By Tan Thai – Translated by Kim Khanh
By Tan Thai – Translated by Kim Khanh
|Vietnam is offering opportunities for investors by creating a stable, friendly business environment|
According to the report, Vietnam’s attraction of foreign direct investment (FDI) from CPTPP member countries was modest in the first year of the agreement’s implementation. Data from the Ministry of Planning and Investment showed that in 2019, the number of newly licensed foreign investment projects increased more than 13 percent compared to 2018.
While the 2019 investment of almost US$9.5 billion from CPTPP countries was nearly 36 percent lower than the previous year’s, this was due to the surge of 2018 foreign capital from Japan for Sumitomo Corporation’s US$4.1 billion Smart City project in the capital Hanoi. That investment alone accounted for almost 30 percent of all FDI Vietnam attracted from CPTPP countries in the same year.
As a result, new capital registered a comparative decline in 2019, with the average value of a new FDI project from CPTPP countries decreasing 56.9 percent, from nearly US$11 million in 2018 to US$4.7 million per project in 2019. CPTPP-related institutional and market opening commitments apply to the long term and do not have an immediate impact on FDI inflows.
Although FDI from CPTPP countries decreased 36 percent, total FDI capital attracted by Vietnam in 2019 increased over seven percent.
According to the report, FDI attraction from CPTPP countries increased in 2020, reaching US$11.8 billion, up 24.4 percent from 2019. In all, Vietnam attracted US$28.5 billion in FDI capital last year, down almost 25 percent compared to 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
|David Gottlieb, Counselor for Economic and Development Cooperation at the Australian Embassy in Vietnam, gave a speech at a recent conference reviewing two years of CPTPP implementation|
Surge in Q1 foreign investment
According to data from the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Foreign Investment Agency, in the first quarter of 2021, Vietnam attracted US$10.13 billion in FDI capital, up 18.5 percent from the same period last year. Two CPTPP countries, Singapore and Japan, topped the list of foreign investors in the first quarter, with Singapore investing US$4.6 billion (accounting for 45.6 percent of the total) and Japan US$2.1 billion (20.8 percent of the total).
Economists say Vietnam is offering opportunities for investors by creating a stable, friendly business environment.
David Gottlieb, Counselor for Economic and Development Cooperation at the Australian Embassy in Vietnam, underscored the importance of utilizing digital technology in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. He recommended that Vietnam seek to take advantage of the opportunities brought about by the CPTPP to increase digitalization.
According to Gottlieb, the Covid-19 pandemic presented a range of unprecedented challenges to the principles of free trade and market openness. Fortunately, CPTPP members such as Australia and Vietnam responded well to the pandemic and were still able to fulfill their commitments to rules-based trade whilst maintaining open supply chains which provide positive and transparent information.
The project investor, HCMC Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR), said Thursday that the two three-car trains would be shipped from Japan’s railway system factory Kasado Works on May 1 and reach HCMC in nine days.
Three to four days later, the trains would be delivered to the Long Binh Depot in Thu Duc City.
Two of the four six-car trains would be shipped by June and the remaining two by July. The exact delivery dates may change due to variables like weather conditions or congestion at the port, the investor said.
After the trains are delivered to the Long Binh Depot, Japanese contractor Hitachi would install five of them on the T1 railway, while the sixth one will be installed on a different track, the MAUR said, without elaborating.
The first three-car train arrived in HCMC last October and has been installed on the T1 railway.
As originally planned, trial runs for the trains should begin in this year’s fourth quarter. Within the same time frame, other tasks like operations, personnel training and technology transfer would also be in progress.
Hoang Mai Tung, coordinating engineer for the Metro Line 1 project, said train operations in the future would be handled automatically with a communications-based train control (CBTC) system. The system would help locate the exact location of the trains better than traditional signal systems, he said. It would automatically adjust the trains’ speed, opening and closing doors, as well as the amount of time trains stop at stations.
“This technology will help manage and operate the metro line more effectively and safely than several other methods. However, in the first years of operation, the trains should still have a driver to respond to various situations in order to maintain safety at the highest level,” Tung said.
HCMC’s first metro line, running from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to the Suoi Tien theme park in Thu Duc, will have a total of 17 trains, starting with three-car trains before moving onto the six-car ones. Each three-car train would be 61.5 meters long with a capacity of 930 passengers. The trains are expected to run at an average speed of 40 kph.
The first metro line has a total investment cost of over VND43.7 trillion ($1.89 billion). It runs nearly 20 km with three underground and 11 elevated stations. The project is 83 percent complete, and is expected to be launched next year.
Head of Publications Department Nguyen Nguyen said it is necessary to do something so that internet users not only spend time to surf on Facebook and buy goods online but also pay attention to reading culture.
Head of Publications Department Nguyen Nguyen (third from right) at the seminar
A seminar on reading culture amid digital transformation trends was the first activity within the framework of the 8th Vietnam Book Day on HCM City’s Book Street.
The speakers participating in the seminar were Nguyen Nguyen, Director of the Publications Department (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism); Le Hoang, Deputy Director of Vietnam Association of Publishers; Diem Phuong from the HCMC General Publishing House; Hoang Thach, co-founder of Voiz FM; and Dinh Bao, CEO and Founder JoiKid.
In Vietnam, digital transformation began 10 years ago when publishers began digitizing their data stores and some operations, such as accountancy and sales units.
They are now in the second stage of digital transformation, using technologies in management and administration of all activities, and AI in book editing.
They are about to enter the third phase – shifting to digital publishing houses.
According to Nguyen, there are great advantages for publishers to go digital. He cited a report as showing that more than 70 million out of 145 mobile phone subscribers in the country as of 2020 used data on internet, higher than the average level of 50 percent in the world and 44 percent in developing countries.
Internet users should pay more attention to reading culture and use the internet to access knowledge, rather than use it just to access Facebook, he said.
Nguyen believes that the capability of Vietnamese publishers is quite good.
Regarding copyright protection, Nguyen said this is a common challenge for the publishing industry all over the world. The top US publishers have recently joined forces to combat piracy.
What is happening in the world’s publishing industry shows that digital transformation doesn’t mean ‘killing’ printed books. On the contrary, the two areas create interactions and help each other develop.
Nguyen believes that solutions to help a reading culture include changing people’s perceptions; setting up institutions for copyright protection; and investing in technology and creating a new-generation workforce for the publishing industry.
At the seminar, Hoang Thanh from Voiz FM introduced an app that helps people listen to books. Voiz FM staff has applied AI to audiobooks. The AI voice is recorded from real voices and is so perfect that 70 percent of people attending a survey could not tell if was a real voice or an AI voice.
Digital transformation has become a critical need for technical infrastructure enterprises to survive in the fourth industrial revolution, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, speakers said at a seminar on Tuesday in HCM City.
Nguyen Van Dang, director of the Gia Dinh Water Supply Joint-Stock Company under the Saigon Water Corporation (SAWACO), said that digital technologies improve administrative methods and production activities, helping to better serve customers.
The water supply sector, for example, uses GIS (Geographic Information System) technology for data sharing among units. This helps to reduce leakage and improve water supply management, with the goal of supplying clean water to all urban residents in Viet Nam.
The GIS technology also uses virtual assistants to handle repetitive questions and collect data from customers. It provides information on mangrove forecasting to farmers via telephone, and analyses water levels to help scientists assess the water situation during different seasons of the year.
“To successfully implement digital transformation, enterprises must improve the quality of human resources, which will help productivity and thus enhance competitiveness,” Dang said.
“This success depends heavily on the determination of all participants involved, especially the leaders of the company,” he added.
Tran Quang Minh, general director of SAWACO, said that digital transformation has a far-reaching impact, especially in the water supply sector. It can reduce the time to install water metres, increase labour productivity, save costs, and better monitor the water quality at source.
Vo Thi Trung Trinh, deputy director of the city’s Department of Information and Communications, said that technical infrastructure businesses need access to preferential loans to implement digital transformation.
She said the city plans to provide professional training about digital transformation to businesses.
The city will also promote the use of shared databases to share data with industries and sectors related to technical infrastructure, such as electricity and water supply, to better serve customers.
HCM City has set a target by 2025 that the city’s digital economy will contribute about 25 per cent of its GDP, she added.
A 2019 report by the US-based McKinsey Global Institute showed that in the construction industry, digital transformation could increase productivity by 14-15 per cent and reduce costs by 4-6 per cent.
Viet Nam last year began its national digital transformation programme focused on “a digital government, digital economy and digital society”.
Under the programme by 2030, the country will adopt new technologies and models, completely overhaul the way the Government operates, update business operations, change the work style of citizens, and create a safe, secure and humane digital environment.
The digital economy is projected to produce 20 per cent of the country’s GDP in the near future, with at least 10 per cent of each economic sector part of the digital economy, while annual labor productivity will likely increase at least 7 per cent.
Experts said the country is set to be among the top 50 countries in the information and communication technology development index within the next five years.
The workshop was organised by the Gia Dinh Water Supply Joint Stock Company under SAWACO. — VNS
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam has rolled out the red carpet for foreign investors, including those from ASEAN states, to invest in advanced medical equipment, according to trade counsellor Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng at the Vietnamese Embassy in Germany.
At a virtual conference held by Ernst & Young (EY) Global Limited on Tuesday, Hùng said ASEAN has produced a wide range of medical equipment, and 5-7 per cent of global equipment exports are sourced from ASEAN countries.
Việt Nam has a huge demand for medical equipment due to its rapidly ageing population, he stressed, adding that a network between ASEAN member states should be established to enhance information exchange as well as co-operation in the field to ensure timely supply of medical equipment and pharmaceutical products.
At the event, which also aimed to promote trade and investment in consumer goods within the bloc, he highlighted the important role of the country’s garment and footwear sector in both the domestic and export markets.
Despite the adverse impacts of COVID-19, Việt Nam’s exports of consumer products topped US$100.3 billion in 2020, a year-on-year rise of 2.4 per cent. Shipments of garment and footwear products accounted for 20 per cent of the nation’s total export revenue in 2019.
Currently, Việt Nam is the fourth-largest garment and textile exporter, and the second-biggest source market of footwear. However, 80 per cent of the leather shoes come from the foreign direct investment sector, he said.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the supply of materials for the two production sectors, while global demand has declined sharply, the country is working to diversify its material supplies to reduce risks.
In a bid to enjoy tax preferences from free trade deals such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Europe-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), brands and suppliers in Việt Nam are using domestic materials.
According to Hùng, with robust economic growth, ASEAN is both a large supplier of consumer products and a big market.
Due to their increasing income, ASEAN consumers prefer high-quality products, including garments and leather shoes, so Việt Nam hopes to branch out the two sectors by developing transport and logistics infrastructure, he added. — VNS