Experts want to reduce number of export inspections
Experts have suggested changing the number of and the time spent for inspections of export activities, including customs clearance, to help reduce costs for enterprises.
Speaking at a seminar held in Ho Chi Minh on December 20, Tran Ngoc Liem, deputy director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) HCM City, said that overlapping inspection procedures were causing problems for enterprises.
The General Department of Vietnam Customs said that procedures accounted for up to 50 percent of customs clearance time.
Many shipments have been inspected, but still have not been cleared, it said. Even after three months, State agencies are still conducting inspection checks.
Phan Duc Hieu, deputy head of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), said the proportion of imports and exports subject to specialised inspections at customs clearance was up to 30-35 percent and would be reduced to 15 percent under a Government resolution.
The current rate of imported and exported goods subject to veterinary inspections is 14.3 percent; quality control, 25.3 percent; food safety inspection, 19.1 percent; and export licences, 41.2 percent.
As many as 100,000 export items are currently subject to specialised inspections, he said.
Resolution 19 of the Government identified the need for reform of sectoral management and control, and assigned a number of missions to several ministries.
So far, 60 documents have been reviewed, and 56 of them have been amended and supplemented, with four not amended or supplemented.
“As for the number of goods subject to specialised inspections, up to 58 percent go through two to three test procedures, increasing costs for businesses,” Hieu said.
Every year, enterprises have to pay 14.3 trillion VND for specialised inspections, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
Most businesses said that many ministries have a monopoly in carrying out conformity assessment inspections.
The inspections are still done manually and communication among information technology agencies is limited, without risk management procedures.
Even though the number of inspections is high, the detection rate is only 0.1 percent.
The seminar was organised by VCCI in HCM City in collaboration with CIEM.
The seminar listened to opinions on the problems of exporters and reviewed specialised inspection procedures of export and import activities.
Japan helps Vietnam advance food processing industry
Vietnamese and Japanese experts gathered at a seminar held in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on December 20, discussing measures to develop the food processing industry in Vietnam.
According to a representative from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Vietnamese agriculture, particularly the agro-forestry-fishery sector, has grown well in recent years. However, incomplete infrastructure for the production of high-quality products and poor marketing strategies, together with unstandardised human resources on export procedures, hygiene and techniques have resulted in a weak food processing industry.
In fact, most Vietnamese agricultural shipments are raw products with low-added value, he said.
Tools and mechanisms should be put in place to prevent trade counterfeit from the farming stage, he said, with human resources training needed so workers can master modern production.
Meanwhile, authorities must promote communication work to raise public awareness of the safe use of pesticides, as though many Vietnamese farmers have agreed to stop using chemicals, Japanese importers still found pesticide residue higher than permitted levels.
On processing and transporting, he suggested completing transport infrastructure and building ice storage systems to prevent post-harvest losses. Meanwhile, independent authorities should inspect the quality of the complete food.
Deputy Head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Department of Asia-Africa Markets Do Quoc Hung said the state needs to complete legal frameworks in agricultural industry and complete an online database on market information and food safety and hygiene standards.
He also stressed the importance of human resources training via the state’s assistance programmes.
Forming a production value chain is important for Vietnamese firms if they want to partner with Japanese partners with stringent standards for imports, said Katsuki Kishi, General Director of the Aeon Topvalu Co., Ltd.
He said that developing strong brands with certificates from prestigious food verification agencies and green cultivating models are key as well.
At the event, the Japan Food Safety Certification was introduced to the participants by the Japan Food Safety Management Association.
Yarns, fabrics to be imported duty free from India from 2019
Most types of yarn and woven and knitted fabrics originating from India will be exempt from customs duties in Vietnam from January 1, 2019, under the ASEAN – India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIDA).
India is among the world’s major exporters of high-quality textile raw materials and machinery at competitive prices, said President of the Ho Chi Minh City Association of Garment, Textile, Embroidery and Knitting Nguyen Xuan Hong.
Many Vietnamese textile and garment firms are exploring the gigantic market of 1.3 billion people in India by investing in manufacturing yarn, fabrics, ready-made garments and more, he noted.
Meanwhile, Vietnam has become an appealing destination for Indian investors largely due to competitive labour costs and preferential policies for the textile and garment industry. Vietnam has helped Indian textile and garment manufacturers up production sites in the country to take full advantage of trade deals Vietnam has signed.
Vietnam Customs statistics show that in the first eight months of 2018, garment and textile trade between Vietnam and India reached 799 million USD, up 35 percent from the same period last year.
Vietnam’s imports of Indian cotton were valued at 343.8 million USD, up 46 percent against the previous year, while the country’s exports of garment and textile products hit 203 million USD, up 20 percent.
The two countries’ bilateral trade in textiles has registered impressive growth during the last two years, according to the Indian Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City.
Vietnam – India trade hit 7.62 billion USD last year and is expected to reach nearly 10 billion USD by the end of this year, up 47 percent year on year.
Recruitment platform GetLinks sees great potential in Vietnam
Thailand-based tech recruitment platform GetLinks saw Vietnam as a major market that will require a great deal of high-tech talent to facilitate its turn to Industry 4.0.
According to Djoann Fal, co-founder and CEO of GetLinks, Vietnam, an active country working on modernisation and Industry 4.0, is in huge need of high-tech labour force – which the company can provide.
Djoann added that Vietnam has a strong community of enterprises and startups and is also home for many multinational groups which are always in need of high-tech labour force.
“We will bring our wealth of experience and knowledge on providing qualified high-tech labour force to both domestic enterprises and international companies in Vietnam,” he said.
Apart from providing high-tech labour force, GetLinks will also connect Vietnam based and foreign universities to ensure a supply of graduate students and will also organise training courses for students before introducing them to recruiters.
GetLinks, the platform and ecosystem that connects tech talents with opportunities across Asia, has had a massive year in 2018 when it successfully secured investment from Australia’s SEEK Group and Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneur Fund.
The Thailand-based tech recruitment service currently has more than 500,000 profiles of developers, designers, and digital marketers on its platform and caters to over 3,000 companies operating in six major tech hubs in Asia, including Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, India, and South Korea.
Founded in 2015, GetLinks was developed with a vision to redefine the future of work, by creating an adaptive work community.
It has been focusing on creating an online adaptive talent platform that upskills employees while providing them opportunities with leading tech companies across Asia.
During its three years of operation, GetLinks has established a community of talents across the tech world, ranging from developers, designers, and digital marketers to operation managers and sales leaders.
Its priority at the moment is scaling up in existing markets by acquiring candidates through a series of networking activities, including organising events, producing content, as well as supporting digital transformation and talent mobility. “Ultimately, we want to build an adaptive talent workforce, and encourage the world’s best to help build a Silicon Valley in Asia,” continued Djoann.
To date, GetLinks has been involved in over 130 events, reaching out to over 200,000 attendees region-wide, including Saigon Tech Startup Fest held at the Independence Palace in March 2016, endorsed by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Vietnam.
Some of the companies who have used GetLinks’ services include giant tech brands such as Alibaba Group, Traveloka, Baidu, Grab, Google, Line, Agoda, SingTel, Accenture, and Garena.
Vietnam to be among top remittance receivers in 2018
At the press conference
Vietnam is set to be one of the top remittance receivers in the world in 2018 with an estimated sum of 15.9 billion USD, deputy head of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs Luong Thanh Nghi said at a press conference in Hanoi on December 20.
He cited statistics from the World Bank indicating that remittances to Vietnam reached 11.8 billion USD in 2016 and 13.8 billion USD in 2017.
At the press conference, Nghi also revealed a series of big events scheduled for Vietnamese expatriates visiting their homeland later this month and in January.
A conference on connections between overseas Vietnamese and localities in Vietnam will take place in the central provinces of Nghe An and Ha Tinh from December 26 to 29.
On January 26, 2019, the “Xuan Que Huong” (Spring in Homeland) 2019 programme will be held in Hanoi, providing a platform for Vietnamese expats to share their aspirations and honour those who have contributed to the homeland’s development.
There are approximately 4.5 million Vietnamese living and working in 103 countries and territories worldwide. They form an indispensable part of the nation and play an important role in intensifying friendship between Vietnam and the rest of the world.
500 startups brings Silicon Valley accelerator to Vietnam
500 Startups Vietnam today announced that it will bring 500 Startups’ Silicon Valley accelerator curriculum to Vietnam in 2019 in partnership with Korean multimedia retailer GS Shop.
Saola Accelerator, named after the rare Vietnamese deer also known as the “Asian unicorn,” aims to support three batches of Vietnam-connected startups with $100,000 investment as well as programmatic support. In addition, each participating company will receive access to more than $500,000 worth of free perks and discounts from twenty 500 Startups partners, including Amazon Web Services, Google, and Microsoft.
In addition to capital, Saola Accelerator will offer enhanced programming, including 500’s signature Growth Hell Week plus hands-on support for growth. The programme will conclude with a Demo Day, where the companies will share about their products and progress to an invite-only audience of regional venture investors.
Saola Accelerator will be operated in partnership with GS Shop, Korea’s foremost multimedia retailer with an internationally active corporate venture capital team. GS Shop and 500 Startups have had a close relationship for years, with investments and collaborations spanning from Korea to the US and the Middle East. GS Shop plans to match 500 Startups Vietnam’s investment in select batch companies, bringing the potential investment per company to up to $200,000. GS Shop also plans to send two representatives to attend the programme.
500 startups brings silicon valley accelerator to vietnam
500 Startups Mexico City Seed Programme
“We believe Vietnam’s existing incubators and accelerators have played an important role in nurturing startups in their earliest stages. Our programme is aimed at companies ready to break out and become Asian unicorns – saolas,” Eddie Thai, a leading partner of 500 Startups Vietnam, explained.
GS Home Shopping (GS Shop, KOSDAQ:028150) is Korea’s foremost multimedia retailer as well as a global leader in TV home shopping. “Powered by data and human insights, GS Shop inspires you to design every moment of life” has been the corporate vision that GS Shop strives to fulfil by working tirelessly to deliver the highest value to customers and to create a new quality of life. This vision is the guiding light that has fuelled the company’s growth to the very apex of Korea’s multimedia retail industry.
TPBank wins fastest-growing SME bank award
The Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) has won the 2018 fastest-growing small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) bank award from the Global Banking and Finance Review.
The magazine announced the award on its website www.globalbankingandfinance.com on December 18, saying that TPBank was selected based on the criteria for the growing number of SMEs as clients, the number of financial products and services for them and revenue growth from the segment.
The number of SME clients of TPBank has reached 32,400, up nearly 50 percent from early this year. Revenue from them nearly doubled compared to 2017.
The bank has also offered financial consultations, held training courses on corporate governance and supported e-commerce platforms and payments.
This year, it stepped up trade financing before and after goods delivery, L/C opening and payment for imported goods and money transfer service, increasing its clients by 60 percent and revenue by 80 percent from the previous year.
The bank has been trusted by reliable partners in supplying financial services to SMEs, especially the International Finance Corporation. Thanks to its support, TPBank’s financial activities have thrived.
TPBank General Director Nguyen Hung said in the near future, the bank will apply digital technology to build and improve products for SMEs.
In late November, TPBank was honoured with the Labour Order, third class, by the Party and State.
From July-October, the US rating agency Moody’s upgraded TPBank’s trust level to B1 twice, laying a foundation for the bank to grow strongly in the future.
Vietnam’s growth estimated at 6.9-7% in 2018: NFSC
The Vietnamese economy is estimated to expand by 6.9-7% in 2018, driven by manufacturing and services, according to the National Financial Supervisory Commission (NFSC).
The regulator said such a growth rate will be the highest in ten years, citing a report on the overview of Vietnam’s financial market.
In 2018, despite slowing global trade due to geopolitical tensions and the US-China trade war, the Vietnamese economy continued to record a variety of notable achievements.
The NFSC added that Vietnam’s macroeconomic foundations were maintained, with inflation contained at 3.6% and core inflation remaining stable below 1.5%, while major balances of the economy were guaranteed.
2018 also saw a greater role of the capital market, and a decreasing reliance on the banking sector, in supplying capital for the economy.
The ratio of banks’ capital supply fell but it was more effective and of better quality.
In the meantime, the stock market grew strongly, with market capitalisation now equivalent to 75% of GDP, exceeding the target set for 2020.
The report by the NFSC also forecasts that Vietnam’s economy could expand 7% in 2019, but the country needs bolder institutional reforms to improve the business climate and increase private investment.
Inflation is projected at 4% so long as price adjustments to various public services are strictly controlled.
However, the Vietnamese economy will be affected by unpredictable global uncertainties, notably the US-China trade conflict, which is expected to endure for a long time and affect global economic growth and trade.
Therefore, the report noted that financial stability should continue to be among the top priorities in 2019.
Vietnam becomes South Korea’s fourth largest trading partner in Jan-Nov
South Korea is Vietnam’s second largest foreign investor with total registered capital of US$6.8 billion in the first 11 months this year, up 22.3% year-on-year.
South Korea’s MBI Group heats up competition in Vietnam electric scooter market
Bilateral trade between Vietnam and South Korea reached US$62.6 billion in the first 11 months of 2018, making Vietnam the fourth largest trading partner of the Northeast Asian country, behind China, the US and Japan, the government portal reported.
South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on December 19 announced that the country’s import turnover from Vietnam in the January – November climbed 22% year-on-year to US$18.1 billion, mainly thanks to strong demand of electronic components from South Korea’s manufacturers in Vietnam.
During the period, Vietnam imported goods worth US$44.5 billion from South Korea, up 1.9% year-on-year.
Vietnam was South Korea’s eighth largest trading partner in 2014, and later becomes fourth since the free trade agreement between Vietnam and South Korea (VKFTA) came into effect on December 20, 2015.
South Korea is Vietnam’s second largest foreign investor with total registered capital of US$6.8 billion in the first 11 months, up 22.3% year-on-year.
Vietnam’s Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh on December 6 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with South Korea’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Sung Yunmo for an action plan to bring bilateral trade to US$100 billion by 2020 towards a better balance
The legal document is part of broad agreements between leaders of the two countries at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Da Nang in November 2017.
Under the MoU, from now on until 2020, South Korea would support Vietnamese enterprises to enhance competitiveness in fields of accessories and parts, automobile, textile, footwear and electronics, while facilitating agricultural trade between the two sides.
Jetstar Pacific enjoys 14.3 percent rise in passengers this year
Budget airline Jetstar Pacific is estimated to have served 6.2 million passengers and earned about 9.1 trillion VND (391.3 million USD) in revenue this year, year-on-year increases of 14.3 percent and 27.6 percent, respectively.
Its profit exceeded the yearly target to reach 161 billion VND (7 million USD).
The airline operated more than 40,000 flights in 2018, up 10.8 percent from last year, with passenger load factor gaining 2 percent.
In the third quarter of 2018, the high travel season, Jetstar Pacific saw significant growth in the number of domestic and foreign flyers, expanding 31.7 percent and 18.5 percent, respectively.
In the low season during the final quarter, Jetstar has focused on aircraft maintenance to improve service quality and flight safety and prepare for the Tet holiday, the traditional Vietnamese New Year, when traveller numbers are expected to increase 12 percent year on year.
According to a study by House of Brand, a global research agency, most passengers flying with Jetstar Pacific said the airline’s services were better than what they imagined, while monthly surveys showed that some 99 percent of Jetstar Pacific passengers were satisfied with the carrier’s service quality and ready to fly with it again.
Jetstar Pacific, whose two major shareholders are Vietnam Airlines and Australia-based Qantas Group, was Vietnam’s first first budget airline when it was established under the name Pacific Airlines in 1990. It operates about 750 flights each week that connect 16 destinations in Vietnam and 180 others in 18 countries and territories around the world.
It was awarded the highest seven-star safety ranking from the world’s safety and product rating agency AirlineRatings.com in October, alongside national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines.
Earlier this week, the airline announced it will add more than 80,000 seats on domestic flights to meet peak travel demand during the Tet holiday.
Revised planning for Chu Lai open economic zone approved
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved the revised master plan for the development of Chu Lai Open Economic Zone in the central province of Quang Nam to 2035 with a vision to 2050.
Under the planning, the zone will become a multisectoral maritime economic zone, a hub for the central key economic region.
It will become an urban area and a centre for automobile industry and support industries for automobile and aviation sectors, gas-power and petrochemical industries as well as high-tech industries.
The garment-textile industry and related support industries will also be developed in the zone.
In addition, the zone will be a hub for organic and high-tech agriculture as well as a tourism-service centre with close connections with Chu Lai airport and the Chu Lai-Ky Ha port system.
The zone is expected to become an international transit hub, serving international trade and exchange activities of the central and Central Highlands regions, and as a gateway to the East Sea of the Central Highlands of Vietnam, the south of Laos and the northeastern regions of Cambodia and Thailand.
By 2025, the zone’s area for industry is set to hit 3,000 hectares, along with 5,000 hectares for urban, tourism and service areas. The areas will be expanded to about 5,010 hectares and about 7,000 hectares, respectively, in 2035.
Chu Lai open economic zone is designed to become a logistics service hub of the region with close connectivity with Chu Lai-Ky Ha port system, making it attractive to investors.
The zone will prioritise the development of environmental-friendly industries.
The administrative centre of the zone will be connected to the administrative centre of Tam Ky district.
Japanese firms consider Vietnam key investment destination
About 70 percent of Japanese investors in Vietnam want to continue investing or expand their investments, meaning Vietnam is an important destination for them, according to a representative of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO).
JETRO Chief Representative in Ho Chi Minh City Takimoto Koji shared the figure in an interview with Cong Thuong (Industry and Trade) newspaper.
In 2017, Japan was the biggest foreign direct investor of Vietnam, posting a record figure of 9.11 billion USD. In the first 11 months of 2018, the country kept its top spot with nearly 8 billion USD, more than a quarter of the total foreign capital poured into Vietnam during the period.
According to Takimoto, 65.1 percent of the Japanese businesses in Vietnam are profitable.
He said Japanese goods have an increasing presence in the Vietnamese market, with Japanese firms’ foreign expansion receiving strong support from their government and organisations like JETRO. When these companies study the Vietnamese market, they aim to introduce high quality products and seek business partners and sale agencies. They also look for Vietnamese goods that suit Japanese consumers’ taste.
The JETRO Chief Representative said Japanese investors value Vietnam for its clear policies, stable legal affairs and its increasingly large workforce of trained youths. Despite such advantages, local labours’ average wage is ranked sixth in Southeast Asia.
He quoted Japanese investors as saying they have been assisted by local authorities in administrative procedures, including those for taxation and customs clearance. Complete infrastructure and waste treatment and power systems in Vietnam’s industrial parks have helped them make quick investment decisions.
Lauding the economic growth potential of Vietnam, Takimoto affirmed that Japan wants to enhance investment and business cooperation with the host country.
He said that Japanese firms intend to form win-win partnerships with Vietnamese peers, expecting to find capable local companies to become their long-term partners and join their global production-manufacturing supply chains.
Room for exports to China remains extensive
Exports to China have surged in recent years, with the trend forecast to continue, so Vietnamese enterprises have been urged to keep tabs on the huge market.
According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, in 2017, trade between Vietnam and China reached 94.3 billion USD, with Vietnam’s exports hitting 35.4 billion USD.
In the first 11 months of 2018, Vietnamese shipments to China were valued at 37.6 billion USD, up 22 percent year on year, an equivalent to 16.8 percent of the country’s total export value. Exported goods that reeled in more than 1 billion USD in the period included phone-components (8.4 billion USD), electronic devices and components (7.6 billion USD), fruit-vegetables (2.5 billion USD), garment-textile (1.38 billion USD) and rubber (1.2 billion USD).
Speaking at a recent forum on exports to ASEAN and China held by the Investment & Trade Promotion Centre of Ho Chi Minh City, Chinese Consul General to Ho Chi Minh City Wu Jun said Vietnam is among China’s biggest trade partners in ASEAN.
He said to serve demand of its 1.3 billion population, China will sustain its policy of economic openness, win-win benefits, trade liberalisation and investment facilitation.
According to the diplomat, contracts worth 57.8 billion USD were secured at the first China International Import Expo last November. It is expected the country’s imports of goods and services will surpass 30 trillion USD and 10 trillion USD in the next 15 years, respectively.
He said Vietnam – China trade could grow yet further.
However, Vietnamese firms have been warned to stay alert when carrying out import-export activities with the market.
The Vietnamese trade office in China said the country has raised its quarantine standards and conditions for imported agricultural products, and is building examination facilities on par with those of the US, Japan and EU nations. As such, Vietnamese exporters should be aware of China’s regulations on product origin and quality.
Meanwhile, several Vietnamese export products to China are facing fierce competition from Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and even China. For example, Chinese businesses are planning to invest in tra fish production, meaning China might reduce imports and Vietnamese exporters should come up with back-up plans. China, surpassing the US, is now the biggest importer of Vietnamese tra fish.
According to insiders, the context presents both opportunities and challenges, requiring Vietnamese enterprises to intensify efforts in market study, brand building and intellectual property protection when doing business with Chinese partners.-
Experts seek solutions to strengthen connectivity in Mekong Delta
Measures to enhance regional connectivity in the Mekong Delta, which is important to Vietnam’s economy but also a region highly susceptible to effects of climate change, were discussed at a workshop in Hanoi on December 19.
The Mekong Delta is the southernmost region with 12 provinces and one centrally-run city. It accounts for 12 percent of the surface area and over 19 percent of the population of Vietnam.
With over 700km of coastline and a dense river and canal network, the delta is strongly influenced by tidal waves and the Mekong River.
Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Van Hieu said that effective regional connectivity and coordination are crucial to the harmonious and sustainable development of the region. They will help deal with conflicts during the development process and ensure the harmony of both short- and long-term interests, he said.
Tran Duy Dong, Director of the Department for Local and Regional Economy under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said the Mekong Delta holds a particularly important role in the management and use of water resources, economic development, the settlement of social issues, and in coping with major challenges like climate change.
Its regional connectivity has received much attention due to the sensitivity of local natural and social systems to environmental changes and the accumulative impacts of economic activities in the region.
Dong added that the localities have also expressed their wishes of boosting connectivity. As such, the Mekong Delta became the first and only of the six socio-economic regions in Vietnam to pilot regional socio-economic development connectivity under the Prime Minister’s Decision No.593/QD-TTg, issued in April 2016.
Bui Quang Tuan, Director of the Vietnam Institute of Economics, said that connectivity effectiveness in the Mekong Delta remains modest. For the most part, localities have only just signed cooperation documents. They still lack coordination in investment promotion and agricultural production, while the region’s information database has yet to be arranged in a way that can serve connectivity.
According to Dong, to develop regional connectivity, the localities need to be aware that the purpose of this work is to optimise resources to serve development. They should devise a coordination mechanism to ensure a ‘common voice’ is fostered and associate each party’s interests with common interests. The localities also need to ensure financial resources for connection activities.
World Bank Country Director in Vietnam Ousmane Dione said the Mekong Delta is now at an important turning point of development, adding that strong coordination is critical to the region’s sustainable development.
Echoing the view, Acting Ambassador of Australia to Vietnam Justin Baguley said that developing the economy, adapting to climate change, and developing regional infrastructure in the Mekong Delta require a strong inter-regional coordination mechanism for all relevant provinces, ministries, and sectors.
Dutch expert Tanya Huizer suggested that a particular law should be built for the Mekong Delta, while Bui Quang Tuan called for a regional coordination council to be set up to enhance the combined strength of the whole region.
RoK-Vietnam bilateral trade up 7 percent in 11 months
Two-way trade between the Republic of Korea (RoK) and Vietnam increased 7 percent in the first 11 months of this year compared with a year ago, the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on December 19.
The bilateral trade volume reached 62.6 billion USD by the end of November, making Vietnam the RoK’s fourth-largest trade partner after China, the US and Japan.
The RoK’s exports to Vietnam rose 1.9 percent on-year to 44.5 billion USD in the period, while its imports soared 22 percent to 18.1 billion USD on strong demand for displays and electronics parts produced in Korean factories in Vietnam.
Vietnam was the RoK’s eight-largest trade partner in 2014, but has become the fourth-largest partner since the bilateral trade pact went into effect in 2015 December, the ministry noted.
Meanwhile, the RoK is now the biggest foreign investor in Vietnam, with its direct investment in the first nine months of this year coming at 2.81 billion USD, a 24.5-percent rise from a year earlier.
A growing number of Korean companies, including Samsung Electronics Co., have built factories in Vietnam to manufacture advanced technology items, including semiconductors, displays and cell phones.
Da Nang welcomes Qatar Airways’ first flight from Doha
The first scheduled flight of a new route by Qatar Airways landed at Da Nang International Airport on December 19, with 192 passengers on board.
Deputy Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Vo Cong Tri welcomed and presented flowers to the first foreign tourists on this new air route.
According to Vice Director of the municipal Department of Tourism Nguyen Xuan Binh, the direct Doha-Da Nang air route plays an important role in the city’s ambitious plan to welcome 15 million visitors by 2030.
The Vietnamese central city wants to work closely with Qatar Airways to enhance its connection with the world and bring more tourists from Western Europe and North America to the city, thus realising its tourism development plan, he said.
Bestowed with beautiful natural landscapes, the charming Da Nang city offers marvellous views of Da Nang Bay, gorgeous beaches, and the stunning Marble Mountains, making it an ideal destination for relaxing vacations. The city has seen a substantial increase in the number of visitors, with 6.6 million people in 2017, doubling the figure in 2013.
In 2015, Da Nang was listed among the top 52 places to visit by the New York Times.
Qatar Airways, the national carrier of Qatar, is celebrating more than 20 years of “Going Places Together” with travellers across its more than 150 business and leisure destinations. Qatar Airways was named “World’s Best Business Class” by the 2018 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named “Best Business Class Seat”, “Best Airline in the Middle East”, and “World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge”.
The central coastal city has become the third Vietnamese destination on the award-winning airline’s global network, following Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. As scheduled, the carrier offers four flights per week with a Boeing 787-8 aircraft, featuring 22 seats in business class and 232 seats in economy.
The flights take off at Doha on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays; and depart from Da Nang on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.
ACB to issue 94.4 million USD in unconvertible bonds
The Asian Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ACB) has announced a plan to issue 2.2 trillion VND (94.4 million USD) worth of non-convertible bonds by the end of 2018.
The 2,200 bonds would mark the bank’s second issuance round this year.
The bonds will mature in 10 years with face value of 1 billion VND per bond, the bank said in a statement, adding that bond yield will be paid every year from the issuance date.
The bank expects the upcoming bond issuance to help raise its chartered capital so it can meet demand for medium- and long-term loans.
The first bond issuance round took place on November 12 and ACB issued 2.2 trillion VND worth of non-convertible bonds, which will mature in three years with an annual yield rate of 6 percent.
ACB is listing more than 1.12 billion shares, 90 percent of its total outstanding shares, on the Hanoi Stock Exchange with code ACB.
Vinhomes IPO honoured by Asian finance media
The initial public offering of Vinhomes, the residential realty arm of property and retail giant Vingroup, in May 2018 has been honoured the best share issuance deal of the year in Asia and Vietnam by overseas media.
The 1.35 billion USD deal was recognised as the Frontier Markets Equity Issue 2018 by the International Financing Review Asia (IFR Asia), the Best IPO in Vietnam by The Asset, and the Best Vietnam Deal by the Finance Asia.
On May 18, Vinhomes JSC sold nearly 268 million shares via put-through transactions on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE).
The deal lured big attention from both domestic and foreign investors as the number of shares asked by potential investors was fourfold the amount of shares offered for sale by Vinhomes.
The value of the deal was 30.7 trillion VND (1.35 billion USD) and it was the biggest deal in the last two years, exceeding the IPO values of other firms such as VPBank, Techcombank, budget carrier Vietjet and Vincom Retail.
Since Vinhomes IPO, Vinhomes and Vingroup are the two largest companies by market capitalisation in Vietnam. The two firms are listing on HoSE with code VHM and VIC, respectively.
This is the second year in a row Vingroup has its member companies honoured on the global equity market since its listing on the HoSE on July 1, 2007.
In 2017, Vingroup’s retail arm Vincom Retail won the Best Private Equity Deal and Best Frontier Market Transaction awards from Finance Asia and IFR Asia.
In the first three quarters, Vingroup earned total 84 trillion VND in revenue and 3.3 trillion VND in post-tax profit, up 47.2 percent and 11.2 percent year on year.
In the same period, Vinhomes recorded 22.4 trillion VND in revenue and 12.2 trillion VND in post-tax profit, up 86 percent and nearly 400 percent, respectively.
Vingroup in 2018 issued 84 million preferred shares in a private placement deal to the Republic of Korea-based Hanwha Asset Management Corporation. The value of the deal was 9.3 trillion VND and the deal was considered by The Asset as the best M&A and share issuance deals in Vietnam.
Mekong Delta provinces, HCM City boost goods trading
The Mekong Delta provinces and Ho Chi Minh City signed an agreement on supply-demand connectivity and market stabilisation for 2019 during a conference in Long An province on December 19.
Accordingly, both sides will expand groups of goods with stable prices, assist firms in diversifying distribution networks and encourage them to join a programme to stimulate the consumption of Vietnamese goods.
Participants at the event suggested measures to stabilise the market in late 2018 and early 2019, including encouraging enterprises to join the market stabilisation programme, improve product quality and expand points-of-sale.
According to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, 80 percent of goods supplied to Ho Chi Minh City come from the Mekong Delta localities.
In the past 11 months, total revenues from retail and services in the Mekong Delta provinces and Can Tho citys surpassed 829 trillion VND (36 billion USD), up 12.28 percent, higher than the country’s average.
Can Tho to focus on trade, investment promotion next year
Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho Truong Quang Hoai Nam suggested enhancing meetings with foreign investors and importers in the locality during a conference on December 20 to discuss trade and investment promotion 2019.
Nam asked the municipal Trade, Investment Promotion and Exhibition Centre to work closely with departments and agencies to invite foreign firms to Can Tho to learn about business opportunities because local budget for foreign trips is limited.
Nguyen Khanh Tung, Director of the centre, said the budget for local investment promotion reached 3.5 billion VND (152,000 USD) this year, the lowest as compared to Dong Thap, Kien Giang and An Giang.
The city successfully held trade and investment promotion activities at home and abroad, notably the investment promotion conference held in August with 19 signed agreements worth nearly 85 trillion VND.
He said Can Tho will prepare feasible projects to welcome investment waves from Japan and Singapore, with priority given to the Vietnam – Japan friendship industrial zone, the concentrated information technology zone, and logistics centre.
It will also partner with Vietnamese Commercial Counsellors in Singapore, Malaysia, Russia and other countries to actively assist firms in expanding markets and bringing Vietnamese goods to foreign consumers.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Business Association of High-Quality Vietnamese Products, the city will make it easier for enterprises to popularise trademarks and strengthen distribution networks.
In 2019, it will promote the marketing of processed farm produce and fruits, including bringing mangos to New Zealand and thac lac (clown knife fish) abroad.
According to Nam, Can Tho will join the Fine Food Australia fair and Thaifex-World of Food Asia exhibition in Thailand next year.
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