VietNamNet
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 7/12

Last update: 08:30 | 07/12/2017

First five-star international hotel inaugurated in Ha Tinh


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A ceremony was held by Vingroup on December 2 in Ha Tinh province to inaugurate and put into operation the Vinpearl international hotel – the first five-star hotel in the central province.

The event was attended by Politburo member and Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue.

Located in the centre of Ha Tinh city, the hotel has 36 floors and a basement, with total 311 rooms, becoming the highest building in the north central region.

Being the 17th hotel of the Vinpearl tourism and resort system, it consists of 311 rooms, bringing the total rooms of the system to 11,500.

Vinpearl Ha Tinh hotel will also provide luxury services such as a high-floor swimming pool, a Vincharm spa, a gym, five restaurants, a bar and cafes.

After Vinpearl Ha Tinh Ocean Villas, Vinperal Ha Tinh Hotel is the second hotel of Vingroup in the central province, meeting the demand of relaxation for visitors.

Speaking at the ceremony, Vice Chairman of Ha Tinh provincial People’s Committee Dang Quoc Vinh said that Vingroup’s projects and social welfare activities have significantly contributed to the locality’s socio-economic development.

Becamex IDC IPO suffers from own indifference

Despite being considered the second largest initial public offering (IPO) deal, Becamex IDC Corporation’s apathy in communications as well as in publicising information about its IPO plan resulted in 94 per cent of the offered stake being unmarketable.

The Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange has released the results of Becamex IDC’s IPO organised this morning. Accordingly, 149 of 158 registered investors won in the bidding with the highest and lowest buying prices of VND40,000 and VND31,000 per share.

After the bidding, Becamex, which is the domestic partner in Vietnam's leading industrial park and township developer VSIP, only acquired VND587.7 billion ($25.87 million) from selling 18.9 million shares or 6 per cent of the offered share volume. Originally, Becamex IDC offered 311.2 million shares at the initial price of VND31,000 ($1.36), with the expectation of earning VND9.65 trillion ($423.1 million) from the deal.

It is a surprise that while other enterprises, especially large-scale enterprises owned by State Capital Investment Corporation, have been ready to communicate their IPO plans to draw in as many investors as possible—Sabeco and Vinamilk even organised roadshows abroad—, Becamex’s IPO deal was largely a quiet business. Notably, with the exception of publishing the bidding and divestment plans, Becamex IDC released no further information.

There are opinions that the reason behind Becamex IDC remaining silent was that finding more investors via the IPO ranked rather low among the company’s priorities as it is currently collecting resources to develop the Binh Duong smart city project.

In late November, the Binh Duong People’s Committee, in collaboration with the consultancy firm from the Netherlands, organised a conference to introduce the Binh Duong smart city project, attracting more than 1,000 participants.

At the event, the province launched the new phase in the implementation of the project. At the same time, provincial leaders emphasised that Becamex IDC, with its strong financial potential and massive land area in the project, is considered the turnkey investor in developing the city.

Becamex IDC is a leading name in the development of industrial, residential, urban, and transportation infrastructure in Vietnam.

It currently has 28 subsidiaries and joint ventures in a multitude of areas from finance and banking through real estate to telecommunication-information technology, with a charter capital of approximately VND5.5 trillion ($242.1 million).

Besides, it owns a massive volume of golden land plots in Binh Duong province. Notably, Became IDC owns 700 hectares in the Binh Duong smart city project. In case this land plot is valued at VND10 million ($440.25) per square metre, its total assets are estimated at more than VND70 trillion ($3.08 billion), seven times higher than its equity as of the end of the second quarter of this year.

The 700-hectare area is just a part of the total 3,000 hectares that Becamex IDC is allocated to develop housing projects. In addition, it was allocated other massive areas to develop large-scale industrial park projects.

Hyosung gearing up to kick off $1.2-billion polypropylene manufacturing project

South Korean Hyosung Group is awaiting the Vietnamese prime minister’s approval to kick off the construction of its $1.2-billion polypropylene (PP) manufacturing plant located at Cai Mep Industrial Zone in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

According to Nguyen Anh Triet, director of the Cai Mep Industrial Zone Management Authority, told VIR that the Ministry of Industry and Trade has approved the investment planning of the project. The investor had completed the administrative procedures to implement the project, while simultaneously the province completed the site clearance and handed over the land to the investor.

“Next week, the management authority will submit the application documents for the project to the prime minister for approval. The investor will kick off the construction soon after receiving the prime minister’s approval,” Triet added.

According to the plan, the complex is divided into two stages. In the first stage, Hyosung will inject $133 million and $336 million, respectively, into building a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage tank and PP production plant with an annual capacity of 600,000 tonnes per year.

In the second stage, it will invest $496 million and $226 million, respectively, to construct a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant and another PP plant, as well as a petrochemical product warehouse.

Earlier in February 2017, representatives of Hyosung Group and the Vietnamese government signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU), marking a new step in implementing the project.

Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, the representative of Hyosung said, “We will boost our price competitiveness with the integrated production system ranging from LPG to PP and expand our share in markets with great potential, such as Vietnam, China, and Southeast Asia.”

PP is a thermoplastic “addition polymer” made from the combination of propylene monomers. It is used for a variety of applications, including packaging consumer products, plastic parts for the automotive industry, and textiles.

Regarding the investor, Hyosung is a multidisciplinary company operating in the textile, chemical materials, trading, construction, power and industrial sectors. It currently has a global network focusing on Asia, Europe, and America.

Hyosung entered Vietnam in 2007 and developed three fibre factories in the southern province of Dong Nai. In May 2015, Hyosung received the investment certificate for a fourth, $660-million fibre production plant, increasing its Vietnamese investment to $1 billion to date. This new investment will make Hyosung’s first PP plant in a foreign market.

Samsung’s Vietnamese subsidiaries make $19 billion profit

Samsung has earned $19 billion of profit for seven years of operations in Vietnam, of which Samsung Thai Nguyen contributed the highest profit among Samsung's subsidiaries over the world.

Samsung Group has just announced the detailed profit figures of its subsidiaries in the first nine months of 2017. The four Vietnamese subsidiaries, Samsung Bac Ninh (SEV), Samsung Thai Nguyen (SEVT), Samsung Display Vietnam (SDV), and Samsung Electronics HCMC CE Complex (SEHC), earned $31.4 billion of revenue and $4.6 billion of profit.

According to TheLeader.vn, Samsung Bac Ninh, the factory dedicated to the production and assembly of cell phones hit $12.5 billion of revenue, including $1.53 billion of profit, up 50 per cent against the same period last year.

Samsung Thai Nguyen, the factory dedicated to the production of electronic components, grew drastically with $18.6 billion of revenue, making an increase of 27 per cent, and $2.32 billion of profit, an increase of 30 per cent compared to the same period in 2016. This is the subsidiary reaching the highest profit in the Samsung Group system due to being exempt from tax for the first four years of operation in Vietnam.

The revenue of Samsung Display Vietnam tripled to reach $8.7 billion, while profit in the first nine months hit $590 million. This company has risen its investment capital from $4 billion to $6.5 billion.

Samsung Electronics HCMC CE Complex, the factory dedicated to the production of electronic products, reached $165 million in profit in the first nine months 2017 and doubled revenue against the same period last year.

Samsung has just announced that the total profit of the four above-mentioned companies since 2010 hit $19 billion, 60 per cent of which came from Samsung Bac Ninh (SEV).

Samsung Thai Nguyen (SEVT), one of the largest factories of the group over the world, gained $6.7 billion of profit.

Up to now, the total registered capital of Samsung Group in Vietnam is $17 billion, including the $5 billion of SEVT, the $2.5 billion of SEV, the $6.5 billion of SDV, the $2 billion of SEHC, and the $1.2 billion of Samsung Electro-Mechanics. As of early 2017, Samsung Vietnam’s disbursed capital was over $10 billion.

Total assets of the four companies in Vietnam is approximately $29 billion, consisting of $13.8 billion of payable debts.

CPI rises 0.13% in November: GSO     

The consumer price index (CPI) in November rose 0.13 per cent from the previous month and 2.62 per cent year-on-year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

This was the lower growth in November CPI, compared to the growth rate of 0.48 per cent in November 2016, 0.34 per cent in November 2013, 0.47 per cent in November 2012, 0.39 per cent in November 2011, and 1.86 per cent in November 2010.

That meant the average CPI for the last 11 months rose 3.61 per cent year-on-year.

Do Thi Ngoc, deputy head of GSO’s CPI Department, said the growth rate of 0.13 per cent in the November CPI was due to price increases in eight of 11 goods and service groups that were used to calculate CPI.

Of these, the price surged 0.68 per cent for the transport group, following two increases in oil and petrol prices on November 4 and 20; and 0.20 per cent for medicine and health care services, because Quang Ninh and Quang Tri provinces increased prices for health care services, according to existing regulations, she said.

Meanwhile, the prices of garment and footwear products rose 0.15 per cent, and the price of restaurant and catering services increased 0.11 per cent due to the price of food increasing by 1.12 per cent, caused by higher demand on food in flood-hit areas.

However, there were three groups of goods that saw prices reduce in November, including the group of housing and building materials, with a reduced rate of 0.04 per cent due to the lower price of steel products for construction. Prices of cultural and entertainment services edged down 0.01 per cent and prices of post and telecommunication services fell 0.03 per cent.

In November, the market saw a price reduction of 0.3 per cent and 0.01 per cent for gold and US dollars, respectively.

Ngoc said core inflation in November rose 0.06 per cent from the previous month, and 1.28 per cent over the one year period.

The eleven-month inflation increased by 1.42 per cent year on year, lower than the projected figure of 1.6 to 1.8 per cent, proving that the monetary policy has been carried out effectively. 

Work on pilot low-cost housing project starts     

Work on a pilot affordable housing project kicked off on Saturday in the central province of Ha Tinh’s Thach Linh District.

Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue attended the ground-breaking ceremony.

Financed by Ha Tinh Development Investment Fund, the project has investment capital of VND356 billion (US$15.6 million) in the first phase. It is slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Covering a total area of 3.97ha, the project will comprise approximately 1,000 low-cost apartments, a 7,000sq.m commercial area and an amusement park.

In his speech at the event, Ha Tinh Province People’s Committee vice chairman Dang Quoc Vinh asked the project’s investor to mobilise sufficient investment capital in order to implement the project as scheduled.

In its strategy for housing development, Viet Nam aims to build some 12.5 million sq.m in floor space for affordable houses in urban areas by 2020. 

Vinalines partners with Belgian enterprise to build grain port in Hai Phong

The Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) has asked the Ministry of Transport to allow it to work with Rent A Port of the Belgian Ackermans & Van Haaren Group to invest in developing ports in Lach Huyen – Hai Phong international port.

The two sides hope to develop a grain specialised port, capable of receiving 100,000 DWT ships, and construct a 250 hectare logistics centre opposite the grain port to facilitate the handling, storage and distribution of grain for the northern region.

Rent A Port plans to buy 10 percent of Vinalines’ charter capital when the company launches an initial public offering (IPO) this month.

The Belgian company has already hired a consultant company to evaluate the financial situation and equtisation progress of Vinalines and set up a group of international maritime experts to examine the infrastructure and logistics system of Vietnam’s leading marine firm.

Rent A Port was established in 1885 specialising in port management. In Vietnam, it has injected more than 200 million USD into the Deep-C industrial complex, and pledged to add more 250 million USD to port and industrial park projects in Hai Phong and Quang Ninh province.

Under the IPO plan, Vinalines is allowed to hold a maximum of 65 percent of registered capital at key ports, including Hai Phong, Sai Gon and Da Nang.

Vinalines currently manages a fleet of off-shore vessels with total capacity of nearly two million tonnes, occupying some 25 percent of the national fleet’s capacity.

From now to 2020, Vinalines will focus on developing and exploiting sea ports, which play important roles in the northern, central and southern areas of the country and are the lifeline of the national transportation network.

Ben Tre’s export revenue picks up 16.37 percent

The Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre’s export revenue from January to November surged 16.37 percent against the same period last year to 754 million USD, according to Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Cao Van Trong.

Of the total, 280.9 million USD was contributed by the domestic economic sector and 473.25 million USD by the foreign invested sector.

Growth in revenue was seen in key exports like seafood (14.36 percent), coconut milk (36.17 percent), activated carbon (25.4 percent), and garment and leather shoes (50.05 percent), said Pham Thi Han, Vice Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade.

Asian countries were the largest importers, spending 48.52 million USD purchasing Ben Tre’s products and accounting for 63.92 percent of market share.

Thanks to provincial authorities’ move to address difficulties for enterprises as well as help them improve production capacity and develop export markets, local businesses have enjoyed robust exports, Han noted.

The province plans to enhance trade promotion activities to popularise products and stabilise traditional markets while seeking more markets.

November’s industrial production index up 17.2 percent year on year

Vietnam’s index of industrial production (IIP) in November rose by 17.2 percent against the same month last year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

In the month, the manufacturing and processing sector grew by 24.3 percent, while electricity production and distribution increased 13 percent and water supply and waste and waste water treatment rose 10 percent. However, the mining industry’s production fell by 4.1 percent.

Between January and November, the IIP expanded by 9.3 percent, higher than the 8.7 percent recorded in the first ten months of this year and 7.4 percent recorded in the same period last year.

In the period, electronics, computers and optical products grew by 31.5 percent, metal production by 15.4 percent, and rubber and plastics production by 13.7 percent.

According to the GSO, the northern province of Bac Ninh saw the highest year-on-year IIP increase of 35 percent, followed by the northern port city of Hai Phong (20 percent), the northern province of Thai Nguyen (18.3 percent), and southern Binh Duong province (10 percent).

As of November 1, the inventory index of the processing and manufacturing sector rose by 9.3 percent against the same period last year.

The number of labourers working in industrial enterprises as of November 1 was 5 percent percent higher than a year ago.

Localities that saw increases in the number of labourers included Bac Ninh (20.3 percent), Da Nang (17.2 percent), Hai Duong (8.7 percent), and Vinh Phuc (7.6 percent).

Mekong delta to develop agriculture with eco-tourism

At a seminar to beef up agricultural product consumption in the vast Dong Thap Muoi area in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, representatives of three provinces of Long An, Dong Thap and Tien Giang presented real situation, orientation and measures to assist the development of sustainable agricultural chain in the region. 

As per the presentations, the Dong Thap Muoi area will turn out to be land for hi-tech agricultural production.

The Dong Thap Muoi Area is calling for investment in 44 projects including nine projects on agricultural produce of Long an Province; 31 projects on farming infrastructure urban infrastructure, process industry, tourism, commerce of Dong Thap Province; four projects on husbandry, fishing logistics of Tien Giang.

At the seminar, eight memorandums of understanding on consumption between cooperatives, producers and distributors were signed aiming to boost consumption of agricultural products of Dong Thap Muoi Area.

Rice prices mitigate in southern, increase in northern region

Rice prices have slightly reduced after hitting the record high this year in the Mekong Delta but increased higher than that of the same period last year since October in the northern region.

In the Mekong Delta, traders and businesses have reduced purchase because they have stockpiled enough for signed contracts. However, prices of many rice varieties have been VND500-1,000 higher than the same period last year.

IR 50404 is now priced VND5,100-5,200 a kilogram of fresh rice and VND6,000-6,200 a kilogram of dried rice. Long grain varieties are sold at VND5,300-5,600 a kilogram of fresh rice and VND6,300-6,600 a kilogram of dried rice.

In the northern region, rice prices have been higher than the same period last year since October. Medium quality varieties such as IR50404, Khang Dan and BC15 have hiked by VND800-1,000 to VND12,000-15,000 a kilogram. High quality rice prices have surged from VND2,000-5,000 a kilogram.

Many businesses said that rice consumption had been good but they were still cautious about signing new export contracts to prevent rice shortage for delivery as farmers in the Mekong Delta have almost reaped autumn winter rice and sold right after harvest.

Agricultural trade fair to take place in Hanoi

High-quality agricultural products and handicrafts will be showcased at nearly 200 pavilions in a trade fair in Hanoi from December 19-25.

The information was released by Dao Van Ho, director of the Trade Promotion Centre for Agriculture at a press briefing in Hanoi on December 4.

According to Ho, the event aims to honour agricultural products nationwide and sustainable agricultural development.

It presents opportunities for firms, cooperatives, and producers to meet and introduce their products and services.

“Ha Giang orange week 2017” will be among the highlights of the event. Other Ha Giang products will also be displayed during the fair, including San Tuyet tea, bee honey, and medicinal herbs.

Mai Van Suong, Deputy Director of the Ha Giang provincial Department of Industry and Trade said the sector provides financial assistance for cooperatives and enterprises involved in VietGAP standard production.

The Ha Giang orange association has worked with enterprises in promotion work, introducing the province’s special agricultural products to consumers.

PM opens two projects in Hai Phong     

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended the inauguration ceremonies for LG Display’s US$1.5 billion project and the $41.8 million Nguyen Binh Khiem interchange in the northern port city of Hai Phong on Monday.

LG Display’s project, specialising in producing organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens for smartphones, smartwatches and tablets is expected to create 6,000 jobs for local labourers and boost the northern city’s exports by $3 billion per year when it becomes operational.

This plant marks the first overseas OLED screen production project for South Korea’s LG Display.

PM Phuc said that the project, which started construction in May 2016 in Trang Due Industrial Zone, contributes to fostering the strategic partnership between Viet Nam and South Korea.

He also highly appreciated LG Display’s investments in building houses and canteens for workers and urged the South Korean display manufacturer to increase the local procurement rate, promote safe production and sustainable investment in Viet Nam.

The Government of Viet Nam and local authorities in Hai Phong would strive to improve the investment climate to create favourable conditions for both foreign and domestic investors, Phuc said.

Phuc believed LG Display would contribute to turning Hai Phong into an electronic production hub in Viet Nam.

On the same day, Phuc attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Nguyen Binh Khiem interchange.

The project, including a four-lane flyover which is 252.2 metres long and 18.5 metres wide, was completed in nine months, 18 months ahead of schedule.

This was a part of project upgrading the road from Nguyen Binh Khiem crossroads to Dinh Vu Dam which plays an important role in facilitating goods transportation via Hai Phong Port.

Statistics show that 90 per cent of goods to and from the northern region’s largest port are transported via Nguyen Binh Khiem interchange.

In 2017, the goods volume transported through Hai Phong Port was estimated at 92 million tonnes. 

Hoa Phat to build post-tensioning steel plant     

Hoa Phat Group has decided to invest VND1 trillion (US$43.9 million) in building a high quality post-tensioning steel factory, Vu Thi Anh Tuyet, deputy director of Hoa Phat Equipment and Accessory Company Limited, said.

The plant is located in Dung Quat Economic Zone in the central province of Quang Ngai and will be the first high-quality steel factory in Viet Nam.

It is built to replace steel imports and add value to its closed production model of the Hoa Phat Dung Quat iron and steel production complex.

The project has a capacity of 160,000 tonnes per year, including three high-end products -- PC bar, PC Strand and PC Wire. These products are used in large-scale infrastructure projects that require high technology, high load capacity and safety, such as towers, viaducts, cross-sea bridges, high buildings and cables. Moreover, these products help optimise space and material costs, shortening the time of construction work.

The post-tensioning plant is located right next to the complex, resulting in significant savings in transportation costs and inventory, as well as meeting the production schedule and delivering the goods quickly. Thus, the advantageous location will lower the cost of products and raise competitiveness compared with imported goods.

The project will make use of opportunities to upgrade the value chain of Hoa Phat’s steel products. With a modern and synchronous production line from Europe, Hoa Phat post-tensioning steel factory has potential to meet the demand of related products, ensuring the highest quality.

According to Tuyet, Viet Nam imports 100 per cent of post-tensioned steel products from China, Thailand, Indonesia, Republic of Korea and Japan, with annual output of over 70,000 tonnes of PC Bar and PC Strand steel to build infrastructure in the country. In the first nine months of 2017, this figure increased to 85,000 tonnes, an increase of 21 per cent over the entire previous year.

Hoa Phat post-tensioning steel factory is expected to meet 100 per cent of the demand for construction of domestic infrastructure projects, supporting the country in actively investing in development, reducing dependence on the external market, restricting the bleeding of foreign currencies and providing the market with products of high quality and stability.

The plant is scheduled to be implemented within 12 months from the beginning of 2018, right after being allocated land, and officially launched in early 2019. 

Ontario, Vietnamese institutions ink agreements     

Vietnamese and Ontario organisations on Monday in HCM City signed 14 agreements in the fields of food, architecture/construction, agricultural machinery, biomass raw material and education, worth nearly CA$25 million (US$19.67 million).

The Centennial College signed agreements, each valued at CA$5.25 million, to help advance academic exchanges, research collaborations and joint programming with HUTECH University of Technology, Hoa Sen College and Khanh Hoa University.

Ontario is Canada’s largest province by population and economy with GDP of CA$798 billion ($628.15 billion), nearly 40 per cent of Canada’s total.

Over the past decade, Ontario has welcomed representatives from Viet Nam and explored new ways of working together in key sectors, including healthcare, infrastructure and aerospace.

Viet Nam and Ontario are both members of a number of international trade agreements.

Trade between Ontario and Viet Nam has nearly quadrupled since 2012, reaching CA$3.1 billion last year.

Ontario’s top imports from Viet Nam include telephone equipment, fabric and leather footwear, computers and furniture.

The signing took place on the first visit of Kathleen Wynne, premier of Ontario, together with a delegation of 60 leaders of businesses, which aims to strengthen ties and foster business and innovation partnerships with Viet Nam.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Wynne said: “Viet Nam has one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, much like Ontario. This growth is bolstered by talented young entrepreneurs who are making their mark in technology and other sectors.”

The relationship between Canada and Viet Nam is on the rise, especially with regard to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), she said.

“Just look at the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks (now the CPTPP). The 11 countries have now agreed on the core principles of an agreement. I am excited and optimistic about what that means for Canada and Viet Nam and the way it could open up even more trade opportunities and increase market access for businesses. I know all 11 countries will continue to work closely on this and land on an agreement that everyone can agree will be beneficial,” she said. 

VN, Nigeria seek to boost trade cooperation     

Viet Nam and Nigeria are seeking to boost co-operation in trade and investment to tap the significant potential between the two countries.

At the Viet Nam-Nigeria Trade and Investment Forum in Ha Noi on Monday, Doan Duy Khuong, vice chairman of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the two countries had significant room to boost co-operation.

Khuong said Viet Nam was entering a new development period in 2016-20 with a stable macro-economy, high gross domestic product growth rate and total trade revenue of US$359 billion.

Viet Nam was an important gateway for Nigerian firms to penetrate other markets, especially ASEAN markets, Khuong said, adding that Nigeria was a potential market for Viet Nam in Africa.

Khuong said the two sides had potential to boost co-operation in agriculture, agricultural processing, garments, mining and building materials.

Nigeria wanted to import products that were Viet Nam’s strengths and Viet Nam wanted to import raw materials for processing.

Oye Akinsemoyin, president of the Nigeria-Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, expected the two countries would further promote their co-operation in processing agricultural products.

The trade revenue between Viet Nam and Nigeria averaged more than $250 million during the past five years.

In 2016, bilateral trade reached $303.84 million, up by 23.8 per cent over the previous year.

Viet Nam mainly exported ships, phones and components, garment and plastics, as well as chemicals, machinery and electronic products to Nigeria and imported cashew and wood from this African country. 

US allows import of VN mangos     

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has given permission for fresh mango fruit imports from Viet Nam to enter the US, effective December 29.

According to the Viet Nam News Agency Television (Vnews), after analysing the potential plant pest risks, APHIS scientists determined that mangos from Viet Nam can be safely imported under a “systems approach”.

APHIS defines the systems approach as a series of measures taken by growers, packers and shippers that together minimise pest risks prior to import into the United States.

In this case, APHIS explained that the systems approach for mangos from Viet Nam included orchard or packinghouse requirements, irradiation treatment and port of entry inspection, to protect against the introduction of plant pests and diseases.

The agency is also requiring these mangos be imported in commercial shipments and accompanied by phystosanitary certificates verifying the fruit was produced under these conditions. These certificates must include an additional declaration stating the fruit was inspected and found free of black mango spot.

Vietnam Airlines joins hands with Bangkok Airways     

National carrier Vietnam Airlines (VNA) will enter into a codeshare agreement with Bangkok Airways to operate flights between Viet Nam and Thailand.

This will create travel options for passengers and expand the air network to popular destinations of the two countries.

Under the agreement, passengers can buy Vietnam Airlines tickets from Ha Noi/Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok and then connect to Thailand’s domestic destinations via Bangkok Airways, including Chiang Mai, Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi and Chiang Rai. Passengers only need to book seats and make a one-time flight booking with Vietnam Airlines for the entire journey.

Passengers of the two airlines also have more diversified route options between Viet Nam and Thailand, including the Bangkok-Da Nang route operated by Bangkok Airways with a frequency of one flight per day and the Ha Noi/Ho Chi Minh City-Bangkok route operated by Vietnam Airlines with a frequency of six flights per day.

According to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), the Southeast Asian aviation market has high potential, reflected by the strong growth and high demand for travel. Six out of eleven Southeast Asian nations have achieved double digit growth in passenger traffic, of which the route between Thailand and Viet Nam reached total increase of 30 per cent last year, almost double compared with five years ago.

This increasing trend is expected to continue in the coming years, CAPA said. 

HNX raises over $400m from G-bonds in November     

The Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX) announced it has mobilised more than VND9.15 trillion (US$403 million) from 31 Government bond auctions in November.

This marked an increase of 21.8 per cent compared with the previous month, of which the State Treasury mobilised over VND2.93 trillion, Viet Nam Development Bank raised VND4 trillion and Viet Nam Bank for Social Policies raised more than VND2.22 trillion. 

The coupon rates of five-year term bonds sold ranged from 4.5 per cent to five per cent per year, seven-year term bonds ranged from 4.85 per cent to 4.88 per cent per annum, 10-year term bonds ranged from 5.41 to 5.91 per cent per annum, 15-year term bonds were at 5.75-6.2 per cent per annum, 20-year term bonds were at 5.82 per cent per year and 30-year term bonds were at 6.1 per cent per annum.

Compared with October, coupon rates in November of five-year bonds increased 0.02 per cent per annum, seven-year bonds grew 0.05 per cent per annum, and 10-year and 30-year term bonds remained the same.

On the secondary market, the total volume of government bonds sold by the outright method reached more than 800 million, worth VND88.6 trillion, marking a 15.2 per cent decrease in value over October.

Trading volume through repurchase agreements (repos) was 1.105 trillion bonds, worth over VND110.5 trillion, up 4.1 per cent in value compared with the previous month.

Foreign investors also made outright purchases of more than VND4.3 trillion and outright sale transactions of over VNĐ5.6 trillion. They made repo sales of over VND247 billion and no repo buys in November. 

Sacombank offers $132 mil credit package to household businesses, small traders     

Sacombank has set aside VND3 trillion (US$132.15 million) for preferential loans to household businesses, small traders and firms converted from household businesses in HCM City.

The annual interest rate is 6.9 per cent for short-term loans and from 9 per cent for long-term loans.

At a seminar to connect Sacombank with firms, household businesses and small traders in HCM City held on November 30, the bank signed agreements to offer preferential credit to 55 customers in the city.

The bank said it would continue to offer preferential loans to other eligible customers from now until mid-2018.

Nguyẽn Ngọc Qué Chi, Sacombank’s deputy general director, said the bank has for years offered preferential loans to help enterprises, household businesses and small traders cut back operation costs and improve their competitiveness.

The bank has taken part in the city’s programme to connect banks with enterprises for the last five years.

Sacombank together with other banks have provided loans to thousands of enterprises, household businesses and co-operatives in the city’s 24 districts.

Sacombank alone has provided enterprises and business households with preferential loans of up to VND15.3 trillion under the programme, Chi said.

In January this year, Sacombank, the State Bank of Vietnam and the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade signed an agreement to provide a credit package of VND3 trillion for preferential loans to businesses operating in five key sectors: support industry, exports, agriculture and rural development, hi-tech application, and small- and medium-sized enterprises. 

Nigeria offers new market potential for Vietnam

Nigeria has become a potential commercial market for Vietnam in Africa as Vietnam is running a huge trade surplus with the market, focusing on such staple items as transportation vehicles, computers and electronic products.

Doan Duy Khuong, vice chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) made the remarks at a Nigeria-Vietnam Business and Investment Forum in Hanoi on December 4.

Businesses from the two countries have strengthened exchanges and cooperation on the principle of equal mutual benefits. Over the past five years, average two-way trade between Vietnam and Nigeria hit more than US$250 million annually, he said.

Vietnam’s exports to Nigeria included transport vehicles, computers, and electronic products while imports were cashew nuts, cotton yarn, wood fibre, fruit and vegetables. 

The two countries have also boast great cooperation potential in agriculture, farm produce processing, clothing outwork, mining, and construction material production.

According to VCCI, Nigeria wants to import products that Vietnam is a leading producer of, while Vietnam desires to buy raw products to serve its export targets.

The forum will help push up trade, investment, and import and export activities between the two countries, said Mr Khuong, adding that VCCI will serve as a bridge for setting up an effective and enduring partnership between businesses.

Oye Akinsemoyin, chairman of Nigeria-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the Chamber hopes to receive assistance from Vietnam to fully exploit the two countries’ strengths in product processing, particularly farm produce.

He hopes trade activities between Nigeria and Vietnam will further expandin the future, with a focus on exports of unprocessed products and cooperation in production and processing.

Rice exports hit almost US$2.5 billion

Vietnam’s rice exports achieved a great triumph in the 11 months leading up to December as they hit 5.52 million tons worth US$2.49 billion, up 24.1% in volume and 24.9% in value against the same period last year.

These figures are much higher than last year’s total (nearly 4.9 million tons and US$2.2 billion).

In the first 10 months of this year, Vietnam shipped rice to 132 world markets. China was the largest importer with 40% of the export volume or 2.03 million tons, up 35% over the corresponding period last year. Meanwhile, exports to other markets also witnessed a sharp rise such as the Philippines (up 41.3%), Malaysia (up 97.3%) and Ivory Coast (39.7%).

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, 2017 is a successful year for the rice sector despite the forecast that many countries would implement a self-supply policy which causes difficulties to rice exporters.

However, Vietnam’s rice exports obtained a rapid growth after rice production in some countries were negatively impacted by clime change. Major importers like China, the Philippines, Malaysia and the Republic of Korea were in great demand and particularly, new import markets such as Bangladesh and Iraq also helped push up rice exports.

It is forecast that rice exports in the last month of the year will reach around 400,000-500,000 tons, bringing the total export volume to 5.9-6 million tons this year, 1.1-1.2 million tons higher than last year.

Vietnam brings variety of traditional craft creations to Italian fair

Some 30 Vietnamese enterprises have brought a variety of traditional handicrafts to L’Artigiano in Fiera 2017, an international craft exhibition running in Milan, Italy from December 2-10.

Popular Vietnamese hand-crafted items like brocade garments and clothing, rattan- and bamboo-made furniture, lacquer paintings, souvenirs, and farm produces, alongside the country’s traditional foods are on display at Vietnam’s pavilion at the fair. 

Vietnam launched its 1,500-sq.m pavilion with an opening ceremony featuring lion dances and traditional “Vovinam” martial arts. 

Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Trade Counsellor in Italy Nguyen Duc Thanh said the 22nd edition of the event gathers more than 3,000 businesses from more than 100 countries and territories. It provides an opportunity for Vietnamese firms to learn the demands of foreign markets, promote their products, learn from others’ experience in production and expand networks of overseas consumers, he noted.

Thanh also noted bilateral relations between Vietnam and Italy have seen significant progress over the past four decades after the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1973. Two-way trade rose more than four-fold from US$1.13 billion in 2006 to US$4.7 billion last year, the trade counsellor said. 

Trade revenue between the two countries exceeded US$3.76 billion in the first ten months of 2017 with Vietnam’s exports to Italy hitting US$2.4 billion. Vietnam exported about US$4.5 million worth of handicraft products, such as rattan- and bamboo-made items, to Italy during the period while Vietnam’s shipments of garments and clothing exceeded US$186.8 million, he added.

L’Artigiano in Fiera, the world’s biggest international handicraft trade fair, was first held in Italy in 1996.

Shipping falls behind booming online shopping in Vietnam

While online shopping platforms extend themselves to ensure they have adequate infrastructure to meet rising demand by Vietnamese consumers, they are still failing to satisfy when it comes to shipping, which is mostly done by third parties.

More and more Vietnamese consumers are turning to e-commerce instead of jostling with crowds during shopping events like Black Friday.

In previous years, online shopping websites became overloaded with orders, many of whom eventually failed to receive their purchased goods.

This year, such technical problems were widely resolved and most online platforms have run smoothly, especially during the Black Friday season from November 24 to 26.

However, customers have still filed complaints with e-commerce sites after their goods were delivered much later than scheduled.

In some cases, deliveries were not made until two weeks after the time of purchase.

Luu Huynh, who works for a food company in Ho Chi Minh City, bought a Wi-Fi modem on Lazada in November and was told that delivery would take five to seven days.

However, after two weeks of waiting, Huynh contacted the Lazada hotline and received an auto-reply that told him to “go to the website and check the order status.”

The problem is, Huynh said, that the order status simply stated that his purchase had been transferred to a third-party shipping service.

Alexandre Dardy, CEO of Lazada Vietnam, officially responded to Huynh’s complaint, admitting that the shipping service was poor during the promotional campaign as the system had become overwhelmed with orders.

During the November 24-26 campaign, Lazada managed to sell 1.5 million products, a threefold increase on last year, according to Dardy.

The executive did, however, admit that multiple orders placed during the Black Friday shopping spree remained undelivered two weeks after the campaign, with the shipping service to blame.

Many online shoppers have moaned that they received notifications of delayed delivery from the e-commerce websites as there were “too many orders to process.”

The overloaded systems also resulted in the delivery of goods different from what some customers had ordered, according to other complaints.

Most major online shopping websites utilize a third party to handle shipping and delivery, which ensures their service quality remains a headache.

A representative of Lotte Vietnam, which has recently joined the e-commerce market, said more than 80% of its orders are being delivered by the company’s partners, so “a certain proportion of deliveries are made behind schedule.”

Minh Bui, an online shopping expert, said the overloading of online retailers proves that Vietnam’s e-commerce infrastructure remains immature compared to the growth of the industry.

Thomas Harris, managing director of DHL eCommerce Vietnam, cited a company research as saying that most online shoppers in Vietnam are not satisfied by the shipping services of local retailers.

Sixty-six percent of online shoppers in Vietnam have demanded their goods be delivered by a trustworthy company, Harris added.

While e-commerce currently only makes up one percent of Vietnam’s total retail market, the online shopping industry is growing steadily in the Southeast Asian country.

David Anjoubault, general manager of Kantar Worldpanel Vietnam, says that the Vietnamese e-commerce market still has strong potential, even though its size is small when compared to others.

Online sales of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) reached 0.5% of the total market in Vietnam in the 12 months to March 2017, representing a significant lift of 69% in comparison to last year, Anjoubault said, citing the “Future of E-commerce in FMCG” report by Kantar Worldpanel, which they published on November 21.

“[This] makes Vietnam one of the countries with the highest e-commerce growth in the world,” he said.

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