Vietnam’s economy set to thrive with new dynamics
Vietnam reaped notable achievements in 2018, with economic growth hitting a record high of 7.08%, putting Vietnam on the list of Asia’s fastest-growing economies. New economic dynamics are expected to drive Vietnam forward in 2019 and help it achieve its 5-year plan targets by 2020.
Vietnam risks lagging behind in the next decade if it can’t maintain its annual growth of more than 7%.
In the government’s recent meeting, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Vietnam is determined to create more breakthroughs across all fields this year in order to fulfill the 5 year-plan and 10-year strategy. One of the government’s biggest challenges will be helping economic hubs like Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang revive their growth.
Associate Professor Dr. Nguyen Duy Khuong of Singapore’s Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy told VOV “It’s important for Vietnam to create a firmer foundation of international standards for further growth. And Vietnam’s political system, businesses, and people need to be aware of that. Breakthroughs are expected across all sectors to help us advance.”
Leaders at all levels are urged to change their mindsets and adapt to new contexts to help the government create a more favorable business and investment environment to boost production capacity and support start-ups while promoting the private sector as a growth driver.
Import-export turnover likely to hit US$500 billion in 2019
The total turnover of Vietnam’s import-exports is expected to reach US$500 billion this year, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
The department noted that 2018 saw a number of records broken for the nation’s import-export goods. Accordingly, the country’s total import-export value hit a record US$480.17 billion, over US$52 billion higher than recorded in 2017.
The Vietnamese economy’s openness index (total import-export value/GDP) was estimated at 196 per cent in 2018, whilst last year also marked the third consecutive year that the nation enjoyed a trade surplus.
The department said if imports and exports increased by 5 per cent, the country’s import-export turnover is likely to hit US$500 billion by the fourth quarter of 2019.
Hai Phong to build 5-6 industrial parks
The northern city of Ha Phong houses 13 industrial parks with 449 projects and intends to build additional five to six others in the coming years.
Head of the Hai Phong Economic Zone Management Board Pham Van Moi reported that the city will build five to six industrial parks in the coming time.
In the short term, investors are interested in Vinh Quang industrial park at Tien Lang district and DEEP C Complex at Dinh Vu-Cat Hai Economic Zone.
The two industrial parks are attractive thanks to local transport infrastructure advantages.
Vinh Quang industrial park locates close to Ha Noi-Hai Phong expressway and Hai Phong-Thai Binh coastal road. Meanwhile, DEEP C industrial park is positioned at Lach Huyen port which is capable of handling 8,000 TEU vessels to Europe and the U.S. without transit.
So far, the city has 13 industrial parks of which nine were built in Dinh Vu-Cat Hai Economic Zone. The rest included Nomura, Do Son, Nam Cau Kien, and An Duong.
The city attracted 449 domestic and foreign projects including 311 FDI projects worth US$ 13.5 billion and 138 domestic projects valuing VND 136 trillion.
In 2018, industrial parks attracted 65 newly-registered projects worth US$ 520 million. Meanwhile, 38 projects got additional capital of US$ 1.76 billion. Total amount of FDI attraction hit over US$ 2.28 billion, three times higher than 2017 and double the preset goal.
Experts attributed the successful capital attraction outcomes to convenient infrastructure especially seaport, airport, and expresses. In addition, the local authorities were drastically determined to transforming administrative procedures, site clearance, and creating the best conditions for investors.
The Hai Phong Economic Zone Management Board will continue to reform administrative procedures and cut time for investment license granting to 2-7 days.
Gold selling price rise varies from store to store
Customers purchase lucky gold products on Tran Nhan Tong Street, Ha Noi.
Gold selling prices witnessed an increase at some stores while in others unchanged on God of Wealth Day, the 10th day of the Lunar New Year, which fell on February 14 this year.
Legend has it that the God of Wealth returns to heaven on this day, so Vietnamese people have a tradition of buying gold for luck and prosperity throughout the year.
On Thursday, DOJI Gold & Gems Group JSC listed the gold buying and selling prices at VND36.60 and 37.50 million (US$1,575and 1,614) respectively per tael of SJC gold bar, down VND60,000 for buying and up VND100,000 for selling against the previous day. The gap between the buying and selling rate hit VND900,000.
Sai Gon Jewellery Joint Stock Company (SJC) quoted the buying and selling prices of its gold in Ha Noi at VND36.75 million and VND37.07 million per tael, respectively, an increase of VND30,000 in selling price and a decrease of VND30,000 per tael in buying price compared to price in Wednesday afternoon’s session.
At Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company (PNJ), the SJC gold price remained unchanged this morning compared to Wednesday’s closing price. The buying and selling prices were listed at VND36.85 and 37.05 million.
Phu Quy Gold Investment Company quoted SJC gold bars at VND36.7-37 million per tael, down VND130,000 for buying and VND30,000 for selling.
Meanwhile, Bao Tin Minh Chau Jewellery and Gemstone Company listed gold prices at VND36.55 and 37.30 million per tael for buying and selling, respectively, down VND50,000 per tael compared to the morning’s opening price.
Pham Hai Au, vice chairman of Phu Quy Gold Investment Company, said people used to buy 24-karat gold rings with very high levels of purity. However, customers’ tastes have changed, and they are now more likely to purchase lucky gold products in the shape of the 12 Zodiac animals to match their age, or the Zodiac animal representing the lunar year.
“This year, lucky gold products such as pig coins, pig statues and Wealth God statues are in high demand,” Au told Viet Nam News.
In addition, many customers chose to purchase gold products online instead of queuing up at gold shops for a long time.
PNJ also sold gold online with the price fixed at the time of order and delivery done on God of Wealth Day.
PM orders start of work on major projects in Thai Binh
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on February 14 attended a ceremony to begin the construction of a coastal road in the northern province of Thai Binh.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on February 14 attended a ceremony to begin the construction of a coastal road in the northern province of Thai Binh.
Addressing the event, the Government leader lauded local households for their land donation to the project and asked local authorities to help residents in the project area to get jobs.
He also urged relevant ministries and agencies to soon complete procedures to ensure capital for the project, towards forming a route linking Hanoi with Hai Phong, Quang Ninh and other localities in the region.
The project to build the 35.5km road has a total investment capital of over 3.87 trillion VND (166.41 million USD), with 1.1 trillion VND sourced from the State budget.
Capital mobilised from the local budget and other sources is 1.59 trillion VND, while investors contribute 1.28 trillion VND under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model.
The project is expected to serve key projects such as the Thai Binh economic zone, Ninh Binh-Hai Phong-Quang Ninh expressway, Diem Dien Port, Thai Binh Electricity Centre and industrial clusters in Thien Hai and Thai Thuy districts.
It also connects Nam Dinh and Thai Binh provinces with Cat Bi International Airport in the northern port city of Hai Phong, and seaports in Quang Ninh and Hai Phong.
The same day, PM Phuc attended in a ceremony to announce the zoning of an industrial area in service agriculture in the northern region.
Covering 194.36 hectares in An Thai, An Ninh and An Cau communes in Quynh Phu district, the project has a total funding of 7.8 trillion VND.
With a complete production chain, the project will provide farming machines, tools and materials, helping transform production structure, thus improving farmers’ income and raising quality farm produce.
In his remarks, the PM said the project is significant to Thai Binh and agricultural economy in the northern region, towards building an advanced agricultural sector.
Also on February 14, the Thai Binh thermo power plant was inaugurated in the presence of PM Phuc.
The leader also attended a ceremony to kick-start the construction of a 1,000-bed international general hospital in the locality, which is expected to be completed within five years.
While in Thai Binh, the leader paid tribute to President Ho Chi Minh at a temple in Hoang Dieu ward, and visited and presented gifts to social policy beneficiaries and revolutionaries in Thai Binh city and Vu Thu district.
Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific serve nearly 1.6 million passengers in Tet
A flight of Vietnam Airlines
The Vietnam Airlines served nearly 1.3 million passengers during the peak season of the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday from January 20 to February 11.
The national-flag carrier operated nearly 8,000 flights in the period under review, up nearly 4 percent year on year.
Meanwhile, the budget carrier Jetstar Pacific also operated nearly 2,000 flights, carrying nearly 300,000 passengers.
A representative from Vietnam Airlines said that the punctuation indication of the airline reached 90 percent averagely, with the highest of 98 percent. Particularly, one day before the first day of the first lunar month (February 2) and the sixth day of the month (February 10), which is the last day of the longest and most important annual festival in Vietnam, the number of flights operated by Vietnam Airlines each day exceeded 500.
Safety for all the flights were ensured.
Shrimp exports to RoK expected to rake in 500 million USD
Vietnam’s shrimp exports to the Republic of Korea are likely to rise 30 percent year on year to approximately 500 million USD in 2019, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) has predicted.
The forecast was attributed to stable demand, high export prices and tariff incentives introduced by the Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement, VASEP said.
According to the association, there were untapped opportunities for Vietnamese enterprises to accelerate their shrimp exports to the lucrative market.
In order to utilise these opportunities, experts have said Vietnamese shrimp exporters need to improve quality of their products and update procedures and requirements in the RoK to overcome technical barriers that hinder shipments.
Last year, Vietnam was the leading shrimp provider for the RoK, accounting for 58 percent of the country’s total shrimp imports, statistics from the International Trade Centre showed.
Vietnam far surpassed other competitors in the Korean market, including Thailand (11.2 percent), Ecuador (10.5 percent) and China (4.8 percent).
The Southeast Asian country exported 386 million USD worth of shrimp to the RoK in 2018, marking a modest increase of 1 percent over 2017, according to the data.
According to VASEP, the RoK was the fifth largest importer of Vietnamese shrimp 2018, making up 11 percent of the Vietnam’s total shrimp export value.
Ba Ria-Vung Tau licenses nine projects
Authorities of Ba Ria-Vung Tau province handed over nine investment licences to investors on February 14
The southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau on February 14 handed over nine investment licences worth over 9.9 trillion VND (425.7 million USD) and nearly 163 million USD to investors.
The most noteworthy projects licensed are the 115 million USD instant coffee production plant of Japan’s Marubeni Group; the 12.62 million USD liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant of PVGAZPROM Natural Gas for Vehicles, a joint Russian-Vietnamese company; and the 35 million USD cement additive production plant by CHC Vietnam.
Other projects include the Da Bac 4 solar power plant, worth 1.09 trillion VND (46.87 million USD) of Dong A Chau Duc JSC, and the 175 billion VND (7.5 million USD) speedboat project linking Vung Tau city with Con Dao island of PQ Express JSC.
The same day, the provincial People’s Committee supported plans to establish a high-tech industrial, urban, and service area with a total registered capital of 7.21 trillion VND (310.03 million USD). It also backed the expansion of the B1 Conac industrial park with an investment of over 1 trillion VND (43 million USD).
Nguyen Hong Linh, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee, said Ba Ria-Vung Tau will call for capable and experienced investors in major projects in 2019, focusing on the five pillars of industry, seaports, logistics for sea ports, tourism, and high-tech agriculture.
The province will continue to accompany businesses and investors, reform administrative procedures, improve the local investment environment, and increase dialogues with investors and enterprises, said Nguyen Van Trinh, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.
Statistics show that the province’s economy grew 7.2 percent in 2018, a record pace over the past eight years.
During 2018, the locality attracted 44 foreign and 59 domestic projects with a combined investment amounting to about 1.9 billion USD and 18.76 trillion VND (806.68 million USD) respectively, ranking second nationwide in new FDI project attraction.
The province has, to date, accommodated 351 valid FDI and 521 domestic projects, valued at 27.3 billion USD and 276 trillion VND (11.8 billion USD) respectively.
On the occasion, firms based in Ba Ria-Vung Tau contributed over 7 billion VND (301,000 USD) to local social welfare activities.
Conference discusses refining policies on FDI attraction
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue at the event (Source: chinhphu.vn)
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue chaired a consultation conference in the southern province of Binh Duong on February 14 to discuss orientations towards refining mechanisms and policies on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the new context.
The occasion was the final fact-finding trip, following those in Hai Phong, Bac Ninh, and Hanoi, in order to build a draft project on policymaking to improve the efficiency of using FDI until 2030, which will be submitted to the Politburo for consideration by this April.
Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Vu Dai Thang said that as of January 20, 2019, the country had recorded over 27,400 valid FDI projects with a total registered capital of nearly 343 billion USD.
A 2017 report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said Vietnam was one of the 12 most successful countries in terms of FDI attraction.
Permanent Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem affirmed that mergers and acquisitions, and FDI projects have effectively restructured sectors in the southern city over the past few years.
He suggested that foreign enterprises that deliver on commitments should enjoy incentives, while better financial policies should be issued to attract multinational corporations and research and development centres in the country.
International Finance Corporation (IFC) Country Director for Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia Kyle Kelhofer said FDI now mostly focuses on manufacturing, instead of fields of added value such as finance or research and development.
He proposed that Vietnam should issue mechanisms to woo new-generation FDIs with better work skills and governance, while effectively tapping the recent free trade agreements.
Former minister of the Small and Medium Business Administration of the Republic of Korea Young Sup-joo said Vietnamese firms should make partnerships with foreign enterprises in different sectors to expand regional and global markets.
Participants also called for renewing education-training to create a high-quality workforce, and choosing eco-friendly and socially responsible FDI.
Concluding the event, Deputy PM Hue affirmed that the Vietnamese Government has consistently refined mechanisms and policies to lure more FDI, adding that FDI is an active part of the Vietnamese economy and that Vietnam will cooperate with FDI firms.
Binh Phuoc: over 12 trillion VND invested in solar power
More than 12 trillion VND (514.72 million USD) has been invested in a solar power project in the southern province of Binh Phuoc, said Director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment Vo Sa.
The capital will be divided into three phases with a total designed capacity of up to 800MWp.
The first phase will be carried out with an investment of 4.92 trillion VND whilst the second and third phase with over 7 trillion VND.
Invested by Hung Hai Group, the project has received the Government’s permission to utilise 4,000ha in the province’s Loc Ninh district to develop solar power.
To prepare for the project, Hung Hai Group started the building of a 220kV transmission line to connect with the national grid upon the project’s completion. The 29km Loc Ninh – Binh Long 2 line runs through Loc Thanh, Loc Tan, Loc Thien, Loc Thanh, and Loc Thinh communes in Loc Ninh district, and Thanh Luong commune in Binh Long town.
According to experts, the province holds huge advantage to develop solar power, with an average of 2,700 sunshine hours per year.
Binh Phuoc province is working to transfer over 5,000ha of rubber trees with poor economic values into land for solar power development.
Fishermen happy with bumper catch
During the early days of the Lunar New Year, fishermen in the central coastal city of Da Nang harvested huge batches of acetes. It is hoped that this will begin a year of good fishing.
Early morning, at the seashore of Tho Quang ward, tonnes of acetes are lined up to be exported.
According to traders, the price of fresh and dried acetes ranges from 15,000 to 30,000 dong per kilo. So, each batch of fishing can help farmers rake in several million dong.
The crop of acetes starts from early spring to the end of summer. For local fishermen, full batches of acetes on the first days of the Lunar New Year bring good luck for a whole year.
Nghe An strives to fill industrial parks
Steel sheets of the Hoa Sen factory, based in Dong Hoi Industrial Park of Nghe An province, are delivered to a vessel for overseas shipment
The central province of Nghe An will cooperate with investors to build infrastructure in local industrial parks with the aim of filling those IPs with secondary investors in 2019.
This is part of the province’s strategy towards the goal of attracting between 20-25 trillion VND (860 million – 1.08 billion USD) worth of investment this year, including 3 -5 trillion VND of foreign direct investment (FDI).
The provincial administration plans to intensify administrative reform, particularly in procedures related to investment, construction and land use.
More attention will be paid to on-the-spot investment promotion activities, while close guidance and prompt assistance will be provided to signed projects so as to accelerate their pace.
Several large-scale investment projects in Nghe An are being hindered by bottlenecks in investment procedures, such as the 10.5 trillion VND resort and entertainment complex by FLC group in Nghi Loc district, and the phase-two Vinpearl Cua Hoi resort complex worth 4.36 trillion VND.
Nghe An has so far lagged behind other localities in attracting investment, due to its underdeveloped economy, poor infrastructure and an inconvenient location far from development hubs.
In addition, administrative procedures are still cumbersome, particularly those related to land use. Most support for investors stop after the approval of projects, and local authorities have not paid sufficient attention to supervising and assisting the implementation of projects, thus failing to timely addressing problems arising during the process.
Becoming aware of those issues, the provincial authorities will focus efforts on overcoming the shortcomings this year.
Rubber industry enjoys good start in 2019
Vietnam earned 220 million USD from shipping 175,000 tonnes of rubber abroad in January, up 10.8 percent in value and 28.9 percent in volume compared to the same month last year.
Experts predict further growth in rubber exports this year with global demand set to rise 4.2 percent to 14.59 million tonnes, while total output is forecast at 14.84 million tonnes.
The domestic rubber industry will also benefit from the increase of crude oil prices to push rubber prices up.
However, Chairman of the Rubber Plastic Manufacturer Association Nguyen Quoc Anh said high stock levels could exert pressure on rubber suppliers.
Further, demand growth in China, which accounts for 40 percent of global consumption, slowed to 3.2 percent from 5.3 percent in 2018 and 7.5 percent in 2017 on the country’s economic downturn.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Trade believed that rubber exports to India were unlikely to see strong expansion like in 2018 as domestic rubber supply is bouncing back, and the Indian government is carrying out measures to support rubber farmers, including increasing import taxes.
Last year, Vietnam sold 102,920 tonnes of rubber in India and earned 145.39 million USD, up 85.6 percent in quantity and 60.5 percent in value from the previous year.
Ninh Thuan aims to serve 2.35 million tourists in 2019
Cham towers with unique architecture have been an icon of Ninh Thuan province for centuries.
The south central province of Ninh Thuan is expected to welcome 2.35 million visitors in 2019 and earn 1.15 trillion VND (49.95 million USD) from tourism.
In the year, the locality, which is home to 149 cultural heritages, plans to improve its tourism services and products.
Le Van Binh, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee and head of the province’s steering board for tourism development, said to meet the targets, Ninh Thuan has focused on enhancing State management in tourism, ensuring security and safety, protecting the environment, improving behaviour at tourist sites, improving human resources and raising public awareness of tourism development.
At the same time, the locality will promote itself both at home and abroad, he added.
According to the official, to create special tourism products, Ninh Thuan is calling for luxury tourism projects in the coastal areas of Binh Tien, Vinh Hy and Ninh Chu, and urban, maritime and eco-tourism in Phan Rang-Thap Cham city.
The province has, to date, attracted 50 tourism projects with total registered capital exceeding 17.54 trillion VND (754.22 million USD).
Accommodations in Ninh Thuan, which number 145 with 3,100 rooms, have paid attention to improving facilities and diversifying services, while seeking links with travel companies.
In 2018, Ninh Thuan served 2.19 million tourists, up 15.3 percent year-on-year, and raked in 1.05 trillion VND (45.15 million USD) from the sector, a year-on-year rise of 18.9 percent.
Among 149 cultural heritages in Ninh Thuan, there are two special national relic sites, and 12 national relic sites. Notably, the local Don Ca Tai Tu (southern folk music) was recognised as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humankind by UNESCO.
Cham pagodas with unique architecture have been an icon of Ninh Thuan province for centuries, with Po Klong Garai and Hoa Lai towers recognised as special national architectural relic sites.
In addition, the province is renowned for its festivals, such as the Whale Worshipping, leaving tomb and cremation ritual of the ethnic Cham Brahman people.
The most important event for Cham people is the Kate festival, with activities taking place in temples, towers, and central areas in villages and towns. Falling in the seventh month of the Cham calendar, the festival reminds the ethnic Brahman community of their ancient gods and delivers wishes for bumper harvests and the growth of all beings. During the festival, people wear traditional clothes to join rituals and cultural activities, folk dances and musical performances with traditional instruments.
Besides organising traditional festivals, the province has developed tours of the craft villages of Bau Truc and My Nghiep.
Bau Truc pottery village, a national intangible heritage, is the oldest pottery village in Southeast Asia. Some 85 percent of the village’s 400 households make pottery. Every stage of the pottery-making process is done by hand.
Meanwhile, My Nghiep is popular for its traditional craft of weaving brocade. Visitors can see locals weaving and making various products from brocade such as handbags, wallets and backpacks.
Can Tho’s import-export, service turnover hits over 2 billion USD
Processing Tra fish for export
Turnover from export-import activities and foreign currency service of the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho exceeded 2 billion USD in 2018 – a record high in the last 15 years.
According to Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Vo Thanh Thong, Vietcombank Can Tho was one of the major contributors to the result.
The bank’s total capital mobilisation and loan amount hit 9.6 trillion VND and 7.7 trillion VND, respectively. It earned 250 billion VND in profits in the year.
Thong asked the bank to continue to work with local authorities to support enterprises, especially those specialising in agriculture and rice exports, in 2019.
The export success is attributable to the efforts of agencies and enterprises in the city seeking new markets and improving product quality.
Can Tho is the only city in the Mekong Delta and a development driver of the southwest region.
First Vietnamese lender named in top 300 valuable banking brands
The Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank) has become the first Vietnamese lender to be named on the list of the top 300 most valuable banking brands, as recently announced by the Brand Finance.
Accordingly, VietinBank’s brand value jumped by 64 percent to 625 million USD in the 2019 rankings, placing it at spot number 242 – the highest among Vietnamese banks to date. It was also one of the top 20 fastest brand climbers globally, ranking eighth. Its brand strength index rose from 67 to 77.33 out of the total 100 point, while its ranking improved from AA- in 2018 to AA in 2019.
It was the seventh time VietinBank had been on the Brand Finance’s list with improving brand value. Last year, it placed 310th in the top 500 list.
The Brand Finance’s top 500 list also saw the presence of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), the Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank), and the Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank).
BIDV and Vietcombank moved up from number 351 and 368 in 2018 to 307 and 325 this year, respectively.
VPBank was the first and only private Vietnamese bank to be named in the 2019 list. It was valued at 354 million USD.
Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand evaluation firm and is headquartered in the UK. Its brand evaluation results are annually published in international media such as The Banker, BBC, CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, The Economist, and The Wall Street Journal.
It is also one of the few agencies to meet the ISO 10668 brand valuation standards.
Hong Kong capital finds way to Vietnam amid trade war
Manufacturers from Hong Kong are flocking to Vietnam as the US-China trade war intensifies Asia’s production shift.
Trade tensions between the US and China are reverberating across the world, including the manufacturing industry in Hong Kong. After years of setting up camp in China, factory owners are now shifting their production lines to Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam, to protect themselves from rising tariffs.
This trend is clearly reflected by the latest statistics. For example, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) showed that in the first nine months of 2018, bilateral trade between Hong Kong and Vietnam already reached $18 billion. The figure for the entire year of 2017 was $18.11 billion.
Direct capital is also robust, as inbound investments from Hong Kong are the sixth largest in Vietnam. The Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment recorded $19 billion of foreign direct investment from Hong Kong in the first half of 2018.
Terence Chiu, head of Commercial Banking at HSBC Bank (Hong Kong), told VIR that Vietnam is “the exciting new home” for his Hong Kong-based clients. The banker stressed that the manufacturing shift already started in previous years, but the trade war has brought a sense of urgency to factory owners.
“We have already seen the trade diversion into the ASEAN before the trade war, as China became more expensive and companies wanted to diversify their production lines. But the trade war definitely affected sentiments, as manufacturers must prepare for potential tariffs,” said Chiu.
Last month, the ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement and the Investment Agreement took effect, promising to boost economic activities between Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. The 14 chapters cover broad areas of market access, liberalisation, and co-operation to facilitate trade in goods and services.
At a trade promotion event held by the HKTDC in Ho Chi Minh City last September, Hong Kong businesses spoke warmly of Vietnam’s booming domestic market. This will complement Vietnam’s emerging status as a regional manufacturing hub, they said.
“Investors look deeper than low labour cost – it is Vietnam’s strong fundamentals, growing consumption market buoyed by the middle class, and plenty of government support to do business,” said Nick Mahon, head of International Subsidiary Banking at HSBC Vietnam. The bank has more than 100 Hong Kong groups as clients.
Work starts on Japanese packaging factory in Ha Nam
The groundbreaking ceremony for the packaging factory in Ha Nam province (Photo: baodautu.vn)
Artpresto Vietnam Co., Ltd, a member of Japan’s Bandai Namco Group, started construction on a packaging factory on February 14 in the northern province of Ha Nam.
Artpresto packaging factory, located in Chau Son Industrial Zone, has total investment capital of 5 million USD.
Once operational, the factory will have an output capacity of nearly 40 million packaging products per year.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, General Director of Artpresto Vietnam Co., Ltd Urano Masahiro said the factory was expected to complete the supply chain of high quality products for the Japanese and Vietnamese markets while creating jobs for hundreds of local workers.
Bandai Namco is one of Japan’s largest toy, entertainment and video game business groups. It was formed when two big players in the sector, Bandai and Namco, merged in 2005. In 2018, following a long tradition of development, the group decided to expand its investments in Southeast Asia, especially in Vietnam.
Established in 1983, Artpresto Co., Ltd. is charge of packaging design, product design, and printing for the group. Artpresto Vietnam will be the first step in the Bandai Namco Group’s development strategy in the Vietnamese market in particular, and in Southeast Asia in general.
Project to develop construction material for coastal, island localities
A project on developing construction materials to build facilities in coastal and island localities through 2025 has been approved by the Government, the Ministry of Construction has said.
According to a report reviewing the 10-year implementation of the national marine strategy through 2020 and with a vision to 2030, the total investment of 28 centrally-run cities and provinces makes up 55-60 percent of the country’s total investment.
To encourage people to live on islands, ensuring technical infrastructure and material facilities is important. This will not only help develop the economy but also defend the country’s territorial sovereignty and security, protect maritime environment, and cope with climate change.
The project prioritises the use of onsite materials such as cinders, gypsum from thermal power plants, fertilisers, and chemicals which are suitable with the environmental marine conditions.
Tra Vinh looks to attract more investors
The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh has welcomed representatives of seven domestic and foreign firms to learn about the investment and business environment and regulations related to business registration in the locality in the first days of the Lunar New Year.
According to the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, the firms mainly operate in production, waste treatment and environmental protection, energy and seaport development, construction and refrigeration electromechanics.
Deputy Director of the department To Ngoc Binh said the locality’s investment attraction has shown positive signals thanks to measures implemented by local authorities to improve the competitiveness index and promote administrative reform, and support enterprises.
Apart from activities to call for more investment, they have also enhanced trade promotion and helped local firms join trade and industrial fairs in neighbouring localities.
Through activities to assist businesses, Tra Vinh has developed 27 new small- and medium-sized enterprises with a total registered capital of 815 billion VND (nearly 35 million USD) so far this year, 2.5 times higher than the figure in the same period of 2018.
FLC Group ventures into healthcare business with new hospital
Vietnamese business conglomerate FLC Group Thursday began building a VND3.72 trillion ($159.78 million) international hospital.
The Thai Binh International General Hospital will be the largest in the northern province of the same name, able to accommodate 1,000 inpatients, the group said in a press release.
The hospital will be part of a larger 12 hectare complex including a hotel.
It will first start operations in 2022 with 500 beds.
FLC CEO Huong Tran Kieu Dung said that the hospital will be the first in a chain of large-scale hospitals that the group plans to build in different parts of the country in the coming years.
“We aim to increase our competitiveness in manufacturing and distributing medical products and health services to create a high-quality medical service system that the government has demanded,” she said.
Last September, the group received permission to construct a hi-tech medical and pharmaceutical industrial park in the Van Don Economic Zone in Quang Ninh Province, the first such complex in the country.
FLC Group is one of Vietnam’s largest private companies with extensive interests in real estate, agriculture, aviation, and labor exports.
Over 540 firms to receive Vietnamese high-quality goods awards
The 2019 Vietnamese High-Quality Goods Awards will be given to 542 Vietnamese businesses at a ceremony held in HCM City on February 20.
The awardees were selected from a survey by the Business Association of High-Quality Vietnamese Products every year.
Among the quality standards, sufficient product information is the prime conditions. Products, mostly agricultural products, which do not have appropriate labels, have been removed from the selection.
Phan Minh Sang, Marketing Director of Anova Feed Company specializing on animal feed, one of the awardees, said “Anova Feed has digitized product’s information to enable traceability. Customers can check product’s information and are assured of product’s quality.”