Festival to help Ninh Binh promote tourism potential
The picturesque Trang An Complex in Ninh Binh province (Photo: vietnamtourism.gov.vn)
The northern province of Ninh Binh will have opportunities to promote its tourism potential as a cultural, sport and tourism festival will be held in the locality later this month.
Held by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the event is part of the programmes organised to mark 1,050th anniversary of Dai Co Viet, the first feudal state of Vietnam.
A wide range of cultural activities are scheduled such as photo exhibitions, amateur cheo (traditional opera) performances, and various culture and sport activities.
Local Trang An Landscape Complex, recognised by the UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 2014, together with other renowned heritages like Ha Long Bay, Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, and gong cultural space in the Central Highlands, among others, will be nudged closer to the visitors at the festival through the “Going through the heritages of Vietnam” photo exhibition.
Also, the exhibition, with 100 gorgeous photos, will feature stunning natural landscapes, architecture, historical and cultural relic sites, as well as typical cultural characteristics of ethnic groups across the country.
Located about 90 kilometres south of Hanoi, Ninh Binh is known as “Ha Long Bay on Land”, given its limestone mountains rising out of paddy fields. The most famous local attraction is the Trang An Landscape Complex with a total of 40 tourism spots of historical, cultural, art and natural vestiges including 20 recognised as national heritages.
In UNESCO’s words, “Trang An is a resplendent complex of limestone karst peaks which are permeated with valleys, including submerged ones, and surrounded by steep, almost vertical cliffs”.
Together with other famous sites in the province such as Tam Coc Grottos and Van Long Lagoon, the Trang An Landscape Complex was also used as a location for the movie Kong: Skull Island, one of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters of 2017.
The locations opened to tourists last April.
The province has been listed as one of the 50 best spots to visit in 2018 by US travel site Insider.
Ninh Binh is striving to become one of the tourism hubs of Vietnam by 2020 and to turn tourism into a spearhead industry of the local economy by 2030. This is the goal of the province’s master plan on tourism development until 2025, with a vision to 2030.
Ninh Binh looks to attract 1 million foreign arrivals and 7 million domestic visitors by 2020, 1.5 million and 9 million by 2025, and 2.1 million and 11.2 million by 2030. Meanwhile, tourism revenue is expected at over 4.2 trillion VND (179.7 million USD), 11.8 trillion VND (504.8 million USD), and 27 trillion VND (1.15 billion USD), respectively.
Under the plan, the province will turn Ninh Binh city into the main tourism centre while Tam Diep city and townships in Hoa Lu, Gia Vien, Nho Quan, Yen Mo, Yen Khanh and Kim Son districts will be developed into supporting centres.
The Trang An Landscape Complex and the Kenh Ga – Van Trinh national tourist area will continue to be improved to deserve their national status. Six provincial tourist areas and more places of interests will also be formed in the coming years.
To realise this plan, Ninh Binh is set to ask for the Government and relevant ministries’ permission to apply some special preferential policies to attract investment to tourism.
Provincial authorities also called on the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to further include local tourism information in promotion programmes for Vietnamese tourism and support Ninh Binh in training human resources, expanding markets and products, and protecting the environment.
According to the provincial Department of Tourism, Ninh Binh welcomed more than 7 million visitors and earned over 2.5 trillion VND (107 million USD) from this industry in 2017, respectively rising by 9.5 percent and 43 percent year on year.
In the last eight months, over 6 million vacationers chose Ninh Binh as their destination, helping the province gain 2.3 trillion VND (98.4 million USD) in tourism revenue, up 5 percent and 18.8 percent from the same period last year, respectively.
South Korean travel firms keen on Vietnam’s tourism industry
Vietnam has held a workshop to introduce its tourism products, attractive destinations and tourism investment chances to businesses and media of Gwangju in South Korea.
Nearly 100 representatives of travel, hotel, airline and media firms from South Korea attended a workshop held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on October 10 to promote Vietnamese culture and tourism for visitors from Gwangju in South Korea.
This is the 10th year the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has organized events to promote Vietnam’s culture and tourism in Gwangju.
The people-to-people exchange between Vietnam and South Korea dated back nearly 900 years when princes of the Ly Dynasty in Vietnam arrived in the Korean Peninsula to settle down, and their descendants have always acted as a bridge linking the two nations’ cooperation and friendship, said Nguyen Trung Khanh, head of the Department for International Cooperation of the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Vietnam and South Korea established formal diplomatic relations on December 22, 1992. In 2009, South Korea and Vietnam agreed to lift the bilateral relationship to the “comprehensive partnership, he added.
According to Khanh, with time-tested connections, similarities in history and culture, complementary economies, and joint efforts by the two countries’ governments and people, bilateral relations have witnessed considerable attainments in various spheres.
In recent years, South Korea has continually been one of the three biggest sources of foreign holidaymakers to Vietnam, surpassing 25 million in the first nine months of 2018. In which, Vietnam also continually been one of ten biggest sources of foreign visitors to South Korea, reaching over 350,000 in 2017.
Filipino AC Energy launches 80-MW solar projects in Vietnam
The projects are estimated to cost US$83 million, financed with debt and equity. AC Energy will participate with at least 50% economic share.
AC Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Philippines’ Ayala Corporation, in partnership with AMI Renewables Energy, signed an energy performance certificate (EPC) and financing documents for the development of 80- MW solar plants in Vietnam, stated the former in a statement.
The joint venture announced its plans to build solar farms in the provinces of Khanh Hoa and Dak Lak, to be commissioned in time for the June 2019 solar feed-in tariff deadline.
“We are excited to expand our development initiatives in Vietnam and work with our local partner AMI Renewables,” said Eric T. Francia, AC Energy president and CEO.
“We appreciate the strong commitment of Vietnam government to promote renewables, and the strong support from our banking partners that are providing project finance,” he added.
The projects are estimated to cost US$83 million, financed with debt and equity. AC Energy will participate with at least 50% economic share.
Indovina Bank of Vietnam and RCBC of the Philippines will provide non-recourse financing for the Dak Lak and Khanh Hoa projects respectively.
AC Energy formed a platform company with AMI Renewables last year to build renewable energy plants in Vietnam, including the 352-MW Quang Binh wind project.
It becomes AC Energy’s second renewable energy platform in Vietnam after it partnered with BIM Group of Vietnam to develop more than 300 MW of solar power in the regional neighbor.
In January this year, the joint venture broke ground with a 30-MW solar project valued at VND800 billion (US$34.23 million), with plans to expand the capacity to more than 300 MW in Vietnam’s Ninh Thuan province.
In August, the joint venture signed EPC and financing documents, increasing the target capacity of the solar farm to 280 MW. The project is estimated to cost around US$237 million, which will be financed by debt and equity. AC Energy will participate with a 30% voting stake and about 50% economic share.
According to a master plan, solar power is expected to become the main new renewable energy source in the future, with installed capacity to be increased from around six to seven megawatts at the end of 2017 to 850MW by 2020, accounting for 1.6% of the country’s power generation and 12,000MW by 2030 or 3.3% of Vietnam’s power generation.
Vietcombank sells less than 1% of Military Bank shares on offer
Vietcombank is expected to offer the remaining shares amount on the stock market via put-through transaction, for which the specific date has not been disclosed.
Only 10,000 out of 53.4 million shares of the Military Bank (MB) offered by Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) were sold at an auction on October 15, according to the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX).
Under the current regulation, the successful bidding price must not be lower than the starting price and the price of MB share at the close of the auction date on October 15, which stood at VND19,641 (US$0.84) and VND21,300 (US$0.91) per share, respectively.
A total of 10 investors took part in the auction, but only one successfully purchased 10,000 shares at the price of VND21,900 (US$0.94) apiece, while the remaining nine failed to buy the registered amount of 5.93 million shares at offering prices lower than VND21,300 (US$0.91).
Vietcombank is expected to offer the remaining shares amount on the stock market via put-through transaction, for which the specific date has not been disclosed.
At the annual general meeting in 2018, Nghiem Xuan Thanh, Vietcombank’s chairman, informed the bank’s intention of divesting capital in other banks where Vietcombank holds more than a 5% stake, including MB and Vietnam Export Import Commercial Bank (Eximbank).
The move is in line with the regulation on limiting cross holding. Under the regulation set by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), commercial banks are permitted to hold shares in a maximum of two other credit institutions, with the stake in each not exceeding 5%. The SBV requires banks to comply with its requirements before June 30 next year.
Vietcombank currently holds a 6.97% stake or 150.6 million shares in MB, and an 8.24% stake or 101.2 million shares in Eximbank.
The sale of MB shares is supposed to help Vietcombank reduce its holding at the bank to 4.5%, which, however, failed to materialize.
Brokerage revises up earnings forecasts for Vietnam banking sector
Viet Dragon Securities Company (VDSC) has raised its earnings forecasts by a median 2% for the Vietnamese banking industry for the fiscal year of 2018f and 4% for 2019.
The brokerage firm’s earnings per share (EPS) forecast upgrades for Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), Ho Chi Minh Development Bank (HDBank) and Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) are offset by downgrade in its earnings projections for Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (VietinBank) and Military Bank (MB).
ACB leads the upgrades with a 36% increase in VDSC’s 2018 EPS forecast, mostly driven by lowering the loan impairment charges to 39 basic points of loans (since the asset clean-up is now largely completed). Moreover, VDSC expected that ACB can record a large amount of provision reversals in 2018 and 2019 from written-off legacy bad debts.
Moreover, VDSC increased 2018 EPS for HDBank by 6%, mainly because of lower loan impairment charges and lower cost to income ratio. VietinBank is the recipient of the largest cut in VDSC’s 2018 EPS, due to both reduced margin and increased loan impairment charge projections.
VDSC also raised the 2020-22 forecasts by 7-13%, with BIDV being the key beneficiary. The key reasons for this more positive assessment include NIM expansion and higher growth in services income, while the ratio of cost of operating income and provisions to operating income remains stable.
Additionally, it is expected that BIDV’s NIM can reach 2.9% in 2018-22, driven by fast growth in retail lending, which currently accounts for 31% of total loan book and VDSC expected to reach 40% by 2022. At 12-13% market share in lending, the extended NIM will provide high growth in net interest income.
Credit growth remains robust
VDSC expected the credit growth of its Vietnamese bank universe to remain robust, at 16% median in 2018 (19% in 2017), followed by 15% in 2019, with retail lending growing faster than corporate lending.
The brokerage firm predicted credit growth of private banks (ACB, HDBank, MB) to grow faster than state-owned banks (BIDV, VietinBank, Vietcombank), with HDBank growing the fastest (+18% in 2018) and VietinBank the slowest (+15%).
The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) recently affirmed that, aside from some exceptions, it will not consider adjusting credit limits for commercial banks for 2018. This means that banks with aggressive credit growth in the first half of 2018 will need to slow down in the second half.
Within VDSC’s coverage, affected banks include HDBank (+15% year-to-date, 81% of SBV quota), ACB (+12%, 79%), Vietcombank (+12%, 75%) and MB (+11%, 71%). Meanwhile, banks with more modest growth in the first six months of 2018, such as BIDV (+7%, 46%) and VietinBank (+8%, 56%) should be able to catch up in the second half of 2018.
SBV has granted 14-15% credit growth in 2018 for most banks, while it is targeting 17% growth for the whole system for the year. As such, additional quota can still be given in some “special cases”. These include banks participating in the restructuring of weak financial institutions.
Within VDSC’s coverage, Vietcombank (which is supporting Vietnam Construction Bank), VietinBank (which supporting OceanBank and Global Petroleum Bank) and HDBank (pending integration of Petrolimex Group Bank) are candidates for these special cases, according to VDSC.
However, VDSC expected that state-owned banks’ generally weaker capital is a key factor that could potentially hold back some of their volume growth potential. Vietcombank (6.2% equity/asset ratio in the January – June period) has already stated that it is not planning to grow its credit portfolio more than the 15% SBV quota.
VN’s booming economy hailed
hackernoon.com ran an article titled “Behind the curtain of Viet Nam’s booming economy,” naming “secret sauce” for Viet Nam to become a top emerging economy in less than 30 years.
A recent study by the World Bank suggested that Viet Nam’s economic growth is the result of three major changes: embracing free trade policies, reducing overregulation and costs of doing business, and investing in human capital and infrastructure.
Trade liberalization opened the door to new agreements, lowering taxes for international commerce operations and increasing regional competitiveness. To date, Viet Nam has successfully signed sixteen bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements, and it has become a member of the World Trade Organization, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the Eurasian Customs Union.
The deregulation of several key industries also played a crucial role in boosting the country’s business development. By eliminating excessive controls and providing a clearer framework for doing business, more citizens foresaw profitable opportunities in the private sector.
But the increased number of businesses brought several new requirements along with it. Education was needed to elevate quality standards, while infrastructure investments were essential to supply more energy and improve connectivity within the country.
Overall, government efforts paid off. Last month, World Economic Forum (WEF) President Borge Brende praised Viet Nam’s economic performance at the Viet Nam Business Summit. He pointed out the positive impact of the numerous economic reforms implemented by the government over the last few years to reduce debt and stabilize public finance.
Vietnamese Finance Minister Dinh Tien Dung explained that these measures were essential to put the nation back on track with regard to public debt. The country’s public debt had risen to as much as 64% of GDP between 2011 and 2015. But thanks to the latest reforms, debt is expected to decrease to 60% three years from now.
Business sector makes largest contribution to economy
The business sector is making the largest contribution to the economy, accounting for more than 60% of the GDP with 560,417 enterprises launching operation or having production-related business expenses.
As of December 31, 2017, the number of enterprises operating in service, industry and construction and agriculture-aquaculture-forestry sectors witnesses respective growths of 10.3%, 12.2% and 22.8% against the same period in 2016.
The information was released in the press conference on October 13 on the debut of the indicator set evaluating the level of development of national and local enterprises in 2017.
In the 2010-2017 phase, the number of firms launching operation increased 10.5% per year; the number of laborers working at the business sector up 5.9% per year; the production capital up 15.4% per year, revenue up 15.6% per year, profit up 13.7% per year and contributions to the State budget up 12.4% per year.
The number of newly-established enterprises in 2017 set a new record of 126,859 ones, up 15.2% against the previous year.
As of July 1, 2018, as many as 702,710 enterprises are controlled under the tax management of the General Department of Taxation.
As of December 31, 2017, the number of State firms decreased 6.6% compared to 2016 while the number of non-State ones and FDI ones sees respective increases of 10.9% and 15.5%.
In 2017, the total number of laborers working at the business sector reached 14.51 million, up 3.6% against 2016. The total capital for production attained VND33,000 trillion, up 17.5%. The total revenue obtained VND20,660 trillion, up 18.5%.
Total profit before tax of the corporate sector in 2017 reached VND876.7 trillion, up 23.1%. Contribution to the state budget hit VND954.1 trillion, up 10.8%.
Taiwan’s investment approvals exceed US$30 billion
As of August, Taiwanese enterprises had registered to invest US$30.9 billion in Vietnam, making Taiwan the fourth largest foreign investor in Vietnam, after South Korea, Japan and Singapore, said Liang Kuang Chung, head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in HCMC.
In terms of the number of projects, according to statistics from the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning, as of August, Taiwanese enterprises had injected capital into nearly 2,560 projects in Vietnam, after South Korea, with over 7,160 projects, and Japan, with nearly 3,900 projects.
Chung noted that nearly 60,000 Taiwanese people are doing business in Vietnam, creating 1.5 million jobs for local laborers and contributing significantly to the country’s socioeconomic development.
In mid-July, Felix H.L. Chiu, executive director of the Industry Marketing Department at the Taiwan External Trade Development Council, pointed out that Taiwanese firms continue to view Vietnam as the top destination when weighing investment plans in the Southeast Asian region, thanks to its robust economic growth and open-market policy, as evidenced by the signing of multiple bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements with other countries in recent years.
Additionally, Vietnam is an important member of the ASEAN Economic Community and is positioned in a crucial location, linking other countries in the region, as well as having a young workforce, which prompts foreign enterprises to inject more investments into the country.
Taiwanese firms, of which 98% are small- and medium-sized enterprises, tend to opt for small and medium-scaled projects in Vietnam, focusing on hi-tech, high added-value and environmentally friendly products, Chiu added.
Taiwan is also the sixth largest trade partner of Vietnam, with a trade value of US$9.2 billion. Meanwhile, Vietnam is Taiwan’s third-largest trade partner and second-largest export market in the ASEAN.
Currently, South Korea is the largest investor in Vietnam, with more than US$61 billion pledged so far, followed by Japan, with US$55.8 billion, and Singapore, with nearly US$45.9 billion, according to the Foreign Investment Agency.
E5 biofuel consumption on the rise in HCMC
Data from the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade shows that the city has seen fuel consumption total 130,100 cubic meters per month since the beginning of this year, with E5 biofuel amounting to 30,022 cubic meters per month, rising 3.6 times compared to that in the first days of the deployment period of using E5 biofuel across the city, and representing 23.08% of the total, Sai Gon Giai Phong news site reported.
After multiple upward price adjustments, E5 biofuel is now priced at VND20,906 per liter, while fossil fuel RON 95 gasoline sells for VND22,347 per liter. Although the price difference between E5 and RON 95 is not too wide, these figures indicate that biofuel is gradually gaining popularity among customers.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade earlier publicized statistics showing that domestic fuel consumption totaled 4.43 million cubic meters in the first half of 2018, of which E5 biofuel amounted to 1.78 million cubic meters, representing a staggering 40.2% of the total.
Regarding the materials used to create E5 biofuel, Tung Lam Company is Vietnam’s only company to supply pure ethanol (E100) to Vietnamese oil enterprises for mixing and producing E5 biofuel. Besides this, some enterprises have proactively imported pure ethanol to secure the nationwide fuel supply.
The Dung Quat bio ethanol plant, which has successfully resumed operations, is slated to become fully operational by mid-October. The facility is expected to run at a minimum capacity of 65%, turning out 2,000 cubic meters of ethanol, which will bolster the ethanol supply for E5 biofuel producers.
Tien Giang scraps paper project due to pollution concerns
Dong Thap to acquire bridge project for Cai Nho River
The Dong Thap government has established a working group to review a project to build a bridge across Cai Nho River in Cao Lanh District, aiming to acquire the project, said Tran Tri Quang, director of the Dong Thap Department of Transport.
The working group, led by the municipal Department of Finance, includes representatives of the relevant departments and agencies.
The project’s developer was Dong Thap Bridge and Road Toll Collection JSC, earlier known as Dong Thap Infrastructure BOT Co., Ltd, and its capital contributors were Chu Se Rubber Co., Ltd (61.35%), Gao Giong Tourism Service Co., Ltd (17.18%), Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG) (15.34%) and Rubber Real Estate Construction JSC (6.13%).
The project, which was executed under the build-operate-transfer format at a total cost of VND35 billion (US$1.5 million), was started in 2005 and opened to traffic in December 2009.
Quang said the project investor would sell land along the bridge and collect toll fees from bridge users to recover the investment capital by August 2020. After recovering sufficient capital, the investor will continue toll collection until August 2025.
As directed by the Government, VRG and Chu Se Rubber Co., Ltd, divested from the project in August 2015. Accordingly, the two capital contributors sold their stakes in the project to four new investors for VND21.4 billion, VND2 billion higher than the reserve price and VND13.8 billion higher than their initial capital contributions.
HCMC collects VND1 trillion for State budget per day
The HCMC government had collected over VND269 trillion (US11.5 billion) for the State budget in the year to September, or an average of VND1 trillion (US$43,000) per day, said the municipal Party Chief Nguyen Thien Nhan.
Nhan said in his opening remarks at the 18th session of the Executive Board of the HCMC Party Committee today, October 15, that the city had maintained a high economic growth rate of 7.8% in the past nine months of the year.
Despite strong economic growth, he proposed the city government find ways to mobilize all of its resources until the end of this year to achieve the full-year growth target of 8.3%.
The city’s Party secretary commented that the city is facing difficulties related to investment capital and land for build-transfer projects this year.
The local government will issue a resolution on the Party unit’s economic activities, Nhan said, noting the Office of the HCMC Party Committee has long been involved in economic activities such as offering its properties for rent to generate revenue. However, these activities will be discontinued.
“All (of these business activities) must be transferred to the companies of the municipal Party Committee. The Office is responsible for devising inspection statutes and performing inspections… We (the Party unit) should not invest in the banking sector due to high risks,” Nhan said.
During the two days of the session, authorities will discuss the principles and planning orientations of a creative urban area on the eastern side of the city, comprising districts 2, 9 and Thu Duc.
The area will become an ecosystem that aims to encourage innovation and creativity. District 2 serves as a financial hub for the Thu Thiem New Urban Area, while District 9 develops science and technology applications at its hi-tech park. Thu Duc District is home to many high-quality universities, including Vietnam National University HCMC.
According to Nhan, the city government plans to organize a conference later this month to seek inputs for the urban area. The project can be executed in 2020.
Viettel Telecom introduces interactive TV service
Viettel Telecom, a subsidiary of military-run telecom giant Viettel Group, on Sunday launched an interactive television service called Internet Viettel TV.
With its time rewind feature, the new service allows TV users to replay entire programs on various channels within two hours of their broadcast.
Customers who need to travel during the week will not miss their favorite shows as Viettel TV stores the programs for up to seven days.
Users can also take advantage of the Personal Video Recorder feature to record their favorite programs on their TV’s set-top box.
The service can display six channels on a single screen, allowing users to browse and choose a show to watch.
The Parental Controls feature enables parents to control and monitor the content of shows their children are watching on Viettel TV or to choose channels for their elderly relatives who do not know how to use the TV.
In addition, the Viettel TV app allows users to watch TV programs on their smartphones.
Viettel TV has more than 160 channels, including 60 high-definition channels from VTVCab and K+. Besides this, the service offers exclusive video-on-demand packages, including programs from Keeng Movies and Keeng Music services, and a wide variety of medical and educational content.
AIA: Vietnam facing critical illness “financing gap”
The AIA Group has found that people in Vietnam face a considerable “financing gap”, where savings, current levels of insurance, and government health provisions may not be enough to pay for the treatment for critical illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other serious conditions.
The findings are part of the latest AIA Healthy Living Index Survey, the fourth since 2011, which highlights prevailing health trends, motivations and concerns of individuals and communities across Asia-Pacific.
In Vietnam, 57 per cent of people are concerned about the potential costs of critical illness. When asked to estimate the cost of treatment for cancer they expect they would have to bear, over half (58 per cent) estimate an amount that would have serious financial implications for them.
The concern is justified when the expected financing gap is taken into account. For cancer treatment, respondents expect an average shortfall of 41 per cent of the costs they would have to bear. Across all respondents in Vietnam, the financing gap for heart disease is 27 per cent and for diabetes 18 per cent of direct costs.
Overall, people’s satisfaction with their health and habits in Vietnam has increased slightly since the previous AIA Healthy Living Index in 2016. Some 93 per cent of respondents are satisfied with their health, up from 90 per cent in 2016.
Some 65 per cent of people in Vietnam rate themselves positively on the amount of exercise they are getting; down 15 percentage points from 2016. Only 50 per cent are satisfied with their frequency of taking holidays; down 16 percentage points from 2016.
The results are likely to reflect changing expectations about ideal healthy lifestyles and behavior as much as changing habits. Despite a rise in satisfaction levels, people are less likely to behave more healthily. On average, respondents in Vietnam claim to do 2.7 hours of exercise each week; a decrease from the 2.8 hours claimed in 2016.
Healthy habits can be hard to sustain. Some 68 per cent of those who have ever tried a diet program continue to use one now, while 63 per cent of those who have ever tried to reduce their salt intake continue to do so.
Meanwhile, technology is proving a positive force for change. Most people (77 per cent of all respondents in Vietnam) consider health and activity tracking technology to be easy to use and 75 per cent think these devices motivate positive changes in behavior. That said, almost one in three (29 per cent) who have tried such trackers have stopped using them.
“Among all Asia-Pan Pacific markets who participated in this survey, Vietnam ranks number two in overall health satisfaction, up 3 per cent compared to the findings in 2016,” said Mr. Wayne Besant, CEO of AIA Vietnam. “This is a very positive sign and very encouraging, as it shows that efforts put in to maintain healthy living habits have started to show effects.”
Haravan launches business support solution on Zalo
The Haravan Technology JSC last week officially announced the launch of a comprehensive business support solution on the Zalo platform.
E-commerce and mobile commerce are now seen as a popular and growing trend in the world. In that context, more and more Vietnamese businesses are taking opportunities to expand other potential sales channels apart from traditional methods.
By 2020, the value of Vietnam’s e-commerce market will reach $2.5 billion, more than double the figure in 2017, according to global market researcher Euromonitor. Meanwhile, the domestic e-commerce market may reach $10 billion by 2020, according to the Vietnam E-commerce Association (Vecom).
Haravan is among the leading technology companies providing e-commerce solutions for businesses in Vietnam, including leading local brands such as Vinamilk, Bitis, Thien Long, Juno, and more than 20,000 other businesses. Moreover, Zalo is the No.1 online communications platform in Vietnam with more than 100 million accounts; representing huge potential for businesses.
Its comprehensive solution helps businesses easily synchronize products from Haravan for doing business on Zalo. Orders generated from Zalo will be easily managed by the Haravan system (via API). Not only for sales management, dealers can also interactively manage and communicate directly with customers on Zalo through the Haravan platform and store customer information or categorize customers conveniently as a miniature CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform. From that, merchants can maximize sales efficiency on Zalo, provide the best in customer care, and resell to existing customers without advertising costs, as previously.
There is also special support for businesses, such as updating order status via Zalo message and sending product introduction or promotional messages. Haravan also help businesses flexibly communicate with customers via free Zalo messages, which can save sales and marketing costs. In particular, the tool can set up scenarios to send information to customers automatically on special days like birthdays.
Specifically, Haravan has developed a technology solution to assist salespeople or businesses maximize sales efficiency on Zalo, simplifying the order management process, storing customer information arising from both channels.
In the first phase of the solution launch (from October to December), Haravan will focus on providing solutions and support to the top 1,000 retailers and major brands in Vietnam on the Zalo platform, in order to bring the greatest business efficiency for enterprises during the upcoming peak shopping season.
Haravan is the only unit that provides a technology platform on Zalo. “With the value that Haravan has brought to more than 20,000 businesses and brand names in Vietnam over the past few years, it is certain that this solution will also bring positive effects to businesses that are entering the local e-commerce market,” said Mr. Nguyen Cong Chinh, Zalo’s Director of Business.
“Businesses and brands that use the solution will be pledged support by Zalo and Haravan in achieving business efficiency, not only in terms of technology support but also in sharing experiences from successful project implementation, creating a premise for enterprises’ strong development with e-commerce in the next two years,” said Mr. Huynh Lam Ho, Managing Director of Haravan.
Ha Long aims to turn into international tourism hub
The Prime Minister has approved a master plan for Ha Long city of the northern coastal province of Quang Ninh to 2040 with a vision towards 2050, aiming to develop the city into a world-class tourism and service hub.
The master plan targets to raise status for Ha Long city in particular and Quang Ninh province in general in the region and the world by developing the locality in a sustainable manner, meeting green growth and climate change adaptation related-requirements.
Under the master plan, Ha Long will be converted into a civilised and friendly sea tourism city with synchronous and modern socio-economic infrastructure systems, where the World Natural Heritage Site Ha Long Bay is preserved.
The city, which has an administrative boundary of 27,753 hectares, is expected to become a national service-tourism urban area and a driving force for regional growth.
Ha Long Bay literally “descending dragon bay” is a must-see destination in Quang Ninh. It was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 and 2000.
The bay spans 1,553 square kilometres and includes 1,969 islands of various sizes. It features thousands of limestone karsts and islets in various shapes and sizes. The limestone in the bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments. The geo-diversity of the environment has created biodiversity, including a tropical evergreen biosystem, oceanic and sea biosystem. Ha Long Bay is home to 14 endemic floral species and 60 endemic faunal species.
Endowed with natural advantages for sea and island tourism, the northeastern province of Quang Ninh is working to promote its tourism brand abroad and become an international tourism hub by 2030.
Under the Overall Plan for Tourism Development, the province prioritises developing two projects, namely Van Don International Airport and a resort complex with a casino.
Along with expanding the sea and island eco-tourism area of Van Don, Co To and Mong Cai, Quang Ninh province is branching out tourism products like Yen Duc countryside tourism, Binh Lieu eco-tourism, discovering Ha Long Bay by kayaks and seaplanes and Ha Long Park.
Also, tourism promotion campaigns in key markets like China, Japan, Singapore and the United Kingdom have been paid due attention, coupled with human resources training in line with the standards set by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Local tourism has created a lasting impression on both domestic and foreign investors. They said they were impressed by the excellent products, vibrant cultural activities and hospitable and professional tour guides.
The “transition to a green economy” project piloted in Ha Long will be a key pillar of the green growth process in the whole province in the future.
A project to promote green growth in Ha Long Bay has been implementing in Quang Ninh from November 2015 to December 2019, under the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Quang Ninh has a coastline of more than 250 kilometres and some 2,000 islets, two-thirds of the total in Vietnam.
The spectacular stretch of coast connects the UNESCO-recognised World Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay with majestic natural scenery, Bai Tu Long Bay, Van Don and Co To islands and Tra Co beach with Cat Ba National Park in the northern port city of Hai Phong.
As an important centre of the northern key economic region with its unique and rich geographical, environmental and resource features, the province boasts natural strengths for sustainable socio-economic development.
In 2015, with the support from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the local authorities adjusted its green growth action plan, setting concrete objectives, which are expected to be realised by 2020.
The number of tourists visiting Quang Ninh in the first nine months of this year is estimated to top 10 million, an increase of 25 percent over the same period last year. Of this, foreign tourists account for over 3.6 million, rising 19 percent.
It expects to welcome a total of 12 million visitors, including five million foreigners, this year on the back of its hosting of the National Tourism Year 2018 themed “Ha Long-Heritage, Wonder, Friendly Destination”, with more than 50 cultural, sport and tourist events held throughout the province.
Last year, some 9.87 million tourists visited the province, including 4.28 million foreigners. More than 70 percent of the tourists took in sea and island tours. The province raked in nearly 18 trillion VND (792 million USD) from tourism.