VietNamNet
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 11/9

Last update: 18:03 | 11/09/2017

Vietnam to resume importing distillers dried grain from the US

The Vietnam government has authorized the resumption of imports of distillers dried grains (DDGS) from the US, a co-product of ethanol production used as a key ingredient in animal feed.

Imports were suspended last December after quarantine pests were detected in a shipment of DDGS, the US Trade Representative and Agriculture Department said in a statement issued Wednesday, September 6.

Prior to the suspension, Vietnam was the third-largest market for US DDGS, with exports valued at more than US$230 million in 2016.

The resolution of this issue paves the way for increased corn and wheat shipments, which were restricted due to previous treatment requirements, according to the statement issued by the two US agencies.

Inflation rate rises in August but stays within target

The inflation rate in Vietnam for August quickened from that of July to 3.35%, according to a statement issued by the General Statistics Office.

The increase, said the GSO, was largely due to rising costs for healthcare, medicine and pharmaceuticals after the government raised the prices for medical services in several provinces.

In addition, transport costs in August jumped from July as global oil products prices rose while food costs climbed as pork and vegetables became more expensive, the GSO statement said.

The country's annualized average inflation rate for 2016 stood at 2.66%, well within line of the Vietnam government’s target of keeping the consumer price index below the 5% threshold.

Poultry at top of livestock feed industry pecking order

The poultry market in Vietnam is the leading growth segment of the livestock feed industry, said experts at a recent forum in Hanoi discussing the opportunities for domestic sector businesses.

With the advent of globalization and rise in the standard of living of consumers in the Southeast Asian country, companies are expanding in the market with improved products and wider range of options, said Hoang Thanh Van.

Mr Van, who heads up the Animal Breeding Department at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, noted that poultry is the most rapidly growing of all protein dietary sources by far outperforming pork, beef and fish.

This in turn, he added, creates vast opportunity in the poultry feed segment for domestic sector companies.

The rising family per capita income of households and widespread poultry diseases that create a more limited supply around the globe are the major driving factors of the poultry feed market in Vietnam.

In addition, the growth of domestic and international fast service restaurants throughout the country has elevated demand for quality protein products and in turn has contributed to the rising need for poultry feed in the country.

Rising family household incomes has also spawned an increase in a shift in eating habits so that families are now eating away from home much more often than in the past— and at higher end restaurants that demand premium quality meat, poultry and fish.

Food manufacturers are also now starting to more closely coordinate with the factory farmers to direct them towards higher yield of poultry thereby increasing their earnings ratios, more commonly referred to as return on investment or ROI for short, said Nguyen Thanh Son.

Mr Son, who is the head of the National Institute of Animal Husbandry, said that as a result, there are ample opportunities for domestic sector companies to get into this rapidly expanding scientifically based segment and compete on an equal footing with foreign multinationals.

The various type of poultry feed additives available in the Vietnamese market consists of antibiotics, vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids, feed enzymes and feed acidifiers, said Mr Son.

The global regional segmentation of the poultry feed segment includes North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Middle East & Africa. The Asia Pacific, which includes Vietnam, is the largest market followed by North America.

Based on type, the poultry feed market can be segmented as broilers, layers, turkey and others. In Vietnam, broilers are the most preferred category and antibiotics fall under the largest category under the feed additives segment.

Top quality poultry feed, said Mr Son, is required to increase the feed conversion ratio by improving gut micro flora thereby enhancing animal health. It also maintains animal health by preventing diseases among them.

Domestic sector manufacturers looking to get into the segment must concentrate more on marketing and selling in the developing markets in countries such as Vietnam, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Lebanon and Turkey.

These markets offer greater opportunities to increase revenue and sales with higher per capita expenditure on quality food. Moreover, it is a proven fact that countries going through periods of rising per capita income offer greater opportunity.

It is generally accepted as fact that at per capita income rises, people tend to consume more and higher quality meat, poultry and fish protein, said Nguyen Van Giap from the Southern Centre for Agriculture Policy and Strategy

This in turn drives demand for top quality feed additives.

Numerous authorities, said Mr Giap, have forecast that the poultry feed market in Vietnam is expected to grow at healthy compound annual growth rates as high as 20% through 2020, making this a golden opportunity for domestic businesses desiring to get into the market.

Developing logistics service in Vietnam

Vietnam’s logistics services - freight forwarding, transportation, and inventory services - began to develop in the 1990s. Logistics has now become an important economic sector in Vietnam. In the next decade Vietnam could reach an export-import turnover of US$200 billion per year.

Vietnam earns US$22 billion a year from logistics services. The sector’s annual growth rate has been 16 to 20% in recent years. According to World Bank rankings, Vietnam ranks 64th out of 160 countries in logistics development and fourth in ASEAN after Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. 

Logistics is one of Vietnam’s fastest growing and most stable services. Recent statistics from the Vietnam Logistics Association show that more than 1,300 logistics enterprises are now operating in Vietnam, including foreign-invested firms.

Most logistics service providers in Vietnam are small or medium-sized enterprises. Major firms like Transimex Saigon Corporation, Sai Gon Newport Corporation, Gemadept Corporation, and Transport and Chartering Corporation (VIETFRACHT) specialize in freight forwarding, loading, and uploading mainly in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. There are 25 multinational enterprises operating in these areas. The rest are domestic small and medium-size enterprises and mainly work for international companies.

Logistics service providers in Vietnam have set up business relations with the US, the EU, ASEAN, Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea. In recent years, logistics has played an increasingly important role in economic development and international economic integration.

Phuong Lan, General Director of the Amerasian Shipping Logistics Corporation (ASL), said “Logistics is a support division of the import and exports sector. When an economy grows, with an increasing volume of imports and exports, the workload of the logistics industry will also rise. Most logistics companies in Vietnam are small or medium-sized enterprises. But since Vietnam joined the WTO, the majority of Vietnamese logistic enterprises, which are mostly young, dynamic, and quickly adaptable companies, have grown.”

According to the Vietnam Maritime Administration, shipping is the most important area of logistics. But Vietnamese enterprises handle just 18% of the total import/export volume. The rest is done by foreign businesses.

Tran Thanh Hai, deputy head of the Import-Export Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said Vietnam is poised for a logistics breakthrough.

“First, we need to improve the legal framework in line with the state management mechanism and adopt policies that support the industry’s growth. Second, it’s important to develop transportation infrastructure - bridges, roads, railway stations, ports, warehouses, and logistics centers," Hai emphasized.

The government recently approved an action plan to enhance the competitiveness and growth of logistics services in Vietnam by 2025.

DEEP C leads port JV for Quang Ninh

Russia’s private leader in port development and operation, The Seaport of Azov, and the DEEP C consortium headed by leading Belgian port, industrial zone, and green energy group Rent-A-Port have agreed to develop a state-of-the-art ecological industrial zone and port complex in Quang Ninh.

deep c leads port jv for quang ninh hinh 0 he establishment of a Vietnamese-Russian industrial manufacturing hub in northern Vietnam is expected to speed along a new wave of Russian investments in Vietnam as a result of recent high-level governmental commitments to boost the two countries’ investment and trade in the near future.

September 8 marked a milestone for co-operation ties between Quang Ninh authorities, Tien Phong Industrial Zone JSC – in which DEEP C consortium is a major shareholder – and The Seaport of Azov. 

The parties agreed to seek the central government’s approval to transform an area of 100 hectares in Quang Ninh’s South Tien Phong region into a hub for industrial manufacturing and port operations along the Chanh River.

The signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) was made on the sidelines of the 20th Session of the Vietnam-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Trading-Commerce and Science-Technology Cooperation in Ho Chi Minh City, which saw the participation of approximately 150 Vietnamese and Russian businesses.

According to the MoU, the development of the Vietnam-Russia Industrial Complex within the $128 million Tien Phong Industrial Zone is expected to kick off swiftly if Vietnamese authorities give their go-ahead to the project soon.

The Seaport of Azov started investment in Quang Ninh in 2016. The intention of the partners is to equip the Vietnam-Russia Industrial Complex with a liquid jetty and a general cargo port, as a continuation of their year-plus of co-operation.

The complex will be developed in a location between the international deepwater seaport of Lach Huyen in the northern port city of Haiphong and the shallow Chanh River in Quang Ninh. This would enable all manufacturers based in the complex to transport their products via an inland waterway in order for them to be able to reduce the number of trucks on the road.

“This is a great opportunity to present The Seaport of Azov’s commitment to invest in Vietnam. Our ultimate aim for this strategic co-operation framework is to attract Russian companies to invest and expand their business in Vietnam in general and in northern regions like Quang Ninh in particular,” said Andrian Sinebok, chairman of the Board of The Seaport of Azov, at the signing ceremony.

DEEP C and The Seaport of Azov’s pipelined industrial zone and port complex coincides with investment from Russia to Vietnam hitting a downturn. Statistics show that in the first eight months of this year, Russian businesses registered to invest roughly US$1.026 billion in 114 valid projects in Vietnam.

The deal is also a positive result of the partnership agreement between Vietnam and Russia signed at the end of June. Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on investing more than $10 billion in both countries in the coming years.

According to Marc Stordiau, Rent-A-Port’s CEO, the signing of the MoU represents the strong business relationship of Rent-A-Port and The Seaport of Azov and a 20-year friendship between the global businesses.

For Vietnam, this is the logical continuation of the previous co-operation between DEEP C consortium and The Seaport of Azov in Euro Jetty JSC. The first investment of Euro Jetty JSC was the existing liquid jetty - one of the biggest of its kind in northern Vietnam - in Haiphong’s Dinh Vu/DEEP C Industrial Zone, which has attracted more than 70 projects invested by multinational companies from Japan, Germany, the US, Vietnam, Singapore, and South Korea, with a total investment amount of more than $3 billion.

Stordiau told VIR that The Seaport of Azov is operating a port in Russia in a location similar to Tien Phong, and thus this latest business venture of the Russian partner with its port experience and the DEEP C consortium will likely be successful. “We will continue working together with the Vietnamese authorities so as to realise a strategic plan to develop the maritime access to Tien Phong Port of Quang Ninh,” Stordiau said.

The Seaport of Azov is located on an intermodal corridor intended for movement of cargo from north to south, and also handles freight from and to the Balkan-Danube and Mediterranean regions. It is the main gate connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the internal waterway system of Russia and the Caspian Sea. It allows the delivery of cargo to the centre of Russia, to the Ural Mountains, and Central Asia.

Rent-A-Port is the port-related investment and management arm of the Belgian holding company Ackermans & van Haaren, which was founded in 1885 and is one of the largest listed holding companies in Belgium, with assets worth €2.7 billion ($3.2 billion).

Rent-A-Port operates as an engineering and investment company that analyses, designs, constructs, develops, and manages port, logistic, and marine infrastructure, as well as industrial zones worldwide. Some examples are the port of Antwerp (Belgium), the second-busiest port in Europe; the port of Kampen (Netherlands); the port of Duqm (Oman); and the port of Messaieed (Qatar).

In Vietnam, Rent-A-Port’s investments are in Dinh Vu Industrial Zone JSC with three DEEP C Industrial Zones covering 3,000ha in Haiphong, in Tien Phong Industrial Zone JSC with two DEEP C Industrial Zones in Quang Ninh, in green energy and water treatment projects in Haiphong and Halong Bay, and in co-operation with the Vietnamese government in wind- and solar-driven micro-desalination for agricultural production in the Mekong Delta region.

“Rent-A-Port has already invested an amount in excess of $200 million and has now also committed to invest an additional $250 million in various industrial zone and port complexes in Vietnam in the next 10 years,” Stordiau told VIR.

Vietcombank to pay $128.9 million as dividend     

The Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Viet Nam (Vietcombank) will make an 8 per cent dividend payout based on the bank’s performance in 2016.

The bank had previously targeted a 10 per cent dividend payment for its performance in 2016.

Vietcombank will pay shareholders VND800 (3.5 US cents) for every share they own. With nearly 3.6 billion shares being listed on the HCM Stock Exchange, the value of the dividend payout will reach nearly VND2.9 trillion ($128.9 million).

The bank will finalise the list of beneficiary shareholders on September 29 and make the dividend payout on October 16.

According to annual reports released by Vietcombank, the largest lender by market capitalisation, while its post-tax profit kept increased every year from VND4.42 trillion in 2012 to VND6.85 trillion in 2016, its dividend payout rate declined during the period from 12 per cent to 8 per cent.

The State Bank of Viet Nam is currently the largest shareholder of Vietcombank, owning more than 2.77 billion shares, or 77.1 per cent of the bank’s charter capital.

The second-largest shareholder is Japanese Mizuho Bank Ltd, which owns nearly 540 million shares, or 15 per cent of the bank, while other shareholders own total 7.89 per cent of the bank’s capital.

Thus, the State will be able to receive VND2.2 trillion from Vietcombank once the bank completes its dividend payout while Mizuho Bank Ltd will collect VND432 billion.

By the end of 2016, total amount of outstanding loans and raised capital increased by 19 per cent year-on-year each to reach VND460.8 trillion and VND600.7 trillion, respectively. The bank’s bad debt ratio fell to 1.46 per cent from 1.79 per cent at the end of 2015.

Vietcombank is targeting pre-tax profit of VND9.2 trillion, an yearly increase of 8 per cent, 8 per cent dividend payout rate for 2017 and bad debt ratio below 2 per cent.

The bank also plans to raise its total amount of outstanding loans and raised capital by 15 per cent and 14 per cent year-on-year to VND547 trillion and VND684.8 trillion, respectively. 

Carlsberg eyes at least 51% stake in Vietnam's Habeco - media

Danish brewer Carlsberg is keen on increasing its stake in Habeco, one of Vietnam’s biggest brewers, to at least 51 percent, a local news website reported, citing a Habeco executive.

Vietnam has one of the world’s most attractive beer markets and the biggest in Southeast Asia, buoyed by a young population that consumed nearly 4 billion litres last year. The government wants to fully divest its majority stake in Habeco as also in rival Sabeco. 

Carlsberg, which already owns around 17 percent in Habeco, has been discussing its priority purchase rights with the Vietnamese government, which has delayed the Habeco sale.

Sabeco, in which the government owns a 90 percent stake, has also seen interest from foreign players such as Dutch brewer Heineken and Japan’s Kirin.

Vietnam’s Steering Committee for Enterprise Innovation and Development, which oversees the country’s privatisation drive, said last month it aimed to “completely resolve problems in strategic cooperation” with Carlsberg, and inform the prime minister about the results by Nov. 15.

Habeco is still in talks with the Danish company on the stake sale, An Ninh Thu Do newspaper quoted Habeco’s deputy chief Vuong Toan as saying.

The media report also quoted Toan as saying that foreign companies are not allowed to own more than 49 percent of Habeco due to foreign ownership limits.

Carlsberg said on September 8 it would not comment on “rumours”.

Last month, the company said it held “several constructive meetings with the Vietnamese government to discuss the privatisation process of Habeco”.

“We now see good progress in these meetings, and will continue these discussions with the Vietnamese government for the next steps,” Carlsberg Chief Executive Cees ’t Hart said at a conference call after its second-quarter earnings on August 16.

Can Tho seeks link with Australia     

Mekong Delta’s Can Tho City hopes to expand co-operation with overseas partners, including those from Australia, to improve production capacity, as it sets out to become a regional pioneer in hi-tech agriculture.

The statement was made by deputy chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Truong Quang Hoai Nam on Thursday at a meeting with Rob Gordon, CEO of food producer and exporter Sunrice from Australia, during which they discussed ways to boost the city’s rice production and exports.

Can Tho lies in the heart of the Mekong Delta, Viet Nam’s largest rice basket, and exports more than half a million tonnes of rice worth US$300 million on average annually, Nam said.

The region’s rice exports were estimated at more than 400,000 tonnes in the first eight months of 2017, an increase of 3.9 per cent from the same period last year, earning $190.8 million and up 10.1 per cent year-on-year, he said.

The city aims to lead the region in hi-tech agriculture to reduce costs and enhance productivity and quality of farm produce, he said, adding that it is looking forward to fostering ties with foreign companies, particularly from Australia, to access new agricultural technologies and more markets in Europe, North America and North Asia.

On his part, Gordon said Viet Nam is capable of gaining a larger market share in these markets thanks to its competitively priced rice compared with rivals in the region, with Vietnamese rice selling for $300-400 per tonne less than rice from Thailand.

He suggested that his firm will assist Can Thơ in developing supply chains in rice farming. He also said the firm is interested in some local hi-tech agricultural projects. Nam welcomed Sunrice’s co-operation with Can Tho on the rice trade market’s development and pledged that the city’s authorities at all levels will create favourable conditions for Sunrice invest in the city.

Nam hoped that Sunrice, being one of the largest global rice distributors, will be the bridge connecting trade between Vietnamese and foreign food enterprises in the future, thereby contributing to elevating the country’s position in the world market.

Ninh Thuan’s orchard model a success     

The central province of Ninh Thuan is developing eco-tourism activities by opening up farmers’ fruit orchards to visitors, according to the province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

About 800 hectares of many kinds of fruit, including mangosteen, durian, and rambutan, are grown in Lam Son Commune in the province’s Ninh Son District. .

Visitors can pick the fruit for a low price of VND10,000 (US$0.45) per kilo for rambutan, VND35,000 (US$1.5) per kilo for mangosteen and VND40,000 (US$1.8) per kg for durian.

About eight years ago, the orchard owners began inviting friends during the harvest season to introduce them to fruits grown in the provinces of the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta.

Since the fruits cultivated in Ninh Thuan Province have a much higher quality than others planted in the Mekong Delta, and a higher productivity rate, farmers now earn about three times more than they made from rice or corn.

Phan Huu Thanh, a farmer from Lam Son Commune in Ninh Son District, said he started a fruit orchard in 1990 and now has about 2.3ha with 370 plants of various kinds of fruit, including durian, mangosteen, green grapefruit and rambutan.

He earns about VND150 million ($7,000) per year.

Most orchard owners collect an average of VND40,000 ($1.8) per visitor, he said, adding that most visitors book a day or week before the harvest season. There is no need to buy a ticket, but visitors must pay for the fruit they pick.

To protect the orchard from damage, Thanh receives no more than 50 visitors a day.

Nguyen Thi Hoa, from Da Lat, said her family visits Thanh’s fruit orchard every harvest season to pick fruit and enjoy chicken dishes made with fruit.

Lam Son Commune has about 210 households cultivating fruit on a total of 236ha that once was used to grow rice or corn.

Truong Thanh Quyen, chairman of the commune’s People’s Committee, said the fruit orchards had improved the lives of local farmers, who have been encouraged to expand their orchards.

Besides fruit orchards, the province is developing the cultivation of vineyard grapes for winemaking.

About 400 households cultivate grapes on a total area of 180ha in Ninh Hai District, according to Luu Xuan Hai, the deputy chairman of Ninh Hai District’s Vinh Hai Commune.

Chau Thanh Hai, director of the province’s Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism, said the department was working with other districts and cities in the province to expand the fruit orchard model. 

Leather, shoe exports top $9.6b     

Leather and footwear exports in the first eight months topped US$9.64 billion, a year-on-year increase of 12.2 per cent, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

They went to 100 countries, with the US, EU, Japan, China, and South Korea being the main buyers, it said.

Hanoi mulls 6 cross-river projects worth US$2.5bn

The administration of Hanoi is seeking government approval for its development of six projects crossing the Red River and Duong River, costing a combined VND57 trillion (US$2.51 billion).

The first one is the Tu Lien Bridge, which runs three kilometers across the Red River and connects Hanoi’s Tay Ho and Dong Anh Districts.

The bridge is part of a nine-kilometer extension of the Hanoi – Thai Nguyen Expressway.

The second project includes the construction of the Thuong Cat Bridge and its access roads, which stretch 5.2 kilometers from an intersection with Belt Road 3 in Bac Tu Liem District to the Bac Thang Long industrial zone in Dong Anh.

Tran Hung Dao River Tunnel is the third project, running 3.1 kilometers from the border of Hoan Kiem and Hai Ba Trung Districts to Long Bien District on the other side of the Red River.

In the fourth project, the second phase of the existing Vinh Tuy Bridge will be constructed, fully linking Vinh Tuy Ward in Hai Ba Trung District to Co Linh Street in Long Bien District.

The Duong Bridge, measuring 1.4 kilometers in length, will be built across the Duong River, connecting Long Bien’s Duc Giang Ward with Yen Vien Town in Gia Lam District.

The final project will see the construction of the 5.4-kilometer Giang Bien Bridge and its access roads, running through Long Bien and Gia Lam Districts.

According to Hanoi’s administration, the proposed bridges and river tunnels would establish an inter-connection among its belt roads, and speed up the urbanization of its districts situated to the north of the Red River.

Hanoi has also requested government permission to employ special mechanisms in calling for private investments in these projects.

Foreign companies accounted for more than 81 per cent of the figure.

The Viet Nam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (Lefaso) said local companies lack the resources to expand production or market, while foreign-invested firms have for many years invested to expand to capitalise on free trade agreements that Viet Nam had signed or was set to sign, it said.

So the latter’s exports keep increasing, it added.

Though intra-ASEAN exports enjoy zero tariffs, leather and footwear exports to member countries remain modest compared to the sector’s potential.

The exports were worth less than $400 million last year, going mainly to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines.

According to trade experts, footwear companies do not treat ASEAN as a key export market.

But according to Lefaso, ASEAN is a hard market to crack since many other members are also strong players, especially Thailand and Indonesia.

Besides, many put up technical barriers to protect their domestic production, the ministry said.

Experts said that this year the world economy is expected to be better than in 2016, and China would continue to reduce investment incentives for textile and footwear to focus on high-tech sectors, meaning orders for shoes and bags would continue to move from China to Viet Nam.

Nguyen Duc Thuan, Lefaso chairman, said production and export of leather and footwear have been good this year.

The association forecasts exports to be worth $17.8-18 billion this year, an increase of 10 per cent over last year, he said. 

Vietnamese tea exporters enjoy robust achievements

Vietnam’s tea exports in the first eight months of the year reached 90,000 tonnes, earning US$142 million, up 12% in volume and 11.8% in value compared to the same time last year, according to the Vietnam Tea Association.

Tea was sold at nearly US$1,570 per ton on average, down 1.5% from last year.

Pakistan imported the most tea from Vietnam.

Other top tea consumption markets included India, the United Arab Emirates and Taiwan (China).

Tea exporters said that there is an abundance of raw materials thanks to safe cultivation applied in all tea zones nationwide.

APEC forum agrees to foster SMEs     

The digital economy is driving growth nowadays, and it is getting hard for business owners to do cross-border trading or access the global market if they do not embrace digital transformation, the 2017 APEC Online-to-Offline (O2O) Initiative Forum heard in HCM City on Sunday.

Pei-Ti Hu, deputy director general, small and medium enterprise administration at the Chinese Taipei Ministry of Economic Affairs, said in her opening speech: “Chinese Taipei aims to enhance SMEs digital competitiveness and resilience with co-operation between the public and private sectors.”

SMEs are the engine of economic growth and prosperity, and over the past few years they have been dramatically transformed by technology, she said.

“The digital revolution and innovation have totally changed the way we all do business. SMEs now have the ability to access customers by using the internet.

“However, digitisation now brings SMEs not only opportunities but also challenges such as more exposure to cyber ethics. Many SMEs remain unprepared for [cyber ethics] and awareness of [digital resilience] remains low.”

Policy makers from APEC economies, owners of e-commerce platforms, incubators, accelerators and experts were encouraged to support SMEs/startups in fully utilising the opportunities created by digital technologies.

The APEC O2O initiative also aims to raise awareness of digital resilience among SMEs/startups since the development of digital technology also brings more exposure to cyber threats.

APEC realises that cyber threats have become a growing concern and crucial challenge to all firms regardless of size and therefore it is vital to prepare SMEs/startups to defend themselves from those threats.

“It is only when SMEs fully understand the opportunities and challenges of digital transformation they are able to unleash their potential for sustainable, innovative, inclusive and quality growth towards a shared future,” Hu said.

The one-day forum attracted around 100 stakeholders.

There was a conversation keynote titled “O2O Business: Opportunities and Challenges of Modernizing SMEs to Go Global”, an innovation dialogue titled “Unleash the potential of SMEs through digital transformation for a Shared Future”, an APEC innovation study and a board meeting where experts offered advice and guidance on business plans presented by start-ups. 

 Tra Vinh lures 290 million USD investment this year

The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh approved five investment projects with a total capital of 2,226 billion VND (98 million USD) in August, according to the provincial Department of Planning and Investment.

They included two CoopMart supermarkets, a fertilizer production project, and two projects on building infrastructure system in Cau Quan and Co Chien industrial parks.

Since the beginning of this year, Tra Vinh has drawn 33 projects, including four foreign projects worth 133 million USD and 29 domestic projects with a combined capital of 3,562 billion VND (157 million USD).

According to Cao Dang Linh, Vice Director of the department’s Centre for Investment Promotion and Business Support, the province is considering the approval of two other projects on petrol trading and shrimp varieties production, along with the adjustment of a project and verification of 11 others.

Tra Vinh is home to 193 valid projects, including 36 foreign-invested projects worth 3.09 billion USD, and 157 domestic ones worth 100.15 trillion VND (4.4 billion USD).-

Vietnam, Russia gear towards 10 billion USD trade in 2020

Vietnam and Russia have agreed to effectively implement the Vietnam-Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in order to create breakthroughs in economic, trade and investment ties between the two countries, gearing towards bilateral trade of 10 billion USD in 2020. 

The consensus was reach during the 20th meeting of the Vietnam-Russia Intergovernmental Committee for Economic-Commercial and Scientific-Technological Cooperation in Ho Chi Minh City on September 8. 

The event was co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung and his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanovich Shuvalov. 

In his opening remarks, Deputy PM Dung highlighted the long-standing friendship and the comprehensive strategic partnership between Vietnam and Russia, which, he said, has developed fruitfully across fields, contributing to national construction and development in each country. 

The annual meeting of the committee aims to materialise political commitments and determination of the two countries’ high-ranking leaders, by putting forth specific and inclusive solutions in order to advance the bilateral relationship in a more effective and pragmatic fashion, he said. 

The Deputy PM noted that bilateral trade has regained its growth rate, especially after the Vietnam-EAEU FTA took effect, to reached nearly 2 billion USD in the first seven months of 2017, up 27 percent year-on-year. 

As of June 2017, Russia had 115 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects worth 1.05 billion USD in Vietnam, while Vietnam invested in 18 projects valued at 2.4 billion USD in Russia, Dung said, adding that the number and quality of projects on investment, science and technology have been increased. 

At a press conference following the meeting, Deputy PM Dung announced that the two sides had agreed on concrete measures to step up cooperation in a wide range of areas, from economy, trade, agriculture, energy, mining, finance and banking to education-training, science-technology, transport, health care, construction, labour, culture, sports and tourism. 

As part of efforts to boost bilateral trade, the two sides will increase the export of Vietnam’s agro-forestry-fishery and consumer products to Russia, while continuing to work with each other to improve the quality of exports, ensuring product quality and food hygiene and safety. 

Dung said the two sides agreed to accelerate the implementation of joint projects on industry, energy, oil and gas, and infrastructure construction, and consider possibilities for partnering in urban railway and metro projects. 

In the field of energy, the two sides hailed the operation of Vietnam-Russia joint ventures in oil and gas exploration and exploitation in Vietnam’s continental shelf and Russia’s territory. 

They agreed to cooperate in building and upgrading thermo-electric and hydro-electric plants in Vietnam. 

Russia’s First Deputy PM Igor Ivanovich Shuvalov said he is satisfied with the outcomes of the 20th meeting of the intergovernmental committee, adding that bilateral trade remains modest. 

He said Russia will pay attention to the import of Vietnamese seafood and agricultural products and is willing to establish joint ventures specialising in farm produce with Vietnam. 

The Russian official also held that the two countries boast potential for cooperation in industry such as auto assembly, and education-training. Russian enterprises wanted to join in the construction of underground railways in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

He expressed his belief that Russia will continue to be Vietnam’s important partner and wished that Vietnamese enterprises will gain a firm foothold in the Russian market.

Samsung Securities deepens Vietnam inroads

Aiming to accelerate inroads into the Vietnamese stock market to keep pace with compatriot competition who are already present in Vietnam, Samsung Securities decided to acquire stakes in local asset management companies, one of which is Dragon Capital.

According to newswire Business Korea, Samsung Securities will co-operate with Caldera Pacific, a private equity fund from Hong Kong to buy a 40% stake in Dragon Capital to become the second-largest shareholder.

Samsung Securities will hold 10% and Caldera Pacific 30 per cent. It is also known that Samsung Securities will shell out considerable funds for the acquisition.

"The opening of an office or a corporation, a general overseas advancement form, takes a lot of time from the input of money to the results. But the acquisition of stakes in a local asset management company allows a company to efficiently secure a sales network and infrastructure," an official familiar with the acquisition said.

Samsung Securities selected a different way than its countrymen to enter Vietnam. Notably, instead of opening representative offices or establishing subsidiaries in Vietnam, Samsung Securities aims to acquire stakes in a local asset management company.

Market experts forecast that acquiring a stake in Dragon Capital is the beginning of Samsung Securities’ strategy to enter the Vietnamese stock market and the company may additionally acquire stakes in other companies.

Currently, five Korean securities firms are present in Vietnam with seven representative offices and subsidiaries, namely Mirae Asset Daewoo, NH Investment & Securities, Korea Investment and Securities, Golden Bridge, and Shinhan Financial Investment.

Dragon Capital is the largest asset management company in Vietnam. It has poured capital in Vinamilk, FPT Retail, PV Gas, Vietjet Air, Hoa Phat Group, and VPBank, among others. 

The Vietnamese company also played a role as a bridgehead for capital from Hong Kong to enter Vietnam.

Vietnam-Japan financial leasing joint venture makes debut

BIDV-SuMi TRUST Leasing Co., Ltd (BSL) officially opened in Hanoi on September 8, becoming the first financial leasing joint venture between a Vietnamese bank and a foreign financial institution in Vietnam. 

BSL is a joint venture between the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank (SuMi TRUST) of Japan, which was given a licence by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) on April 12, 2017. 

Converted from BIDV Financing Leasing Company, Ltd., a 20-year experience domestic leasing company established by BIDV, BSL has 895.6 billion VND in chartered capital, half of which belongs to BIDV and 49 percent to SuMi TRUST. 

Having business presence in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and close connection with 190 branches of BIDV nationwide, BSL is ready to provide leasing products to both Vietnamese and FDI companies to support the sustainable growth of their production, administration and sales activities. 

Nguyen Dong Tien, SBV Deputy Governor, said he believes that BSL will create an impulse for financial leasing activities in Vietnam. 

BIDV and SuMi TRUST have cooperated with each other since 2013. At the end of April 2016, the two sides agreed to join hands in the financial leasing sector. 

As a result, BSLwas established in Tokyo, Japan, in June 2017, in the witness of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Vietnam Airlines four-star status reaffirmed

The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has maintained a Skytrax four-star rating for two consecutive years.

Skytrax is the world’s leading airlines and airport rating organization.

“Over the past few years, Vietnam Airlines has made great efforts in developing an international and domestic flight network, keeping a convenient and punctual flight schedule and efficiently operating some of the most modern aircraft in the world,” Duong Tri Thanh, President and CEO of Vietnam Airlines, said.

The excellent achievement of being recognized as a four-star airline for two straight years by Skytrax is a great honour and we are proud to provide millions of passengers with outstanding service quality as well as promote the image of Vietnam around the world, he said. 

In the first eight months of this year, the airline scored 90.2 percent on the on-time performance index (OTP), surpassing the international average.

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