VietNamNet
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 12/11

Last update: 10:30 | 12/11/2017

Lao Cai, China’s Yunnan to soon open temporary border gates

Northern Lao Cai province and its Chinese neighbor, Yunnan province, will soon open extra temporary border gates and cross-border roads in an attempt to boost the two-way trade and facilitate travel of their people.

The information was revealed at a talk on trade and economic cooperation between the two provinces on November 10 held within the framework of the 17th Vietnam-China International Trade Fair which is underway in Lao Cai from November 10-15.

The Vietnam-China trade via the Lao Cai/Hekou border gate reached over 1 billion USD in 2016 with export from Vietnam estimated at 462 million USD while imports worth 637 million USD. The bilateral trade hit 1.3 billion USD in the first 10 months of 2017, a year-on-year increase of 43 percent.

More Chinese investors have come to Lao Cai to seek business opportunities. The province is so far home to 15 Chinese FDI projects with the total registered investment of 400 million USD.

However, the two sides agreed that the trade via the Lao Cai/Hekou gate is still below potential as it only accounted for 1.6 percent of the total trade between the two countries in 2015 and 1.52 percent last year, much lower than that via border gates in Quang Ninh and Lang Son provinces. The difference in rail gauge between the two countries was believed to be the main barrier to the trade.

The provinces were advised to improve infrastructure at their border gates and simplify customs clearance to facilitate the bilateral trade. They will also propose ministries to broaden the list of goods permitted to be transported across the border by trucks.

On the same day, Lao Cai province and China’s Honghe prefecture also co-held a conference to promote trade between Vietnam and China as part of this year’s Vietnam-China International Trade Fair, bringing together representatives from the Ministry of Industry and Trade and tourism promotion agencies from 19 cities and provinces across Vietnam alongside over 100 enterprises from both sides.

At the conference, Lao Cai invited investment to four projects, including the Bac Ha resort, worth 350 billion VND (15.4 million USD), and a 26.4 million USD hi-tech agricultural project in Lung Phinh commune, Bac Ha district.

The event saw signing of numerous deals between businesses from the two sides in e-commerce, logistics, agriculture, tourism, chemicals and more.

VN-RoK business forum aims to boost trade, investment

A quarter-century of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the Republic of Korea has yielded impressive progress, especially in investment and trade, said Kim Jaehong, Chairman of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) at the Vietnam-Korea Business Partnership Forum held on November 10 in Hanoi.

“Bilateral trade in the first three quarters of this year reached 47.2 billion USD and we expect that the figure for the whole year will exceed 50 billion USD, increasing by 100 times from 0.5 billion USD in 1992,” Jaehong said.

Investment by Korean firms in Vietnam has also increased significantly, rising to 55.8 billion USD as of September, making it the largest foreign investor in Vietnam, he added.

On the occasion of the APEC 2017 Summit held in Da Nang and on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and the Republic of Korea, the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) and the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) co-organised the Vietnam-Korea Business Partnership Forum, hoping the event would create opportunities for businesses of the two countries to co-operate in trade, technology, supporting industries, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), intellectual property rights and social responsibility, he said.

Jaehong also said there were many Korean businesses interested in M&A deals in Vietnam. He hopes that the two countries can co-operate well in M&A activities, through which the two sides can collaborate in technology transfer and joint venture investment.

“I also expect the two sides can co-operate in services and education,” Jaehong added. “I believe that the co-operation between the RoK and Vietnam in all fields will significantly contribute to the development of the two countries.”

The forum comprised a series of events, including one-on-one business meetings between Vietnam and Korean enterprises, gathering 100 Vietnamese companies and 17 Korean firms operating in the fields of information technology, electrical machinery, components automation, chemicals, construction equipment and industrial materials.

The forum also featured an Infrastructure Technology Road-show, helping Vietnamese and Korean companies discuss technology transfer and technical co-operation in the field of transport infrastructure building technology.

In addition, the Vietnam-Korea M&A Seminar held within the framework of the event brought together private investment professionals from Korea, private equity fund managers and cross-border M&A advisory firms.

The seminar is designed to give participants the opportunity to learn about private investment opportunities in Vietnam and investment demand and strategies of Korean investors, to meet with Vietnam investees and Korean investors and make connections with industry professionals.

APEC 2017: The Diplomat lauds Vietnam’s economic integration

The Diplomat magazine recently published an article on Vietnam’s continuous global economic integration since its first hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in 2006. 

According to the article, the end of the second Indochina War in 1975 resulted in Vietnam’s reunification and was also the start of a relatively long reconstruction. 

During economic development via trade liberalisation, Vietnam joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1995, allowing Hanoi to benefit from increased trade and investment with its ASEAN neighbors through the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and ASEAN’s free trade agreements (FTAs) with China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand. 

The capstone of Vietnamese economic development efforts was membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) in early 2007.

The APEC 2006 summit in Hanoi was Vietnam’s coming-out party, its debut on the world economic stage. Improved ties boosted trade, foreign investment, and economic growth, it said.

The article quoted the World Bank as saying that Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) more than doubled from 25 billion USD in 1996 to 66 billion USD in 2006. The gross national income (GNI) per capita improved from 310 USD in 1996 to 760 USD in 2006. 

Vietnam is hosting the APEC Year 2017. The APEC 2017 Economic Leaders’ Meeting in the central city of Da Nang on November 10-11 is the most important external event of Vietnam this year, with the participation of leaders from the 21 member economies.

Ha Giang inks cooperation deal with Philippine province

The northern mountainous province of Ha Giang and the Philippine province of Benguet signed an agreement on cooperation in culture-sports, tourism, agriculture and investment following a workshop held in the former locality on November 10. 

Under the terms of the agreement, the two provinces will regularly maintain visits and share experience in sustainable tourism development. They will also facilitate export of agro-forestry products, workforce training and trade promotion via fairs and exhibitions. 

Speaking at the event, Chairwoman of the Legislative Council and Vice Governor of Benguet province Florence B.Tingbaoen said Benguet is a highland located 1,500m above the sea water level with mild climate, mostly relying on agriculture, mining, energy and tourism. 

She said after touring Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark, the delegation found out similarities between the two localities so that both sides will partner in tourism, agriculture and education. 

Vice Chairwoman of the provincial Ha Giang People’s Committee Ha Thi Minh Hanh said Ha Giang is home to abundant and diversified medicinal herbs and is working to become a key medicinal herb area by 2020. 

With cultural diversity and imposing scenery, the Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark has been recognised by the UNESCO as the first one of its kind in Vietnam. 

The province’s export-import value hit 1.38 billion USD last year and is forecast to reach 2.7 billion USD this year. 

Hanh vowed all possible support to the implementation of the freshly-signed agreement.

Vietnamese, French businesspeople meet up in Hanoi

Vietnamese and French businesspeople attended a get-together in Hanoi on November 10 on the occasion of Vietnam Entrepreneurs’ Day (October 13) and Vietnam Corporate Culture Day (November 10). 

Speaking at the event, Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of Vietnam-France Friendship and Cooperation Association Nguyen Lan Trung said the event will warm up a seminar on bilateral economic and trade ties next year. 

The association wishes that French and Vietnamese firms operating in each country would become a strong and united community to boost two-way trade, he said.

French Deputy Ambassador to Vietnam Olivier Sigaud said the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Union, which will be ratified and take effect in the near future, will make important contributions to promoting bilateral ties. 

As Vietnam and France will celebrate the 45th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties and the fifth anniversary of strategic partnership next year, a number of high-level mutual visits will be scheduled with an aim to step up trade activities. 


Vietfood & Beverage - ProPack 2017 expo opens in Hanoi

The VietFood, Beverage and Professional Packing Machines (VietFood & Beverage – ProPack) International Expo 2017 kicked off in Hanoi on November 8.

The event draw than 200 domestic and foreign businesses from 10 countries and territories, including the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Denmark, Japan, Thailand, India, China and host Vietnam.

The annual expo, held by the Vietnam National Trade Fair & Advertising Joint Stock Company (Vinexad), displays a wide range of products such as vegetables, seafood, farm produce, materials for food, beverages and confectionary, alcoholic drinks, fruit juice, tea, coffee, food packaging and preserving equipment, among others.

A similar expo was organised in Ho Chi Minh City in August, with the participation of 512 companies from 20 countries and territories which showcased products at 608 booths.

According to the organisers, more than 15,300 visitors came to the expo and about 3,000 trading contracts were signed between agricultural and processing firms.

The food sector is forecast to continue its growth in the coming time, Nielsel Vietnam said, adding that the country’s food and beverage market was valued at 30 billion USD in 2016.

BMI Research forecast that the sector’s growth rate would be at 10.9 percent in the 2017-2019 period thanks to people’s increasing income and a trend of using high value products.

The latest figures from the General Statistics Office showed that food production and processing in the first nine months of the year rose by 6.6 percent, while that of the beverage sector was 5 percent higher than the same period last year.

With a population of more than 90 million and an increasing number of tourists, the food and beverage industry has been getting the attention of both local and foreign investors.

APEC 2017: Experts highlight value of free trade

 Experts have stressed that the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum plays an increasingly important role in ensuring a global system of free, open and equal trade amid rising protectionism.

Talking with reporters prior to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Vietnam’s central Da Nang city, Jayant Menon, an expert at the Asian Development Bank (ADB), noted APEC has pushed its member economies to pursue “open regionalism”, which is a consistent principle of the bloc since its establishment in 1989.

APEC’s open regionalism means promoting intra-bloc trade liberalisation while maintaining an open market that welcomes non-member economies, he added.

Amid increasing anti-globalisation trend and pressure from protectionism, APEC needs to enhance its crucial role in maintaining a free and open global trade system, he said.

Sergio Ley Lopez, President of the Business Section for Asia and Oceania under the Mexican Entrepreneurial Council for Foreign Trade, Investment and Technology (COMCE), lauded APEC’s role in fostering  and building a multilevel cooperation structure in the region amid growing trade protectionism.

He said the most important axis of global integration will be the Atlantic Ocean and Asia-Pacific, thus APEC member economies are on their way to form the world’s most powerful economic community.

The official said APEC’s cooperation structure and mechanisms are a “cure” for trade protectionism.

Prof. Carl Thayer, an expert of the Australian Defence Force Academy, said the central concern of APEC member economies is how to realise their goal of boosting free trade and investment in the region through the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).

He recommended the bloc’s members to commit to the implementation of the Lima Declaration on FTAAP by mapping out long-term plans and setting out major deadlines.

Prof. Yeah Kim Leng from the Malaysia-based Sunway University said free trade is vital to the globalisation and trade flow.

He expressed his belief that Vietnam, as the host of the APEC Year 2017, will help arouse more attention on trade liberalisation in order to lift trade barriers and encourage cross-border investment.-

Vietjet, HDBank launch joint promotion

Vietjet and Ho Chi City Development Joint Stock Commercial Bank (HDBank) have launched a promotional programme for new customers and existing Vietjet – HDBank international co-branded credit card holders.

Under the programme, which runs from now to December 31, the first customers to sign on for an international co-branded credit card and the earliest cardholders buying tickets will be reimbursed for the total Vietjet air ticket purchase by 20 percent (up to a maximum 500,000 VND or 22 USD) and 10 percent (maximum 200,000 VND or 9 USD) respectively when they finalise payment on the website www.vietjetair.com.

The promotion will be applied for all Vietjet’s domestic and international routes flying to Seoul and Busan, the Republic of Korea; Hong Kong;  Kaohsiung, Taipei, Taichung and Tainan, Taiwan (China); Singapore; Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai, Thailand; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Yangon, Myanmar; Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Campuchia.

New cardholders will be reimbursed only one time in the first month after opening cards and no more than two times on the following month, while existing cardholders will be reimbursed a maximum of three times during the promotional time, Vietjet said, adding that the promotional money will be transferred to cardholders’ payment accounts within 20 days after the end day of each month’s programm.

APEC 2017: First Digital Prosperity Award winner announced

The first APEC Digital Prosperity Award was given to Airlala, a Vietnamese-based e-commerce platform, on November 7 as APEC senior officials began their policy deliberations.

Airlala’s mission is to support local artisans selling products globally, according to a press release issued by the APEC Secretariat.  

The APEC Digital Prosperity Award is a special prize to acknowledge the creation of a digital product that uses innovation to increase prosperity and inclusive growth across economies in the Asia Pacific region.  

“We are honoured to receive the first APEC Digital Prosperity Award,” said Hai Nguyen, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Airlala. “The award offers great support towards our mission of supporting local artisans and small businesses in the APEC region.” 

“Airlala is more than a marketplace, it is empowered by machine-learning that will match international buyers with local artisans and small firms, based on the information buyers and sellers put through the platform,” he added. 

The e-commerce platform was selected for the APEC Digital Prosperity Award from a pool of eleven teams that participated in the first-ever APEC App Challenge in May, where Asia-Pacific’s most talented developers competed to build an app for small businesses on the sidelines of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting in Hanoi.

“Small businesses are the key to boosting innovation in the Asia-Pacific region and form the backbone of the region’s business sector,” said the APEC Secretariat’s Executive Director Dr. Alan Bollard.

“Given its importance and potential, they must continue to be afforded an environment that enables them to thrive.

“The APEC Digital Prosperity Award aims to motivate the region’s creative entrepreneurial spirit to solve the challenges small business players are facing through innovation and technology,” he added.  

The APEC Digital Prosperity Award Selection Committee is comprised of the Asia Foundation, the APEC Secretariat, the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade, and Google. 

“Airlala provides the platform for SME players to expand their businesses outside their home market,” said John Karr, Senior Director of the Asia Foundation’s Technology Programmes. “It uses the familiar and proven marketplace model which has high scalability and replicability. This is the reason why we decided to grant the APEC Digital Prosperity Award to Airlala.”  

“Small businesses hold great potential. All they need is to have the tool to sell online, sell their crafts, skills and their goods to the world,” added Andrew Ure, Google’s head of Trade and Economic Affairs in Asia Pacific.

“If we’re able to double the number of small businesses in Asia-Pacific that are exporting, it would add 35 million new jobs, and 1.5 trillion USD in export sales in the region.” 

The winner of the APEC Digital Prosperity Award was announced during the Concluding Senior Officials’ Meeting (CSOM) in conjunction with the 2017 APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in Da Nang, Vietnam.

APEC 2017: Startups face numerous difficulties, says VBS delegate

Too many regulations, too much paper work, too many rules and a lack of capital are among difficulties startups in the Asia-Pacific region are facing, said a US delegate to the Vietnam Business Forum (VBS).

Talking to a Vietnam News Agency reporter on the sidelines of the event, which took place in the central city of Da Nang on November 7, Virginia B. Foote, President and CEO of Bay Global Strategies, emphasised the importance of startups to any economy, adding that it is necessary to set up a regulatory regime to facilitate their activities. 

“Part of what we are working on is to help get smaller sums of capital available to startups or groups of startups working together and help each other to get access to loans and capital,” she shared.

According to her, it’s hard for the government to help startups because they know better what they want than the government does. 

“To mostly not regulate them, the government needs to sometimes get out of the way,” said Virginia. 

She also suggested set up an environment where startups are free to experiment. 

Virginia, who used to be the chair of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, appreciated the VBS’ theme “Vietnam: We Mean Business.”

“With this theme, Vietnam sends a message that Vietnam opens for businesses, welcomes businesses, is working to grow the economy and bring in international standards and open the door to the world,” she said. 

Regarding Vietnam’s investment potential, she said most foreign investors in Vietnam, which has attracted foreign investment for 20 years, have done very well. 

“Vietnam reputation is quite good,” she said, adding that the country has joined trade agreements and continually raised standards for doing business.

It not only attracts foreign investment but also helps domestic investors, according to her.

Initiated by Vietnam, the VBS was part of the ongoing APEC 2017 Economic Leaders’ Week in Da Nang city from November 6-11.

Established in 1989, APEC comprises Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the US, and Vietnam.

It represents 39 percent of the world population, 57 percent of the world GDP and 47 percent of the total trade.

1.76 billion USD invested in Chan May-Lang Co economic zone

As much as 1.76 billion USD has been poured into 43 projects in the Chan May-Lang Co Economic Zone in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue so far.  

In 2018, the economic zone’s management board targets to lure additional 18 projects with total registered capital of 5 trillion VND (220.1 million USD) in industry, tourism, industrial infrastructure, non-tariff area and urban area.

The occupancy rate at the zone is expected to increase to 32 percent next year.

The economic zone is currently drawing the attention of ten large investors like J.W Co., Ltd from the Republic of Korea’s project to develop automobile spare part plant and Sunjin Group’s three large projects: distributing warehouse and gasoline business in Chan May port, bus production in non-tariff zone and an entertainment complex in Lap An lagoon.

The achievements were spurred by the management board’s efforts to create favourable conditions and address bottlenecks for the investors to ensure that the projects are implemented in a timely manner. 

Regarding large projects, working groups are set up to join hands with relevant authorities to handle issues arising from land clearance process.

The 875 million USD Laguna Lang Co resort developed by Singaporean Banyan Tree Group has just been completed and put into operation. Meanwhile, Vicoland Group has fulfilled the construction of 40 villas in the Mediterraneo resort.

According to Nguyen Que, head of the Chan May-Lang Co Economic Zone Management Board, with strategic position as a significant gate of the East-West Economic Corridor together with rational development strategies and streamlined mechanisms, Chan May-Lang Co will develop into a proactive and modern economic zone in the central region.

Chan May-Lang Co Economic Zone was established under the Prime Minister’s Decision 04/2006/QD-Ttg. It spans 27,108 hectares over Lang Co town and Loc Thuy, Loc Tien, Loc Vinh communes in Phu Loc district.

APEC 2017: Symposium focuses on special economic zones

A symposium on special economic zones and tourism took place in the central city of Da Nang on November 7 within the framework of the Vietnam Business Summit.

Vu Thanh Tu Anh, Director of Research at the Fulbright Economics Teaching Programme in Ho Chi Minh City and member of the Prime Minister’s advisory team, said that the special economic zone model is expected to become a new driving force for economic growth.

Vietnam has 18 economic zones, but many of them have not been prioritised for investment.

To make special economic zones successful, special regulations, firm legal frameworks and dynamism and creativity are needed, Anh stressed.

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Van Trung said that many countries have invested much in building special economic zones.

Special economic zones can attract more foreign investment and help the country better integrate into the global economy, Trung added.

The government has decided to initially develop three special administrative – economic units – Van Don in northern Quang Ninh province, Bac Van Phong in central Khanh Hoa province and Phu Quoc in southern Kien Giang province.

Special administrative-economic units are magnets for investment, high technology and advanced management modes, aiming to form a high growth area that accelerates local economic restructuring and development.

Regarding tourism, Anh said that Vietnam’s tourism sector has enjoyed growth of 25-27 percent in recent years. The number of tourists to the country recorded an impressive rise of nearly 30 percent in the first nine months of this year.

The Vietnam Business Summit 2017 is a part of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week which is taking place in Da Nang city from November 6-11. 

Hanoi pledges favourable conditions for Japanese investors

Hanoi’s authorities are committed to creating a favourable business climate for Japanese investors, said Deputy Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Doan Toan.

The official made the statement while receiving Seiji Suzuki, President of the Japan Friendship Parliamentary Alliance in Saitama Prefecture, in Hanoi on November 7.

At the reception, Toan briefed his guest on the capital’s socio–economic progress and growth forecasts. 

He said Hanoi is focusing on attracting investment in infrastructure, industrial parks and high-tech application, to create jobs and form a high-quality workforce.

Toan hoped Saitama’s investment in Hanoi would rise in the future.

For his part, Seiji Suzuki stressed the prefecture wants to invest in Vietnam, particularly Hanoi, with 34 Saitama enterprises already operating in the city.

He said his visit aims to boost cooperation between Saitama and Hanoi.

VN-Korea business forum aims to boost trade, investment     

A quarter-century of diplomatic relations between Viet Nam and South Korea has yielded impressive progress, especially in investment and trade, said Kim Jaehong, Chairman of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) at the Viet Nam-Korea Business Partnership Forum held on Friday in Ha Noi.

“Bilateral trade in the first three quarters of this year reached US$47.2 billion and we expect that the figure for the whole year will exceed $50 billion, increasing by 100 times from US$0.5 billion in 1992,” Jaehong said.

Investment by Korean firms in Viet Nam has also increased significantly, rising to $55.8 billion as of September, making it the largest foreign investor in Viet Nam, he added.

On the occasion of the APEC 2017 Summit held in Da Nang and on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Viet Nam and Korea, the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) and the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) co-organised the Viet Nam-Korea Business Partnership Forum, hoping the event would create opportunities for businesses of the two countries to co-operate in trade, technology, supporting industries, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), intellectual property rights and social responsibility, he said.

Jaehong also said there were many Korean businesses interested in M&A deals in Viet Nam. He hopes that the two countries can co-operate well in M&A activities, through which the two sides can collaborate in technology transfer and joint venture investment.

“I also expect the two sides can co-operate in services and education,” Jaehong added. “I believe that the co-operation between Korea and Viet Nam in all fields will significantly contribute to the development of the two countries.”

Yesterday’s forum comprised a series of events, including one-on-one business meetings between Viet Nam-Korea enterprises, gathering 100 Vietnamese companies and 17 Korean firms operating in the fields of information technology, electrical machinery, components automation, chemicals, construction equipment and industrial materials.

The forum also featured an Infrastructure Technology Road-show, helping Vietnamese and Korean companies discuss technology transfer and technical co-operation in the field of transport infrastructure building technology.

In addition, the Viet Nam-Korea M&A Seminar held within the framework of the event brought together private investment professionals from Korea, private equity fund managers and cross-border M&A advisory firms.

The seminar is designed to give participants the opportunity to learn about private investment opportunities in Viet Nam and investment demand and strategies of Korean investors, to meet with Viet Nam investees and Korean investors and make connections with industry professionals.

Yesterday’s event also included the Viet Nam-Korea economic cooperation forum, introducing prospects for economic co-operation between Viet Nam and Korea and the application of the Viet Nam-Korea Free Trade Agreement.  

Chinese Taipei seeks bilateral trade pact with VN     

A bilateral trade agreement would significantly boost trade, investment and tourism between Chinese Taipei and Viet Nam, a senior official said on Friday.

James Soong, representative of the Chinese Taipei delegation at the APEC CEO 2017 Summit in Da Nang, said he had visited Viet Nam three times and witnessed drastic growth in the country.

He said a trade agreement between the two APEC member economies and favourable conditions offered by Viet Nam would lure more investment from Chinese Taipei into the country.

He said Chinese Taipei has invested a lot in manufacturing industries (78 per cent of total investment projects), education, hi-tech agriculture and health care service, and will increase its investment in hi-tech industries and medical services in the coming years.

Soong also called for visa exemption for Chinese Taipei businesses and tourists in order to promote two-way trade, investment and tourism.

He said his government plans to exempt visas for Vietnamese management staffs and technicians participating in long-term education programmes in Chinese Taipei.

According to Viet Nam’s Planning and Investment Ministry, Chinese Taipei, with more than 2,500 projects worth US$30.8 billion, is the fourth biggest foreign investor in Viet Nam.

In the first nine months of this year, Viet Nam has attracted 87 new projects from Chinese Taipei, while 64 existing projects have increased their investment. Together, the new and existing projects have a total capital of $935 million.

The southern province of Binh Duong alone has attracted 688 projects from Chinese Taipei with a total investment of $2.6 billion.

Soong said he hoped Da Nang would soon emerge as the second favourite destination for Chinese Taipei investors.

Viet Nam exported farm produce and seafood worth $1.9 billion to Chinese Taipei in the first nine months of this year.

Chinese Taipei plans to import more agricultural and seafood products from Viet Nam in the years to come, Soong said. 

Korean firms hire at HCM City job fair     

Fifty one South Korean firms in sectors like manufacturing, travel, construction, water treatment, marine transport, POS software and hardware, trading, garment and textile and others are taking part in a Korea-Việt Nam job fair that opened on Friday in HCM City.

Organised by the Korean Ministry of Employment and Labour, consulate in the city and the Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, the fair is aimed at helping Korean companies in Việt Nam recruit skilled human resources.

The companies include CJ Group Vietnam, Lock & Lock, Lotte PK Duty Free, Hansae HCM, Posco Daewoo Vietnam, and LG Hausys, and they are seeking to hire 390 Vietnamese and Koreans for the positions of production manager, HR specialists, accountants, engineers, interpreters, translators and others.

Nguyen Dang Minh Vu, HR and GA manager at Lotte PK Duty Free, said his company would recruit four to eight people at the fair for the positions of marketing, purchasing and planning staff.

Billy Tae-Hyeong Kim, chief engineer of Huvis Water Vietnam Company Limited, said his company plans to hire laboratory, construction and technical sales engineers for its water and wastewater departments and other positions.

Around 25 Vietnamese work for his company now, and it plans to hire more, he revealed.

According to the Foreign Investment Agency, as of last month South Korea was the biggest foreign investor in Việt Nam with a cumulative US$57.1 billion or 18.2 per cent of all FDI.

An increasing number of Korean firms are investing in Việt Nam, and they require a large number of workers in many sectors.

The job fair, first held in the city in 2013, gets positive feedback from South Korean businesses as well as Vietnamese job applicants, and there are 2,000 participants this year, double the number last year. 

Cooperation to enhance animal feed supply chain management     

A memorandum of understanding was signed on Thursday between Business Association of High Quality Vietnamese Products and Netherlands-based GMP+ International and Business Support and Application Services Limited Company (BSAS).

The agreement is aimed at enhancing the capacity of managing the animal feed supply chain for Vietnamese firms.

This was among several efforts to help Vietnamese food companies produce safe meat products by using safe animal feed, association chairwoman Vu Kim Hanh said.

Accordingly, GMP+ International will provide support to the association and BSAS to enhance capacity for the Vietnamese animal feed supply chain, which will contribute to ensuring food hygiene and safety in animal husbandry.

Nguyen Van Ngoc, deputy chairman of the Southeastern Animal Husbandry Association, said hygiene and safety remained a headache in Viet Nam.

GMP+ International is an international non-profit organisation that promotes safety in feed production.

Its GPM+ Feed Certification has more than 16,940 participating companies worldwide. 

HCMC completes 2017-20 resettlement plan     

The southern city’s Department of Construction has completed the resettlement housing plan for urban development projects for the 2017-20 period.

The plan was recently submitted to the municipal People’s Committee for approval.

During the 2006-16 period, more than 25,360 apartments and 14,680 land plots were completd but 10,305 apartments and 3,625 land plots were unutilized, statistics showed.

Under the plan, the construction department proposed 3,500 unoccupied apartments to be used for resettlement for key projects implemented in the 2017-20 period.

Some 291 apartments would be used for temporary resettlement.

More than 2,140 apartments and 1,700 land plots would be allocated to districts for resettlement of 153 unfinished projects.

The rest would be put up for auction to recover capital for the State budget.

The southern city plans to develop resettlement housing projects for more than 20,000 households whose houses were cleared for urban development projects by 2020. 

Tin Thanh Group to buy BSR stake     

Renewable energy firm Tin Thanh Group has expressed a desire to become a strategic partner of Binh Son Refinery and Petrochemical Company Limited (BSR).

“Tin Thanh Group plans to buy a 5 per cent of stake in BSR in 2017,” BSR said on its website. The deal would cost the energy firm around VND3.6 trillion.

In addition, “Tin Thanh Group and BSR will propose the Prime Minister allow the energy firm to buy up to 55 per cent of its stake,” BSR added.

In May, Tran Anh Tuan, the industry and trade minister, signed a decision that valued BSR at US$3.2 billion, or roughly VND72.88 trillion.

Therefore, Tin Thanh Group would have to spend around VND39.6 trillion or $1.76 billion to purchase 55 per cent of BSR shares.

Representatives of Tin Thanh Group were not available to comment on the deal.

The company is headquartered in Tan Binh District, HCM City, and it was founded in 1992, focusing on energy, hi-tech agriculture and environment solutions.

Tin Thanh Group has VND200 billion in charter capital, which was raised from VND108 billion on January 3. The biggest shareholder is Nguyen Dinh Quyen with 80 per cent ownership, followed by Nguyen Thi Thanh Hien who holds 20 per cent, cafef.vn reported.

According to BSR, Tin Thanh Group will work to come up with the final contract in November and participate in BSR’s expansion plan.

“Tin Thanh Group will work as a middle company between BSR and US-based refineries and complete the development of projects before December 31,” BSR said.

BSR IPO delayed until January 2018

The initial public offering (IPO) of Binh Son Refinery and Petrochemical Co. Ltd. has been delayed until January 2018 instead of opening on Tuesday.

The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Tran Ngoc Nguyen, told Reuters on Monday that Viet Nam’s biggest oil and gas refinery firm planned to sell more than the original of 4 per cent of shares.

BSR expected to raise about $80 million from selling that 4 per cent stake, Nguyen said, without revealing further information about the coming plan.

The State-owned refinery business has delayed its IPO several times with the latest having been scheduled in November.

In the previous plan, BSR planned to raise nearly VND2 trillion from selling a 5-6 per cent stake in IPO and offload 49 per cent of capital to the strategic investor 12 months later to reduce the State’s ownership to below 50 per cent.

In the first nine months of 2017, BSR reported VND55 trillion in revenue and VND5.46 trillion in post-tax profit. 

The business of helping businesses     

To expand the start-up ecosystem, enterprises needed management agencies to help build a platform for effective implementation and increase the number of successful businesses. This was stated at the third Start-up Forum held in Ha Noi on Thursday.

Tran Van Tung, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, said that the start-up movement associated with innovation had been welcomed by young people nationwide.

Apart from the success of some typical first-generation enterprises, the third generation had become the dominant business generator in the last two to three years in fields of technology education, agriculture, and technology finance, e-commerce, entertainment and media.

According to Tran Van Tung, Viet Nam has about 30 venture capital funds for start-ups, showing that the start-up ecosystem in Viet Nam already has all the components for development.

However, the ecosystem has not been fully developed mainly because that start-up supporters were working incoherently or there was a lack of mechanisms to mobilise and develop the potential of the ecosystem.

Businesses and delegates attending the forum agreed that management agencies needed to build legal mechanisms, creating favourable conditions for the start-up ecosystem to develop properly.

Tran Tri Dung, consultant of Swiss Entrepreneurship Program SwissEP, said that the Vietnamese start-up ecosystem was similar to those in other countries.

The problem was how to connect and operate together efficiently. When developing ecosystems, people were trying to work at all tasks. This was extremely difficult, Dung said. "We should try to focus on what we are good at,” he added.

"As a start-up supporter, I hope that ministries, and agencies will support the ecosyetem but they also need to be selective. We need more successful stories in Viet Nam," he said.

Attorney Nguyen Van Loc, a start-up consultant and LP Group chairman, proposed the distribution of a circular guiding the law supporting small and medium-sized enterprises and encouraging localities to take initiatives in supporting start-ups.

First Blockchain Hackathon in Viet Nam launched     

The first blockchain Hackathon in Viet Nam with the theme “Vietnam Blockathon – Building Blocks to Vietnam’s Future” is being held this month in Ha Noi and HCM City, aiming to create widespread public awareness and engagement with blockchain technologies and nurture an emerging Blockchain ecosystem in Viet Nam.

The Vietnam Blockathon is backed by more than 10 world-class mentors and trainers and features one week of intensive Blockchain training, a 36-hour competitive challenge, cash prizes and rewarding incubation opportunities.

The on-board training week is backed by first-class mentors that inspire and empower the community to address chronic challenges in Viet Nam using blockchain applications.

The blockchain training week covers engineering, business analysis and product development. At first, 15 teams (2-5 members per team) will advance to the competitive challenge round, during which each team will have 36 hours (from 8pm on November 24 to 8am on November 26) to deliver a proof-of-concept and later pitch to a group of expert judges.

Three to six teams will be shortlisted and entitled to a collaborative incubation programme within the National Fintech Challenge programme.

Winning teams will be entitled to VND100 million in cash after the Hackathon and up to a VND100 million prize following the incubation round. Winning teams also experience valuable engagement with first-class mentors, trainers, investors and partners to realize their blockchain proof-of-concepts.

Registration for the Blockathon began in early November and will close on November 16 at 11:59pm.

The first Hackathon of its kind in Viet Nam is organised by Infinity Blockchain Labs in collaboration with top-notch Fintech and technology players, including Mekong Business Initiative, Saigon Innovation Hub and FinTech Club Vietnam.  

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