By Hoang Bac – Translated by Anh Quan
Natuzzi editions trieste iii leather sectional sofa with chaise
Kim Dental, Vietnam’s largest private dental care platform, has recently raised US$24 million in a series B round. The investment was led by ABC World Asia, a private equity fund dedicated to investing across Asia, seeded by Temasek. Proceeds from the round, which saw the participation from existing backer Aura Private Equity, will support Kim Dental in expanding the delivery of affordable and reliable oral health services across Vietnam.
Kim Dental owns and operates a fast-growing network of 19 dental clinics across four cities. The clinics provide dental check-ups and treatments as well as more advanced orthodontics, prosthodontics, oral surgery, and implants. Kim Dental employs 120 dentists and dental surgeons, as well as over 600 clinical and operational staff serving over 23,000 patients per month. Kim Dental also operates a dental laboratory to support its clinic network with in-house production of crowns, dentures, and bridges.
Huynh Minh Viet, CFO of Kim Dental said, “With this successful round, we’re now well-positioned to expand our delivery of international quality dental care to the fast-growing communities across the country, thus improving community access and helping to elevate the standards of oral healthcare in Vietnam, so that we achieve more positive overall healthcare outcomes in our country.”
Meanwhile, SK Group is said to be mulling over an investment in Vietnam’s largest pharmacy retail chain, Pharmacity, with an expected value of up to US$90 million, according to Dealstreetasia.
Phamarcity is Vietnam’s largest pharmacy retailer with approximately 500 drugstores. The company has a plan to open its 1,000th store this year.
If the deal is concluded, it would make up SK Group’s second investment in Vietnam’s pharmacy and healthcare market. Last May, SK Investment III, a subsidiary of the Republic of Korea’s third-largest conglomerate SK Group, received 12.32 million shares of Imexpharm Corporation, equivalent to 24.9%.
Michael Han, head of SK Group’s Representative Office in Vietnam said, “There are dozens of industries and companies that we are trying to get to know better here, and healthcare happens to be one of them. It does not necessarily mean that an investment is imminent though.”
However, Han remains upbeat about Vietnam’s healthcare and pharmacy market. Historically, this sector’s growth has been backed by people’s growing concerns about the wellbeing of their family members, environmental factors, rising household income, and the high urbanisation rate – which leads to changes in lifestyles and a higher demand in personal healthcare.
“We believe that the robust growth will continue into the foreseeable future. We have seen a similar trend in the Republic of Korea over the last 20 years or so. In terms of market size, Vietnam is still at the emerging stage, with estimated total value of US$7 billion in 2019, growing at a robust pace of 8% from 2019-2024,” he said.
Meanwhile, a consortium led by Singapore’s state investor GIC Pte. Ltd. has agreed with Vietnam’s largest conglomerate Vingroup to buy a stake in its medical unit, Vinmec, for over US$200 million. However, Vingroup will remain the controlling shareholder of the unit after the deal, Vingroup said in statement last December.
Other funds like Vinacapital and Mekong Capital have seen the prospects of the market and decided to cash in on local healthcare and pharmaceuticals. Last August, VinaCapital invested in Thu Cuc International General Hospital by purchasing a 30% stake for US$26.7 million. In 2019, Mekong Capital also financed pharmacy chain Pharmacity out of its Mekong Enterprise Fund III.
Private equity investments in healthcare are on the rise. Nguyen Thi Vinh Ha, head of advisory at Grant Thornton Vietnam, cited the firm’s survey showing that healthcare is among the most attractive industries for investors, with its growth prospects coming from higher healthcare spending per capita.
“However, the shortage of qualified personnel and inadequate healthcare infrastructure results in a huge supply gap, and the increasing ageing speed of the Vietnamese population will further boost the healthcare demand,” Ha added.
The 11th and final session of the 14th National Assembly, scheduled for March 24 to April 8, provided opportunities to evaluate and review the achievements and limitations in the exercise of the National Assembly’s legislative, executive and judicial powers.
Under the leadership of the party and the supervision of the deputies, together with the valuable experience of previous terms, the 14th National Assembly proved its role as the embodiment of national unity, creative thinking, strong innovation, flexibility, prudence, assertiveness and responsibility, acting for the benefit of the country and the people. The 14th National Assembly also completed its tasks in the exercise of the legislative, executive and judicial powers. The 14th National Assembly issued many legal documents to institutionalize party policies, affirming its important role in building and perfecting the institutions of the socialist law-governed state.
In the past tenure, the National Assembly adopted 72 laws, two ordinances and various resolutions, creating a legal basis for renewal, effectiveness and efficiency of the state’s governance, promoting democracy and protecting human and civil rights.
The National Assembly’s oversight generated public approval, with major changes introduced into the question and answer sessions and the format switched from discussion to open debate.
The National Assembly also adopted major decisions of great impact for socioeconomic life and development in mountainous and ethnic minority areas.
Specifically, deputies decided to invest in major national projects, such as the construction of three sections of the eastern North-South Expressway and of a runway, a terminal and other components for the phase-one development of the Long Thanh International Airport.
The National Assembly’s external relations also contributed greatly to the success of the party and state foreign policies, helping maintain a peaceful and stable environment for national construction, defense and development and elevating the country’s standing in the international arena.
The Vietnamese National Assembly also approved the new-generation free trade agreements Vietnam has signed, such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), creating a momentum for the country’s rapid and sustainable development. In particular, the Vietnamese National Assembly has promoted friendly relations and multifaceted cooperation with other parliaments.
Do Nga & Quynh Nga
By Thúy Hằng
Despite being born and bred in Nga Sơn, a rural district in the central province of Thanh Hóa famed for its traditional bed mats and other products made of sedge, Trần Doãn Hùng never wanted to follow the craft and becoming involved in a business endeavour relating to the material never even crossed his mind.
Like many in his village, after graduating from high school he headed to Hà Nội to attend university and then worked for a few years in the capital.
In 2017, he went to work at a resort in the beach city of Nha Trang on Việt Nam’s south-central coast, where by chance he found a new direction in life. A female co-worker showed Hùng her new handbag, made of sedge. Admiring its meticulous weaving, he began to think about his hometown’s famed craft.
“I wondered whether this was something I could do,” the now 28-year-old recalled. “After some restless nights, I decided to quit my job and return home and found a start-up.”
And so it was that in 2018 Hùng founded Cỏ May Craft (Gold Bear Grass Craft).
“Gold Bear grass, the local sedge, is flimsy but durable,” he said in explaining the company name.
“Like many people who were born and bred in a village, when I was living in the city I was always nostalgic for home, with its green pastures and sedge. It’s what brought me back.”
Without knowledge and experience, though, he had to start out from scratch. While studying and learning the craft, he was fortunate enough to meet a helpful craftsman in the central city of Huế who was willing to share his skills and experience.
He also decided, though, to focus on sedge products other than mats, which had been made in his home village for hundreds of years.
Cỏ May, therefore, specialises in producing women’s handbags. Together with sedge, the company also makes bags using other natural materials such as rattan, bamboo, straw, and hyacinth.
“Customers only accepted our products once they met their requirements in quality and design,” he said. “This why I pay particular attention to such details.”
His bags are rounded out by leather straps, handles or flaps, which add a modern touch. They also come with a removable inner lining, so they can easily be kept clean.
For the young and demanding entrepreneur, product quality isn’t just about durability but also about style and elegance.
“Quality must be seen in every detail,” he said. “The product must look nice, but this doesn’t mean you don’t have to care about every single knot and seam.
“Keeping an eye on such details requires that craftsmen be experienced in observation and be self-disciplined.”
Though any number of enterprises have been seriously hit by COVID-19, Cỏ May has come through it all largely unscathed.
“Sales have only been down slightly, as we mostly sell via online platforms,” he said.
The 1,000 bags produced each month are sold on Amazon in the US at prices ranging from US$75 to $150.
Hùng’s products have also found favour in France and Australia, with substantial monthly orders coming from traders.
COVID-19 did, however, give the young businessman a new idea.
“People weren’t able to go out during the pandemic, and instead spent more time at home,” he explained. “So the thought occurred to me: Why we don’t create decorative household items from sedge?”
Cỏ May Craft then started to introduce decorative wall hangings made of sedge on Amazon in February and feedback so far has been positive.
Last year a project of Hùng’s called “Combining natural materials and leather to create handbags” won first prize at a contest on start-up ideas from young people organised by the Thanh Hóa provincial Youth Union.
To create stable jobs for his fellow villagers, Hùng has begun a training course for a group of women aged 35-55.
“Once they become skilled weavers of our particular products, instead of employing people from elsewhere, such as Kim Sơn in Ninh Bình or others from Huế, we can recruit local villagers,” he said.
He feels happy whenever he receives a photo of customers with one of his sedge bags.
“That’s when I realise my products have travelled all over the world,” he said. “I feel proud to have contributed to promoting ‘Made in Việt Nam’ arts and crafts to international customers.”
His ambition continues, with plans to cooperate with Vietnamese fashion brands as well as foreign retailers in creating a new range of items. VNS
Police in the north-central province of Quang Tri have arrested a tractor-trailer driver for causing a hit-and-run that killed two people on a motorbike on Saturday afternoon.
The traffic police division under the provincial Department of Public Security confirmed on Saturday evening they had apprehended D.V.N., 42, to facilitate an investigation.
Preliminary information showed that the crash occurred along a section of National Highway No. 9 in Huong Hiep Commune, Dakrong District at 3:45 pm.
T.H.T.V., 22, and N.T.Q.N., 20, were traveling on a motorbike when they was hit by a tractor-trailer driven by N..
The two people on the motorcycle were killed on the spot, while N. continued to driver away and headed to Dong Ha City in Quang Tri Province.
After the incident was reported, local authorities promptly mobilized multiple police officers to track down the hit-and-run driver.
The tractor-trailer was pulled over about 35 kilometers away from the crash site.
N. was then escorted to the police station.
Here are today’s leading news stories:
— Vietnamese State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc lauded central Da Nang City and Quang Nam Province for their achievements over the past years during a working session with local leaders on Saturday.
— State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Saturday sent a message of condolences to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland over the death of her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
— The Ministry of Health on Saturday evening confirmed nine imported COVID-19 cases in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang, raising the country’s tally to 2,692, with 2,429 recoveries and 35 deaths.
— The testing phase of the second tunnel boring machine was initiated on Saturday to prepare for the construction of the underground section of the Nhon-Hanoi Station urban metro line in Hanoi.
— Traffic police in the north-central province of Quang Tri confirmed on Saturday they had been able to chase down and arrest the 42-year-old driver of a tractor-trailer for causing a hit-and-run that killed two people on a motorbike earlier the same day.
— Local residents in the north-central province of Nghe An reported on Saturday they had found a human skeleton that washed ashore along a beach in Nghi Loc District.
— Two former cellmates and game addicts from the northern province of Bac Ninh have been arrested for breaking into nearly pagodas and stealing money from the venues.
— Vietnam and Turkey held the ‘Business-to-Business (B2B) Matching Webinar on Products for Supporting Industries 2021’ on Saturday, aiming to introduce the potential of Vietnamese electronics and mechanics manufacturers to major Turkish importers, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
— Shipments of products from the processing industry brought in about US$67.39 billion in the first quarter of this year, representing 87.13 percent of Vietnam’s total export value during the period, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.