.

Canon opens third Image Square in Vietnam

Canon, the world’s leading imaging solution provider, today officially announced its plan to open Hanoi’s second Image Square store in Royal Vincom City on July 26, bringing the total number of Image Square outlets in Vietnam to three.

The expansion is expected to bring more benefits for photography lovers in the capital city. This opening is a part of an overall strategy to open 15 Image Square stores in Vietnam before the end of 2014 in order to provide Canon’s top-notch technology and an international standard of customer care to offer diverse experiences to customers. The first 20 customers on the opening day of July 26 will get the chance to purchase the Canon PowerShot A810 for just VND990,000. Meanwhile loyal Canon customers will save up to 49 per cent through the membership card programme.

Following the success of the existing Image Square stores in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, the third Image Square in Royal Vincom City Nguyen Trai – the gateway in the west of Hanoi – is the latest example of how Canon is bringing different experiences to local customers. These include try out the company’s latest products, also get professional advice and customer service from the highly knowledgeable staff. This is very crucial in helping the customer learn more about Canon’s products, and how the products can enrich their lives before making the final purchase decision.

The Image Square stores is created as a chain of retail outlets featuring the complete range of high quality, genuine imaging products and solutions, including the award-winning EOS-series of DSLR cameras, the full range of EOS lenses and accessories, the IXUS and PowerShot compact cameras, the LEGRIA camcorders, and printing devices such as the Selphy compact photo printers and PIXMA inkjet printers.

“Although it has only been open for a short time, the Canon Image Square store in Vincom Ba Trieu has attracted a great deal of attention from customers in Hanoi,” said Nick Yoshida, president and CEO of Canon Marketing Vietnam. “This demonstrates the effectiveness of the high level of consultancy and technical information available to customers as well as the supply of high quality products and attentive sales service.”

“The passion for photography among the citizens of Hanoi has amazed me. The opening of the new Image Square store in Royal City Vincom has reinforced our continual efforts to bring the best benefits to photography lovers in general and Canon enthusiasts in particular, so that they can enjoy the full international experience in their country,” he added.

Also on this occasion, Canon will open a “Photography Academy for Children” to be located in KidzCiti in Royal City Vincom. To mark this auspicious occasion, the first 50 shoppers at the new Image Square during the opening week will get one free entry ticket valued at VND250,000 to KizCiti.

The academy, the first of its kind in Vietnam, grants children the opportunity to learn and practice photography with Canon cameras. The opportunity is believed to help local children enhance their creativity and imagination, reinforce their confidence and learn how to form independent thinking. Open throughout the summer, the academy provides the perfect distraction for kids of the capital during the vacation period.

“Canon’s Kyosei philosophy “living and working together for the common good” means we are devoted not only to the interests of our customers but also to the needs of future generations,” said Yoshida. “We are creating an environment for children to approach the art of photography and technology so that it will stimulate their thinking and support their development so they can have increased confidence as they face the challenges of the world.”

Mercedes-Benz Fascination Motorshow 2013 Hanoi on the spotlight

July 2013 will be the first time ever that Mercedes-Benz Vietnam launches four new models simultaneously, ranging from premium compact to super luxury cars.

The “A-volution continues” at Mercedes-Benz, this time emphasises the ground-breaking diversification of the brand in many different ways: the revolutionary and modern design of the A-Class, the amazing smoothness and efficiency of the newly launched diesel SUVs like the GLK 220 CDI, as well as the overwhelming power and luxury of the all new GL 500.

With four brand new models from Mercedes-Benz, customers in the luxury segment will have four more top choices. The Mercedes-Benz Fascination 2013 is the best place for customers to find out all about the latest developments in the premium segment in terms of design, innovations, safety and efficiency.

Launching four cars at the Mercedes-Benz Fascination 2013, Mercedes-Benz Vietnam will get closer to achieve all six goals in 2013, which seemed quite challenging at the beginning of the year: doubling the parts warranty period, prejudice-breaking with the A-Class and GLK diesel, outperforming the market (increase of sales of 58 per cent in the first six months of 2013), investing $10 million in the state of the art electro-dipping coating facility, launching eight new models, and obviously satisfying customers at highest level.

Furthermore, Mercedes-Benz owners have the possibility to get a free car inspection by certified technicians from Mercedes-Benz Vietnam. In order to celebrate the four new models, all new C-Class customers in July will enjoy a warranty period of four years instead of four years. With the success in two previous times, Mercedes-Benz Fascination 2013 attracts the sponsor from famous brands such as Samsung, Techcombank, Pepsi, Peroni, Phoxinh, H-Artistry, Moët Chandon. They will bring surprising gifts for visitors. Many more surprises are waiting for all visitors of the Fascination 2013.     

Dry area farmers told to switch corps

The southern central and Central Highlands regions should revamp their cropping structures, since drought has severely affected their rice cultivation in recent years, experts said.

The regions together account for 613,100ha of rice, or 7.9 percent of the country’s total, according to the Plant Cultivation Department.

Five provinces in the Central Highlands and five out of seven in the southern central region besides Da Nang City have stopped growing rice on more than 11,000ha because of water shortage, it said.

Corn, peanuts, vegetables, and other cash crops are now grown on 6,200 ha out of this, with the switch helping farmers in drought-prone areas earn reasonable incomes, according to local officials.

In Phu Cat district in the south- central province of Binh Dinh , for instance, farmers who used to plant one rice crop a year are now growing one peanut crop and two onion crops on 340ha.

Peanut yields two times more profits than rice. In Chu Prong district in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai , many famers with rain–fed rice paddies have switched to green bean.

Speaking at a recent seminar held in Binh Dinh by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), many participants said hybrid corn is the most suitable crop for the regions since it is drought resistant, followed by peanut and soybean.

Compared to rice, corn could yield 6-10 million VND more profit per hectare per crop, they said, adding that the switch from rice to cash crops also has certain limitations.

Nguyen Van Hoa, deputy head of the department said these include farmers’ tardiness in using advanced farming techniques and the small areas on which crops with high demand like corn, soybean and peanuts are grown.

Participants also raised concern about stable outlets for the crops.

Luong Van Vang, deputy head of the Corn Research Institute said 150,000-170,000ha of rice paddies could be converted into corn-growing areas, but event this would not be enough to meet the demand for corn for producing animal feed in the next 5-10 years.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Dang Doanh said close cooperation among famers, companies’ scientists, and the Government should be established to secure outlets for farmer’s produce.

Research institutes and universities should provide high-quality crop strains to meet farmers’ needs in the regions, he said.

Exports to UK on course for record year

Vietnam’s exports to the UK soared 41.6 percent to top 1.76 billion USD during the first half of this year, according to the General Department of Customs.

Telephones and components accounted for the lion’s share with a total value of 611 million USD, up 79.5 percent year-on-year. This was followed by footwear with 260.1 million USD (up 4.5 percent) and garments, 205.1 million USD (up 4 percent).

Despite lagging behind the standout performers in terms of turnover, computers, electronics and components experienced the highest export growth rate, spiking 315.5 percent to reach nearly 173 million USD.

Other commodities which enjoyed high revenue growth included wood products, coffee, seafood and ceramics.

The first six months, meanwhile, saw a turnover slump for exports such as cashew nuts, fruit and vegetables, iron, steel and electrical wire/cable.

Last year, two ways trade reached 4.37 billion USD, rising 35.5 percent from 2011, according to statistics from the Trade Office of the Vietnamese Embassy in the UK .

Vietnam earned a total of 3.9 billion USD from exporting goods to the UK in 2012, up 44.3 percent from 2011.

The Embassy’s Trade Counsellor Nguyen Thi Hong Thuy outlined poor language skills and a lack of knowledge in trade laws, culture and international business customs as major obstacles which had hindered Vietnamese goods being shipped overseas.

In order to expand trade relations sustainably, she urged Vietnamese businesses to focus on improving awareness in these areas, while intensifying trade promotion activities.

Expert have branded the UK a demanding market as its consumers have paid increasing interests to health and environmental issues.

They added that Vietnamese businesses would make higher profits if they could meet the UK’s strict requirements.

One million people get jobs in one year

One million Vietnamese people enter working age each year, according to the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL).

More than 50.3 million people aged from 15-60 work in different economic sectors and 15 million are regular salary earners, including over 1.7 million working in the foreign direct investment (FDI) sector. Thousands of people are also working abroad under time-limit labor contracts.

The numbers of people working in education, health care, services, industry, construction and the non-State owned economic sectors are on the rise while those working in agriculture, forestry and the State-owned economic sectors are showing a downtrend.

In general, Vietnamese workers are young and able to access advanced science and technology thanks to their improved academic standard and professional. The number of skilled workers reached 42% and around 32% of workers had vocational training.

The quality of labor forces in oil and gas, aviation, electricity, electronics, information technology, post and communications, bridge building, hydroelectricity and machinery assembly is higher than those in other fields.

In recent years, State incentive policies and the national target program on job and vocation training have facilitated job creation with more than 1 million people getting jobs.

However, the impact of financial crisis and global economic downturn as well as national economic difficulties have forced many businesses to declare bankrupt, dissolve and scale down their operations leading to a large unemployment rate.

SBV ‘unlikely’ to cut rate further

The lowering of the open market operations (OMO) interest rate by the Sate Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) could trigger outflows, further exacerbating the liquidity crunch and possibly pushing term rates higher, according to a report by HSBC Bank.

The central bank cut the OMO rate to 5.5 per cent from 6 per cent last Friday. The entire OMO offer of VND7 trillion (US$330 million) at 5.5 per cent was absorbed by banks.

HSBC has determined that the move is likely to ease the recent liquidity crunch, which caused overnight interest rates to rise to their highest level this year.

“With inflationary pressure elevated due to a recent gasoline price hike, potential increases in public service costs and the cost pressures caused by the recent VND devaluation, the SBV is unlikely to cut rates further,” the report said.

The bank report also showed that lowering the OMO is unlikely to solve the fundamental issues surrounding Viet Nam’s meager credit growth.

The opening of the Viet Nam Asset Management Company (VAMC) was delayed on July 9 but HSBC believed that while VAMC was not expected to be a panacea to Viet Nam’s debt issues, its operation is symbolic in signaling the government’s commitment towards tackling economic inefficiencies.

HSBC said that the recent VND weakness coupled with accelerated inflation and higher oil costs suggests that headline inflation will likely rise to 7.1 per cent year-over-year in July from 6.7 per cent in June.

Dampened domestic demand and a favorable base effect will likely push inflation lower near the end of the third quarter of 2013, the report also said.

However, HSBC supposed that upside risks to inflation remain and that commodity prices might rise due to an expected acceleration of global growth in the fourth quarter of this year.

“With core inflation in the double-digits and headline inflation expected to accelerate in July, the SBV has limited room to cut rates further. We expect rates to stay steady, if not move higher, from now on,” the report said.

Agribusiness link with farmers key to restructuring

The Government is asking the agriculture ministry to quickly draw up policies to promote partnership between farmers and agribusiness companies, since the lack of such a partnership has been identified as the main reason why the sector has been lagging behind.

The move has been prioritised because the Mekong Delta, the country’s biggest agricultural hub which has huge potential in rice and catfish production, has been struggling with slower sales of farm products despite lower price.

This is also in line with a larger plan to revamp the whole agriculture sector which requires changes in production practices, interaction between farmers and agribusiness companies and the way in which agricultural supply chains are managed.

One particular policy will touch on how rice companies will be deemed eligible for exporting rice. Those companies signing long-term purchase contracts with farmers will receive higher priority on the list. Eventually, contract farming will be mandatory for the major rice exporters, who will also be encouraged to participate in the production process.

The Government has also directed the food association, the catfish association and the association of seafood exporters and processors to come up with a co-operative method designed to prevent unhealthy price competition. Seafood companies are also urged to strengthen their partnership with farmers.

Opting for a bigger role in the private sector is an important game-changing policy for the Government in the future. Government intervention alone is no longer valid in the agricultural sector, instead the Government will now play a supporting role in terms of creating an attractive environment for other businesses in the economy, says Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, director of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development ‘s Centre of Agriculture Policy.

Agriculture minister Cao Duc Phat has emphasised the importance of empowering farmers through the use of farming clusters and groups, otherwise it would be impossible to work effectively with 10 million farmers scattered across the country.

Agriculture is Viet Nam’s primary sector and force behind the export market. The total value for agricultural exports has reached a record high of US$27.5 billion. To add more value to its products, the industry is now setting its sights on restructuring.

Government stockpiling causes rice prices to rise

Rice prices have risen sharply in recent days thanks to the Government’s programme to buy one million tonne of the grain for its temporary reserve, according to the Viet Nam Food Association.

VFA deputy chairman Pham Van Bay said the average price for long-grain paddy is VND5,900-6,000 per kilo, and for normal paddy, VND5,400-5,500.

This represents an increase of VND800-1,000 from before June 15 when food companies began to buy rice under the Government plan, he said.

By July 21 they had bought more than 65 per cent of the planned stockpile of one million tonnes.

An improvement in exports has also contributed to the hike in prices, he said.

Some rice exporters have been selling 5 per cent broken rice for US$395-405 a tonne, up more than $20 from a month ago.

With new developments in the global market, VFA announced new floor prices for rice exports that took effect on July 18.

The new minimum price for 25 per cent broken rice has increased from $365 per tonne to $375.

The programme to stockpile one million tonnes kicked off on June 15 and is scheduled to end on July 31.

The HCM City Stock Exchange was launched on July 20, 2000.

Over the past 13 years, the number of listed companies is 60 times higher with 303 companies, five fund certificates and 39 listed corporate bonds whose market capitalisation totalled VND813 trillion ($38.7 billion).

The trading value of the southern market saw a growth rate of 135 per cent per year.

The Ha Noi Stock Exchange started its first trading session on July 14, 2005, and now has 387 listed companies with a total market capitalisation of nearly VND100 billion ($4.8 million).

About 1.2 million trading accounts have been activated on both stock exchanges during this period, of which 20,000 accounts belong to foreign investors.

In addition to the success in channeling capital for companies, the stock market has helped raise awareness among public companies of transparency and obligations regarding information disclosure.

The commission said authorities would continue to complete the legal framework, especially for the derivatives market, and further develop policies related to listing, capital mobilisation, taxes on securities trading, accounting and auditing and corporate risk management.

In order to ensure fairness and transparency in the market, the commission would strengthen its supervision of securities companies and investor trading to root out violations.

Mobile enterprises, a growing trend

ACE Life Insurance has become the first company in Viet Nam to offer life insurance products on mobile phones, including payment options.

The US company has launched an electronic sales management tool which allows mobile devices to connect with the company for sales and enables the company’s staff to better manage client accounts.

The trend, called “mobile enterprise”, which describes enterprises bringing part or all of their working processes and services offered externally to mobile devices, is expected to soon become very popular in Viet Nam because of the rapid growth in the use of smart phones and tablets.

For customers, it offers the obvious advantages of convenience and ease of use, saving them time and money.

ACE’s product also allows clients to pay online using additional equipment to swipe cards.

For companies, it is a new way to reach customers and one that enables them to improve both efficiency and productivity by allowing staff to work remotely.

“Going mobile is a logical step forward for Viet Nam,” Ngo Thanh Hien, technical head at IBM’s Mobility Solutions department told Viet Nam News.

“There are around 5 billion smart phones and tablets in the world and only 2 billion laptops and desktops.

“This means users tend to use private mobile devices instead of office computers.

“Viet Nam is [part of] this trend with a strong increase in the number of smart phones such as iPhones and Blackberrys.”

Elsewhere, the Viet Nam Mobile Telecom Services Centre II (VMS II) and IBM Viet Nam have developed an advanced, end-to-end mobile computing platform that allows the former to expand into new markets while enhancing its enterprise application development capabilities and improving workforce productivity.

“This strategic investment will help us sustain our leading position in telecommunication services in Viet Nam,” said Nguyen Bao Long, deputy director of VMS II.

“We will use the new mobile cloud infrastructure to streamline management of employees’ personal devices, quickly deliver value-added services and promotions to our customers, and improve customer satisfaction.”

The chairman of ACE Life, Lam Hai Tuan, told Viet Nam News, “It helps save time and money while avoiding fraud.”

Lenders like HD Bank, ANZ and Vietcombank also offer their customers mobile services, but to successfully go mobile, companies need to ensure complete security.

“While local enterprises can enjoy the advantages of an already mobile-savvy labour force, they are still challenges in terms of company culture and employee awareness for security and compliance,” Hien said.

“The end-to-end solution will not only offer enterprises a comprehensive mobile portfolio that combines security, analytics, and application development software, but also features several services to help establish mobile strategies and design and implement mobile projects.”

Handicraft exports value forecast to hit record high

The export value of Vietnamese fine arts and handicrafts is expected to outstrip US$2.5 billion this year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

In the first six months, shipments of arts and handicrafts jumped 18.3 per cent against the same period last year, slightly higher than the country’s average export growth rate of 16.1 per cent.

Notably, revenue from suitcases, wallets, hats and umbrellas totalled $925 million, up 23.6 per cent year-on-year; pottery reached $218 million, up 6.6 per cent; and bamboo products hit $110 million, up 5.3 per cent.

As of the end of June, the arts and handicrafts sector had become one of the country’s 11 biggest export earners.

BIM Group to make splash with 23ha Marina project

The Ha Long Investment and Development (BIM Group) has earmarked nearly US$2 billion into the 230 hectare Ha Long Marina, one of its key projects.

The Marina complex will include high-grade villas, a park, a commercial centre, hotels, an entertainment centre and apartment blocks.

The group has disbursed over VND500 billion ($23.4 million) towards the Ha Long Marine Plaza leisure centre and a number of the project’s secondary works will be put into service.

Nestle brews a local caffeine boost

Nestlé have marked the 75th anniversary of their famed instant coffee with a greater investment commitment to Vietnam.

The international nutrition and wellness giant has underscored its dedication to the domestic coffee industry through investment in a new $238 million Nescafé plant, combined with the continued implementation of a wider development plan which has contributed to rejuvenating the country’s aging coffee plantations, improved farming skills and added value to Vietnam’s coffee products.

Nescafé started as an idea to solve the problem of what to do with unsold coffee in the 1930s, and now celebrates its position as one of the world’s favourite drinks. Today an incredible 5,500 cups of Nescafé instant coffee are consumed every second, catering for a wide variety of different tastes and preferences around the globe.

Nestlé’s commitment to increased investment in Vietnam is tied to the country’s role as a leading global robusta coffee producer.

Chairman and CEO of Nestlé Indochina Wayne England and Nestlé Vietnam’s managing director Rashid Qureshi inaugurated a new Nescafé factory located at the Amata Industrial Zone, Bien Hoa, Dong Nai province this July. This inauguration confirmed Nestlé’s confidence in, and commitment to Vietnam, said England.

The new facility, worth 230 million Swiss francs or $238 million, produces Nescafé both for local consumption and for export, creating more than 200 new jobs and many more indirect jobs. This underlines Nestlé’s commitment to Vietnam and to Nescafé, one of the company’s key brands worldwide, England said.

The Nestlé Tri An factory uses Nestlé’s state-of-the-art soluble coffee technology and is dedicated to meeting growing consumer demand for Nescafé products in the region, said Vietnam technical director Santiago Vila.

“Nestlé has built a state-of-art coffee manufacturing facility, allowing us to contribute to Vietnamese society by bringing added value to the domestic coffee industry,” Vila said.

England elaborated that the plant was an extension of Nestlé’s global production line, meeting the most stringent environmental standards and employing the most modern technologies.

The factory underlines Nestlé’s green credentials by dispensing of oil or gas to power its roasting section and production lines. Instead, it re-uses ground coffee for heating, helping minimise waste.

England added the facility would significantly increase production of high-quality Nescafé products primarily made by locally sourced raw materials for both domestic and international markets. “More importantly, it will employ more than 200 people, create additional indirect jobs and foster the sustainable development of the province. This is an accomplishment that we are truly proud of.”

Nestlé currently operates five factories in Vietnam, with the latest becoming the largest coffee factory in the country, and employs more than 2,000 people nationwide. Between 1995 and 2012, Nestlé boosted its capital investment in the country to $450 million from $25 million. In addition, La Vie, a Nestlé Vietnam arm, expanded the capacity of its two mineral water factories, with more than $25 million invested between 2009 and 2012.

In 1998, the first Nescafé products made in Vietnam were produced at Nestlé Dong Nai. Since then, Nescafé has become familiar with Vietnamese consumers.

In addition, the Nescafé Plan – a $518 million investment in coffee projects by 2020 – has a set of global objectives which aim to help the company further optimise its coffee supply chain, including an increase in direct purchasing from farmers with additional technical support and training for producers. In Vietnam, Nestlé annually distributes two million highly productive and disease resistant coffee plantlets to growers. The project has helped to save 246,000 litres of water per hectare, and reduced fertilizer usage by 15 per cent. In addition, some 20,000 farmers are trained annually in Nestlé Best Farming Practices.

Nestlé has also inked a deal with the Western Highlands Agriculture and Forestry Science Institute to implement a coffee farming renovation scheme to address Vietnam’s aging coffee plantations. The company is working via a public-private partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to improve coffee productivity through innovated farming practices.

“Vietnam is a very important part of Nestlé’s Indochina business and our continued commitment and ongoing investments demonstrate our confidence in Vietnam,” said England.

“The establishment of this new factory reflects more than just investment to expand our business; it also illustrates our commitment to a country in which we have had very successful operations for many years and where we will keep promoting agricultural growth and continue to ensure the sustainable use of natural resources. We are committed to growing here, while creating shared values with the local community, and we are very grateful to the local authorities, partners and staff who have helped us to achieve this goal.”

The inauguration of the new factory marks a new step for Vietnam’s coffee industry as it signifies a significant shift from exporting raw materials to shipping high-valued soluble coffee, said Phan Thi My Thanh, deputy vice chairwoman of Dong Nai province’s people’s committee.

Nestlé Vietnam’s managing director Qureshi concluded, “This investment marks another step in our long-term presence in Vietnam. We aim to create value in the long term wherever we operate. We do so by sourcing locally, creating employment, offering nutritious products and helping the further development of the country.”

Bitexco seeks partner for landmark PPP project

The Bitexco Group is expecting to find a foreign partner to jointly invest in the Dau Giay-Phan Thiet motorway as the firm prepares to embark on a whistle-stop road show of Asia to drum up interest.

Bitexco will launch a series of investor road shows for Vietnam’s first public-private partnership project together with the Vietnamese government and the World Bank from July 22, covering Mumbai, Seoul, Singapore and Hanoi.

“I’m delighted that the public-private partnership model has already attracted keen interest among investors from around the world. We want like-minded partners who are looking at longer-term strategic opportunities in transport and infrastructure development that will contribute to Vietnam’s growth,” said Vu Quang Hoi, chairman of Bitexco Group.

The Ministry of Transport began to sell dossiers to potential domestic and foreign investors who are interested in the project from July 2.

The Dau Giay-Phan Thiet motorway is a critical link in the national north-south transport route. Spanning approximately 100 kilometres, the four-lane road will link the key southern cities of Ho Chi Minh City and Phan Thiet.

Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank country director for Vietnam said the Dau Giay-Phan Thiet route was crucial for a new stage of infrastructure development in Vietnam.

“The project will boost the economic performance of the southern region. Last but not least, this is the first public-private partnership project in which we are co-operating with the Vietnamese government and it’s very important for both parties,” she said.

Bitexco officially gained approval from the government as the prime investor in Dau Giay-Phan Thiet motorway project in 2010.

According to the investor, the project would cost in the region of $757 million, with Bitexco holding 60 per cent equity in the project. The rest will be contributed by the state and other private investors. The shareholders have a 30-year concession to operate the motorway via tolls, after which it will be handed to the Ministry of Transport.

The Bitexco Group expected to borrow capital from the World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development to invest in the project, but the World Bank is not allowed to offer loans to private companies.

However, Hoi believed this would not prove a set back.

“Every aspect of the project will meet international standards and the strictest criteria pertaining to technical design, environmental and social safeguards. As the lead investor, we will seek to balance the key performance indicators with a commercially viable development in order to achieve a win-win relationship with our stakeholders including the Vietnamese government, our shareholders, investors and the public,” said Hoi.

The Vietnamese government is expecting the success of Dau Giay-Phan Thiet motorway will lead to a wave of foreign investments in infrastructure sector through public-private partnerships

The Ministry of Planning and Investment recently proposed that the government arrange VND20 trillion, or approximately $1 billion at current exchange rates, to finance public-private partnership projects in the country. The fund will be used matched funding for private sector investment.   

One more year to have road to Hiep Phuoc Port

D3 Road, the only road that leads to Hiep Phuoc Port in HCMC, is scheduled to break ground in September and it will take at least one year to have the road ready.

Although 200 meters of pier has been constructed, the 2.3-km road leading to Hiep Phuoc Port has not got off the ground due to the lack of funding, said Huynh Van Cuong, deputy director of Saigon Port Co. Ltd., which is relocating its port to Hiep Phuoc Port.

“We have recently asked for capital to develop this road. As soon as the HCMC Department of Transport gives the nod, work on the road will start this September.

“It is expected that the road will be completed within 12-18 months, around the time when the construction of the port and the dredging of the Soai Rap River are finished in 2014.”

Speaking about a plan for using the current location of Saigon Port, he did not elaborate on who would take over the land but said an investor would advance some VND1 trillion for his company to complete Hiep Phuoc Port.

Work started on Hiep Phuoc Port in May 2009. The project is set for completion in 2014.

Pier No. 3 with a length of 200 meters has been put into service, while Pier No. 2, which is 400 meters long, is 60% complete.

Goods are now transported to Hiep Phuoc Port by water only due to the absence of an access road.

Another port in a similar situation is Phu Huu Port. The 2.6-km road linking Phu Huu Port and Nguyen Duy Trinh Street was completed early this month. However, trucks are banned on Nguyen Duy Trinh Street because this road is narrow with just two lanes.

The HCMC Department of Transport has recently suggested the city expand the street to allow trucks to use this road to reach the port.

Phu Huu Port, which cost VND327 billion in the first phase, is recognized by the Vietnam Maritime Administration as an international port.

The port is capable of receiving 36,000-DWT vessels with its 320m pier. Equipped with three large cranes, the port got ready for service in July 2010 but ever since it has not been operational as the lack of an approach road has prevented trucks moving into and out of the port.

Source: VEF/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/Dantri/VIR

By vivian