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The real estate market of Danang city enjoyed thriving developments in three key segments during the first half of 2019, as reported by real estate service provider Savills Vietnam.

Savills Vietnam said on August 19 that the total stock of the retail segment aggregated to some 212,000 square meters, up 20 per cent on year after three new projects in the two districts of Hai Chau and Ngu Hanh Son were launched to the market during the six-month period.

The retail segment saw its average ground floor gross rent rise by 8 per cent on year while its occupancy dropped by 1 percentage point (ppt) on year. The retail podium segment made the most improved performance thanks to the entry of new projects.

Retail sales reached VND27.4 trillion (US$1.17 billion), up 13 per cent on year. In the second half of 2019 and 2020, an estimated 96,000 square meters will enter the Danang market, mainly in Ngu Hanh Son district.

Regarding the office segment, its total stock remained steady on year, with approximately 94,000 square meters. In the past five years, the stock edged by an average 7 per cent per annum. Some 75 per cent of the supply came from Hai Chau district.

The average gross rent of office space gained an annual rise of 1 per cent while the occupancy was down 5 ppts on year. Grade A office showed the most improved performance.

The central city had 2,594 enterprises newly registered during the six-month period, up by 8 per cent on year. One new project is expected to debut in Hai Chau district within the remainder of 2019 and another in 2020, cumulatively providing some 13,000 square meters.

Hotel is another segment enjoying the increasing supply with approximately additional 15,400 rooms from 121 three to five-star hotels, a year on year hike of 20 per cent. There were 2,000 new rooms in the first half of 2019 while the average occupancy fell by 3 ppts on year and the average room rent downed by 9 per cent on year.

International arrivals to Danang reportedly reached 1.8 million in the first half of 2019, jumping by 26 per cent on year while the average length of stay was 2.7 days.

An estimated 8,000 rooms will enter the market from the second half of 2019 onwards.

Meanwhile, condotel sustained the slow performance as the market-wide absorption in the first half of 2019 stood at 90 per cent due to limited primary supply, while prices ranged from US$2,100 - US$4,800 per square meters.

This segment saw one project enter in the first half of the year. As many as 14 condotel projects are predicted to come online during the remainder of 2019 and beyond.

Elsewhere, the apartment segment suffered limited new supply. The total stock amounted to over 5,300 units from 20 projects. Ngu Hanh Son led the primary market with a 52 per cent share. In the second half of 2019, more than 900 units will enter from two projects.

The first-half absorption stayed high, at 94 per cent, while the average asking price posted US$2,500 square meters.

Vietnam on rise for Australian investors: Australian Financial Review

Vietnam is on the rise for Australian investors, said an article published on the Australian Financial Review ahead of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s upcoming visit to the Southeast Asian nation.

The article, by Michael Smith, said Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrives in Vietnam, a booming nation of 97 million where growth has remained strong.

Vietnam is on track to this year keep up the GDP growth rate of over 6 percent that it has maintained since 2000.

Cheap labour, a young population, high education standards, and government policies which offer tax breaks and other incentives for international firms have seen a surge in foreign direct investment, according to the article.

Vietnam granted investment licences to more than 1720 projects in the first six months of the year, up 26 percent.

The country, best known to Australians as a laid-back holidays destination, is now on the radar for big business attracted by its open investment policies, cheap labour and young workforce.

Wes Maas, a former South Sydney rugby league player who founded NSW-based construction materials, equipment and services company Maas Group, first saw the potential in Vietnam several years ago, the article said.

The company he runs out of Dubbo had already been buying equipment from Vietnam for 18 years. But when its local partner was taken over, Maas decided to go it alone.

The company fast-tracked an initial three-stage plan to build a factory which would make underground mining equipment. Instead, it built the 30,000 square metre plant in one go.

Maas is among the Australians who are also returning to Vietnam, attracted by the government’s open-door policy, free trade agreements and cheap and efficient labour.

The 315 million AUD plant, which has 320 staff including 45 engineers, opened last month. Maas said the biggest attraction was finding a skilled workforce to pre-build, prepare and manufacture the underground mining equipment it exports out of Vietnam around the world.

Australia’s SunRice Group acquired a Vietnamese processing mill in the country's south last year and has established breeding programmes and works with local farmers to introduce more sustainable and advanced growing practices.

While Vietnam is an attractive alternative to NSW’s drought-ravaged Riverina where SunRice is based, the company was also attracted by its free trade policies.

“By inserting ourselves in an integrated supply chain in Vietnam it gives us access to markets that we can’t get to from Australia currently,” the article quoted SunRice Chief Executive Rob Gordon as saying.

Gordon said its 260,000 paddy tonne mill in Vietnam now plays a key role in the company's plans to increase global demand for its branded rice product.

Vietnam’s booming tourist trade and rising middle classes means demand for Australian produce is also on the rise.

In District 2, a short drive from Ho Cho Minh City's bustling centre, Robert Ameln, who moved his family from Sweden to Vietnam because they liked the country while travelling, runs the local operations for Food Source International, a Middle Eastern-based group importing Australian produce.

The company sells 70 tonnes of Australian produce to Vietnam each year, according to the article.

Australian logistics giant Linfox is also investing in Vietnam. The company, which has had a presence in Vietnam for 13 years, opened a 100,000-square-metre site earlier this year in the country's north.

It is one of the largest warehouse and distribution centres in northern Vietnam. It is double the size of anything Linfox has in Australia.

There are pros and cons, though, as the country’s infrastructure struggles to keep pace with the demands of a growing middle class.

As more manufacturing comes in they will have to spend more money on infrastructure and the port bottlenecks will free up over time. On the flipside as more manufacturing gets diverted to Vietnam it does put more pressure on the infrastructure and power, the article said.

Australia exported 5 billion AUD of goods to Vietnam in 2018, making it the 14th largest destination. It imported 6.1 billion USD of goods in the same year.

According to ANZ, Vietnam accounts for 0.1 percent of total Australian investment abroad.

Chinese firm to invest in 2 billion USD factory in Thanh Hoa

Chinese steel firm Mintal Group Co. Ltd has expressed a desire to build a 2 billion USD Ferocrom, stainless steel and non-ferrous metal factory in central Thanh Hoa province’s Nghi Son economic zone.

The issue was discussed during a recent meeting between the Mintal Group’s representatives and the provincial People’s Committee .

Specifically, the group will invest in a Ferocrom factory with a capacity of 1.5 million tonnes per year in the first phase and a stainless steel factory with a capacity of 1 million tonnes of steel and 1 million tonnes of non-ferrous metal per year in the second phase.

It is estimated that 80 percent of raw materials for production will be imported from South Africa, while the remaining 20 percent is expected to be purchased in Vietnam.

If the investment plan is approved, the Mintal Group will lease 300ha of land in Nghi Son Economic Zone, near the port area, to construct the factory.

Speaking at the meeting, Chairman of the Thanh Hoa People’s Committee Nguyen Dinh Xung required the Nghi Son economic zone’s management board, provincial departments and agencies to instruct Mintal Group to survey the location and quickly complete relevant documents and procedures, to soon receive the investment policy decision by the provincial People's Committee at the end of September or the beginning of October, when Thanh Hoa province held 2019 investment promotion conference.

However, Xung noted that when investing in this factory, the Mintal Group must commit to Thanh Hoa province on investing and applying the most advanced and modern technology to minimise the impact on the environment, as well as complying with Vietnamese laws on environmental protection.

At the meeting, the Mintal Group and the management board of Nghi Son economic zone and industrial zones also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on investing in the Ferocrom, stainless steel and non-ferrous metal factory.

The Mintal Group is one of the world's leading corporations in manufacturing Ferocrom, stainless steel and non-ferrous metals. Currently, the group has one factory located in China and the second one is planned to be built in the Nghi Son economic zone.

Vietnam's rice prices suffer fall due to sharp decline in demand from China

Vietnam is facing a number of difficulties in branching out to new markets due to a sharp decline in rice demand from China, according to a trader in HCM City.

Vietnam's export rice prices suffered a fall this week as the demand from China has plummeted. In addition, droughts in Thailand continue to threaten the supply source, while a weakening Indian rupee has affected India’s rice prices.

As a result, the country’s 5 per cent broken rice price dropped bweteen US$ 340 -US$350 per ton last week to between US$ 335-US$345 per ton this week.

According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the rice export volume to China during the January to July period fell by 65.7 per cent to 318,100 tons in comparison with the same period last year.

Although traders have pointed out that Chinese demand for rice remains high, Chinese importers find it challenging to purchase rice from Vietnam due to new technical barriers being erected by the Chinese government.

Within the Thai market, the country's 5 per cent broken rice price increased from between US$406-US$ 425 per ton last week to between US$415 and US$425 per ton this week.

Traders attributed these high prices to concerns regarding supply sources as Thailand has been experiencing its worst drought in a decade.

ADB signs tourism agreements with 5 provinces

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Provincial People’s Committees of northern Hoa Binh, north-central Nghe An, and central Quang Binh, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien Hue provinces have signed specific project agreements for the Second Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Tourism Infrastructure for Inclusive Growth Project, following the signing of an overall $45 million loan agreement with the Ministry of Finance.

The project aims to transform secondary towns along the GMS’s eastern corridor into economically-inclusive and competitive tourism destinations by improving transport infrastructure, urban services, and the capacity to sustainably manage tourism growth.

“The government has effectively used ADB’s support in past years to improve infrastructure, strengthen environmental management at tourism destinations, promote tourism-related enterprise development, and deepen regional tourism cooperation with GMS and ASEAN neighbors,” said Mr. Eric Sidgwick, ADB Country Director for Vietnam. “Tourism is thriving in project areas as a result, benefitting thousands of residents and locally-owned businesses.”

The ADB has a long and successful track record of supporting inclusive and sustainable tourism development in Vietnam. This is the fourth consecutive tourism project since 2003, and 12 provinces have now received ADB assistance in the tourism sector, with cumulative financing of more than $110 million.

The project will build the climate-resilient transport and urban infrastructure needed to boost tourist arrivals and tourism services investment in the provinces. It will also develop urban green spaces and public beaches, and is expected to benefit about 168,000 residents and more than 8 million visitors annually.

The ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members - 49 of whom are from the region.

Oil & Gas Tech Asia 2019 set for HCMC

August 21-23 exhibition being held at Tan Son Nhat Pavilion Convention Center.

Phoenix Trade Fairs will hold the Oil & Gas Tech Asia 2019, Vietnam’s most anticipated oil and gas industry tradeshow, at the Tan Son Nhat Pavilion Convention Center in Ho Chi Minh City from August 21 to 23.

The international tradeshow is being held in conjunction with Electric Power and Automation Technology 2019. Over the course of the three days, domestic and international companies in the oil and gas industry will have the opportunity to expand business networks and gain first-hand experience in developing the latest solutions, technologies, and equipment in the field, from production to processing.

Boasting a large space of 2,000 sq m, the exhibition will showcase the most innovative solutions and products from acclaimed domestic and international brands such as Klenco Asia, Crowcon, Brasten Analytical, CTI Industries, Metonmas Metal, Nitti (Asia) Pte Ltd, Gloazure, and Durasafe.

As the Vietnamese Government has been making great efforts to facilitate foreign investment in the oil and gas industry, Oil & Gas Tech Asia 2019 will continue to be an important trade forum helping local businesses reach potential customers and expand partnerships.

The exhibition is a one-stop market for Vietnam’s oil and gas community, showcasing the latest technology in both upstream and downstream fields. Oil & Gas Tech Asia offers a holistic business experience by combining exhibitions, conferences and seminars, and a host of networking sessions that connect quality buyers to oil and gas suppliers.

Shinhan Bank opens 4 new branches

Shinhan Bank Vietnam recently opened four new branches and transaction offices in Hanoi, Da Nang, Hai Phong, and Binh Duong.

The Da Nang branch is Shinhan Bank’s first in the central region, after focusing on the country’s north and south. The openings complete its goal of nationwide network expansion in 2019.

The bank’s network now covers all favored locations in major cities around the country, with the expansion to and in Da Nang, Hanoi, Hai Phong and Binh Duong - all busy financial centers - allowing for operations as a multi-function bank.

Shinhan Bank aims to attract more investments from South Korea and support Vietnamese corporate customers with these expansions.

It established Corporate Investment Banking (CIB) last year to provide Corporate Banking (CB) and Investment Banking (IB) services to customers. This network expansion therefore gives it more opportunities to serve a wide range of customers and support them to leverage their business with its international standard financial services.

In addition to CB services, Shinhan Bank’s four new branches and transaction offices also have the advantage of using digital banking to provide customers with financial products and services on the basis of advanced technology.

“Figures show that, in recent years, these cities, especially Da Nang, have seen thriving growth in the finance and banking industry,” according to a bank representative. “At the same time, the demand for financial products and services among people in these four cities is much higher and increasingly diversified. These factors promise to create favorable conditions for Shinhan Bank to expand its operational scale and sustainably grow in these local markets in the near future.”

Japanese-invested solar power plant inaugurated in Binh Dinh province

A solar power plant invested by Japan’s Fujiwara company was inaugurated in Quy Nhon city in the south central province of Binh Dinh on August 19, with Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh in attendance.

The project worth 1.3 trillion VND (55.9 million USD) is located at Nhon Hoi economic zone, covering 60 hectares. It is designed to have a capacity of 50 MWp.

After two years of construction, the plant was run on a trial basis from June 2019 and has now been put into official operation and joined the national grid.

Deputy PM Truong Hoa Binh expressed his appreciation for the project, the first of its kind of Fujiwara in Vietnam, which marks a new progress in diplomatic and investment relations between Vietnam and Japan.

The project also contributes to improving electricity capacity in renewable and clean energy that the Vietnamese Government is targeting, he said.

The Deputy PM asked Fujiwara Binh Dinh Co.Ltd., to operate the plant effectively and use more local workers, contributing to the local budget and socio-economic development.

Director of Binh Dinh power company Huynh Ngoc Viet said the solar power plant was connected to the 110kV Nhon Hoi power station, providing about 3,000 kWh with revenues of some 550 million VND.

Programme built to better use of trade remedies

A report on the building of a general programme for the use of trade remedies in several production industries are being compiled by the Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam (TRAV).

TRAV said the number of trade remedy investigations launched by Vietnam is very small compared to the probes into Vietnamese goods in other countries. Besides, duties imposed on imported products by Vietnam are also low compared to the rate of tariffs its exports have to face overseas.

That the interests of domestic producers haven’t been fully protected against imports and overseas trade remedy probes aboard could lead to local businesses’ loss of market share and workers’ job loss.

The agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade noted that the building of the report is the first step to synchronise analyses and assessments of the trade remedy situation in Vietnam so as to work out solutions for short, medium and long terms.

This report will focus on dealing with policy bottlenecks, facilitating access to resources for trade remedies and ensuring the effective implementation of these measures.

The general programme will benefit producers, exporters, importers, along with ministries and central agencies that are involved in trade remedy cases both at home and abroad. A number of industries will also be among the beneficiaries, including steel and iron, chemicals and chemical products, fertilizers and nitrogen compounds, wood, fisheries, and farm produce, according to TRAV.

Technology application in agriculture strengthened

The Vietnamese Party and State have in recent years urged the use of technology to boost socio-economic development. Technological advances have been widely applied in health care, construction, information, banking, tourism, and particularly agriculture.

The Ministry of Science and Technology has implemented an action program to mobilize resources, particularly from the private sector to invest in science, technology, and innovation and take advantage of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The Ministry has reviewed and restructured national science and technology programs to make businesses the center of a national creative innovation system.

At the 36th session of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Thursday, Minister of Science and Technology Chu Ngoc Anh highlighted the strategy to boost the support industry and mechanical engineering and increase budget allocations for science and technology.

The Minister said that to make businesses the center of policy, the Ministry has in recent years focused on supporting technology research, application, renovation, and transfer, developing production chains, and supporting technology companies.

Mr. Anh said “At recent technology trade fairs, more than 33,000 technologies have been transferred. Technology has been used in processing and post-harvest activities.”

Technology support for agriculture enterprises strengthened

The government has fine-tuned policies to create a favorable environment for science and technology, accelerate the commercialization of research results, develop the science and technology market, increase cooperation between research institutes and enterprises, and enable enterprises to participate in the 4th Industrial Revolution.

At the recent NA Standing Committee session, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said the government will continue to promote its science and technology development strategy in order to restructure the economy and shift the growth model.

Mr. Hue said “We need to accumulate land to attract big enterprises and boost the development of cooperatives and a collective economy to connect farmers with enterprises. We also need to increase the use of technology in production. We hope that by so doing we can increase the number of enterprises.”

The government has undertaken several measures to attract investment to high-tech zones, strengthen nurseries of innovation and high-tech enterprises, and develop a National Key Program on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Policies aimed at prioritizing science and technology, attracting overseas Vietnamese intellectuals, and supporting innovative entrepreneurship have been widely implemented.

B2B startup KiotViet lands $6 million from foreign investors

Vietnamese startup KiotViet has raised $6 million in a Series A funding round from Singaporean venture fund Jungle Ventures and Indonesian unicorn Traveloka.

KiotViet, a store management software provider launched in 2014, offers cloud-based point-of-sale sales management solutions to small and medium-sized enterprises.

The $6 million would be used to accelerate its expansion, especially in remote areas, diversify service segments and develop its leadership team, the company said.

Elsa Chandra, Assistant Vice President of Investment at travel booking startup Traveloka, and Grace Yun Xia, principal at Jungle Ventures, will join KiotViet’s management team.

KiotViet provides services to over 70,000 stores around the country.

It has been growing at 250 percent a year since its inception, and enlarged its payroll from 150 to 900 in 2019, said Cao Trong Kim Tri, Deputy General Director of Citigo Software, the company that owns KiotViet.

Jungle Ventures will help with the Vietnamese company’s expansion by advising on business strategy and hiring key personnel. It will also help KiotViet collaborate with more ecosystem players and explore future regional expansion.

"Vietnam is one of the most exciting markets in Southeast Asia to look at right now. Currently, around 66 percent of the country’s relatively young population of over 96 million people are connected to the Internet and we’re seeing an explosion in tech-focused retail areas such as e-commerce," said Yun Xia.

This is also the first time the Singaporean venture capital fund is investing in Vietnam, according to an official Jungle Ventures announcement.

Vietnamese startups raised a total of $899 million in 2018, most of which came to businesses targeting the consumer market such as e-commerce and fintech companies, according to Hanoi-headquartered multinational edu-tech company Topica.

Annual car sales to reach a million in 2025


Vietnam's annual car sales could more than triple in the next five years to reach a million in 2025.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade said this in a new report, adding that there is a rising demand among people to switch from motorbikes to cars as the country’s GDP per capita increases.

GDP per capita rose 8.3 percent against 2017 to $2,587 last year.

Passenger car sales in the last five years have grown 30-40 percent a year. However, the car industry's localization rate remains low at 40-55 percent for trucks and buses, and 7-10 percent for passenger cars, according to the ministry.

As most parts produced in the country are simple with low technology and value, the car industry lacks supply of components and has to import large volumes of car parts every year.

Among 1,800 car parts manufacturers in the country, only 300 are equipped to join the supply chain of multinationals, it said.

A weak-performing support industry has made Vietnam’s automobile production costs 10-20 percent higher than those of imports from other ASEAN countries.

This is why Vietnam is seeking to support local manufacturers. The Ministry of Industry and Trade is considering removing the special consumption tax on car parts produced in the country, which would apply for 5-10 years, covering cars with 9 seats or under.

It is also considering tax incentives for electric cars to promote the production and consumption of such vehicles.

Vietnam last year issued a decree to limit car imports in a bid to promote local auto manufacturing. As a result, the number of imported cars fell 20 percent, while VinFast, a unit of conglomerate Vingroup, became the country’s first fully fledged automaker in October by introducing its first two car models.

Car consumption in Vietnam last year was 288,683 units, up 6 percent from 2017, of which 68 percent were passenger cars, according to the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA).

Identifying opportunities for Vietnamese firms

The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement would provide a big impetus to Vietnam's exports to the EU and be key to Vietnamese companies penetrating one of the largest and most lucrative markets in the world, experts have said.

Jean Jacques Bouflet, deputy chairman of EuroCham in Vietnam, said Vietnam is only the second country after Singapore in Southeast Asia that has “privileged access” to Europe’s 500-million consumer market following the signing of the agreement in June.

Vietnam is among the top 10 exporters to the EU. It is the EU’s second biggest trade partner and largest exporter in Southeast Asia.

Speaking at a seminar titled “Identifying the opportunities for trade and investment in the context of EVFTA” in Ho Chi Minh City on April 14, Bouflet said Vietnam’s exports to the EU would increase by 20 percent in a decade and 40 percent in the following decade.

EU investment in Vietnam in key sectors such as automobiles and motorcycles, food, agriculture, aquaculture, green growth, transportation, and logistics have all contributed to its development, he said.

The EVFTA has a very short time frame for tariff reduction with many Vietnamese exports to the EU becoming exempt from tariffs within a few years.

Vietnam's competitors in the region such as China, Thailand and Malaysia have not signed a trade deal with the EU, but that does not mean they never would, and businesses must move quickly to take advantage while Vietnam is in an advantageous position, Bouflet said.

Nguyen Son Tra, deputy head of the WTO and trade negotiation division at the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s multilateral trade policy department, said the EU trade deal would be good for Vietnam since right in the first year after the deal takes effect taxes on 70.3 percent of the country’s exports to the EU would be reduced.

With a population of more than 500 million and a combined GDP of over 15 trillion USD, accounting for 22 percent of the world's GDP, the EU is an extremely large market and the largest exporter and importer in the world with annual trade of 3.8 trillion USD.

However, Vietnam’s trade with the bloc is focused on certain countries like Germany, France, the UK, Netherlands and Italy.

Thus, there remain other countries with huge potential and opportunities for Vietnamese enterprises to seize when the EVFTA comes into effect since they have strength in tropical agricultural products, fisheries, textiles and garments, footwear, and furniture, experts said.

Tra said the country must adhere to Rules of Origin (RO) when exporting to the EU, especially because traceability regulations in importing countries have become increasingly strict.

Bouflet said since the EU is a highly demanding market, so exporters should also meet food safety and hygiene standards and management procedures set by it and incorporate social responsibility and transparency of information related to labour and the production environment.

Besides, some kinds of seafood products must comply with IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing regulations.

A legal framework for the origins of Vietnamese products and products with “Made in Vietnam” labels should also be created, he said.

Producers’ self-certification of origin must comply with Vietnamese regulations as well as EVFTA requirements on RO to prevent origin fraud, he warned.

The use of modern methods would ensure strict control over goods’ authenticity, quality and origin, he added.

Real estate M & A attractive to investors

Investors are looking for industrial and logistics assets via forming joint-ventures with local industrial property developers or purchasing land and operating real estate, according to Jones LaSalle Vietnam Co. Ltd.

The company further said mergers and acquisitions (M & A) in real estate is a bright spot in the market. The shortage of high-tech assets, modern warehouses and strong demand from businesses are promoting the potential of domestic industrial realty market.

It said asset quality, lease price growth, transaction size and remaining time of land use rights are key factors that investors consider.

Property experts said foreign investors continue showing interest in the Vietnamese real estate market, proving the strong growth of M & A market.

Though M & A activities could slow down in the two remaining quarters, the Government’s existing policies will improve the market’s transparency.

Additionally, the shift of manufacturing bases from China to Southeast Asian countries will continue bringing benefits to the region, including Vietnam.

An Giang welcomes 44 new investment projects

The Mekong Delta province of An Giang has attracted 44 new investment projects with a total registered capital of over 5 trillion VND (217.3 million USD) since the beginning of this year, down five projects and over 10.2 trillion VND in value year-on-year.

In the eight months of this year, provincial authorities held exchanges and provided information for more than 20 domestic and foreign investors.

Le Van Nung, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said An Giang needs support from the Government, ministries and agencies to make it more attractive to investors.

The province will suggest authorities offer support in infrastructure involving transportation and logistics services, contributing to socio-economic development of the locality and the Mekong Delta, he said.

The official added that An Giang will also ask ministries and agencies to connect the province with international organisations, foreign trade and investment counselors, especially promising markets such as Australia, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea (RoK), Singapore, Israel, the US and several European countries, thus luring more foreign direct investment.

According to the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, the province will hold working trips to the RoK to boost investment in high-tech and agro-forestry processing as well as seek opportunities to sell rice, aquatic products and fruits during the remaining months of this year.

It will also send representatives to the Japan – Mekong Business Forum to be held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.

An Giang will also partner with the National Tourism Advisory Council to hold a consultation seminar on tourism development, and consider the provincial tourism marketing project.

Meeting of GMS Southern Tourism Corridor opens in Can Tho

Multilateral connectivity and cooperation in the formation of a high-quality tourist route was highlighted at the sixth Meeting of GMS Southern Tourism Corridor that took place in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on August 14.

The route is expected to offer interesting experiences to those using services jointly launched by Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar.

Representatives from the four countries and the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) sought measures to turn the transport corridor into the southern tourism corridor.

Ha Van Sieu, deputy head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said the southern corridor is a crucial transport route of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS).

This is one of the 11 major tourist routes of GMS countries, he said, adding that since 2015, the above-said four nations have partnered in tourism product development and promotion and supported one another in improving tourism development capacity.

Thong Rathasak, Deputy Director General at the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism, said tourism cooperation between Cambodia and other countries in the southern tourism corridor has been expanded over the past time.

Cambodia is implementing tourism cooperation projects with Vietnam, he said, adding that national flag carriers of the two countries have signed a memorandum of understanding on collaboration in operation.

A representative of the MTCO stressed the significance of IT applications and social networks in tourism promotion amidst the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Conference to promote Vietnam-Thailand trade

A conference is scheduled to take place in Thailand next month to promote trade between the country and Vietnam.

The event, slated for September 26 – 30, will feature more than 400 booths introducing a wide range of products in various fields, including agriculture, service, tourism, high technology, export – import and finance.

A seminar will also be held as part of the conference to help Vietnamese and Thai firms share experience and new business models to improve their capacity amidst the digital era. About 500 entrepreneurs representing companies from both countries are expected to attend this seminar.

The trade promotion conference will also help the countries’ businesses to seek trade partnership with those from nearly 30 countries and territories.

A working session on the conference organisation was held in central Nghe An province on August 14, gathering local officials and representatives of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs, the Business Association of Overseas Vietnamese and the Business Association of Thai Vietnam.

Vice Chairman of the Nghe An People’s Committee Le Ngoc Hoa affirmed that his province will send businesses to the conference in Thailand. It has assigned its investment promotion centre to work with relevant agencies to select participating companies and typical products to be introduced.

He said the northeastern region of Thailand is a potential market for goods of Vietnam, including Nghe An, to gain a firm foothold. The upcoming conference will be a chance for the province’s businesses to boost the export of local products such as processed farm produce, garment and handicrafts to Thailand.

Nghe An also encourages its enterprises to actively seek investment opportunities in Thailand, Hoa said, adding that at the event, it will call on firms of overseas Vietnamese to boost cooperation with local companies to invest in industrial parks.

Solutions needed to ensure State budget collection: resolution

The Government on August 13 issued a resolution asking for the Ministry of Finance to ensure the completion of State budget collection in 2019, as well as strict management over the budget.

Under the resolution following the Government’s regular meeting, which was held on August 1, the Government requested the ministry to promptly complete a project to expand tax base and prevent loss in State budget collection.

The ministry should effectively implement the national and ASEAN single-window mechanisms to facilitate trade, while coordinating with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and localities to strengthen the combat against smuggling, trade fraud and fake commodities, asked the Government.

The Government also requested the ministry to build legal foundation to deal with issues related to State-owned land in equitised companies, promoting the stock market, and encouraging the growth of business bonds.

At the same time, the ministry was urged to apply solutions to expand export markets, develop e-commerce and suitable e-payment methods, and speed up major industrial and power projects.

High-tech farming significant to improve sugarcane quality, productivity

Applying advanced technologies in the cultivation of sugarcane is important to improve quality and productivity of the giant tropical grass, Thai experts said at a conference held by Thanh Thanh Cong-Bien Hoa JSC in the southwestern province of Tay Ninh on August 13.

Sriwaranyoo Fontip, an agricultural expert from Thailand, introduced sugarcane cultivation processes in Thailand, which ensure 190 tonnes per hectare in productivity for Thai farmers (nearly triple the average yield in Vietnam).

She said the ideal time to plant sugarcane is between October and November.

Sugarcane growers should pay special attention to tilling the soil and ploughing must ensure soil is broken to help the roots of the plants reach nutrition and moisture, she said, adding chiseling to a depth of 50 centimetres will be adequate to break the hard compact sub-pan layer.

In addition, she recommended farmers have deep insight into water requirements of sugarcane in different growing stages of germination, tillering, grand growth, and maturation and ripening. Normally, an 11-month-old sugarcane plant needs some 1,500 millimetres of water per day.

According to Pham Hong Duong, Chairman of the Thanh Thanh Cong-Bien Hoa JSC, improving yield for sugarcane is among the keys to help the local sugar industry enhance its competitive edge and stabilise material zone and local livelihoods.

He said the sugar industry needs support from the Government, business community and farmers so it can develop sustainably in the context of deep global integration.

Statistics from the Vietnam Sugar Association (VSSA) showed sugar mills nationwide processed some 12 million tonnes of sugarcane as of the end of June, and produced nearly 1.2 million tonnes of sugar, down 20 percent year on year and 22 percent below the target.

The Thanh Thanh Cong-Bien Hoa JSC is investing and supporting capital as well as cultivating techniques for a material zone of 16,000 hectares in Tay Ninh province and Cambodia, which yield average 60-70 tonnes per hectare.

Southeastern, Mekong Delta regions – national growth engines

The Southeastern and Mekong Delta regions together have contributed up to 63.7 percent of the national gross domestic product (GDP), Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Van Trung said on August 14.

Speaking at a conference in Vinh Long province, the official said the Southeastern region has affirmed its locomotive role in national economic development, accounting for 45 percent of the national GDP.

Meanwhile, the Mekong Delta plays a key role in ensuring national food security as it contributes half of the country’s total food output, nearly 70 percent of seafood export value and 90 percent of rice export volume.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment reported that in the first six months of this year, the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) of the Southeastern region grew 7.9 percent, higher than the national average of 6.76 percent.

Its budget collection was nearly 298.05 trillion VND (12.85 billion USD), fulfilling 49.73 percent of the yearly target, and export turnover hit 46.82 billion USD.

The region expects to complete all socio-economic targets set in 2019, according to the ministry.

However, disbursement of public investment capital remained slow, with only 25.35 percent disbursed as of July 30, lower than the national rate of 36.16 percent.

During the January-June period, the Mekong Delta’s GRDP expanded about 7.5 percent and export value was 8.84 billion USD, up 11 percent year-on-year.

The region’s budget collection hit a record high of about 54.8 trillion VND, completing 64 percent of the estimate.

Of note, the region attracted 110 new projects with total registered capital of 975 million USD.

It is expected to fulfill 11 out of 14 targets set for 2019 by provincial People’s Councils.

The region’s public investment disbursement rate was 38.59 percent, higher than the national average.

The ministry also pointed out limitations in the two regions regarding the increase of businesses suspending operation, overloaded transport, small-scale agricultural models and poor infrastructure, especially the transport system.

Delegates at the conference proposed orientations and solutions to fuflil socio-economic development plans in 2020.

They suggested amending and supplementing policies in support of investment in agriculture and rural development, and developing specific policies on infrastructure development, particularly transport, for the Mekong Delta.

Online marketing forum focuses on personalised experience

The Vietnam Online Marketing Forum (VOMF) 2019 took place in Hanoi on August 14 under the themed “Personalised Experience”.

Dang Hoang Hai, Director of the Vietnam E-Commerce and Digital Economy Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said this year’s forum chose the theme because customers’ demand nowadays is diverse and changes continually.

Therefore, the personalisation of experience, advertisements and sales promotion is an inevitable trend that will help retail brands to boost their sales, he noted.

Le Minh Trang, a representative of Nielsen Vietnam, said companies need to specify the psychology of consumers born after 1995, 1980 and 1960 since each generation has different consumption habits and, therefore, needs different approaches.

She took the people born after 1995 as an example, noting that they have various likings and prefer exploring things on the internet, from tourism, fashion to films, games and chatting with friends, which are clearly reflected via their internet interactions.

Vietnam is currently taking the lead with 45 – 60 percent of its consumers accepting online shopping, she noted.

VOMF 2019 is the fourth of its kind held so far, gathering nearly 40 speakers from leading organisations and businesses in online marketing like Nielsen, Google, Facebook, Comscore, Amazon and Coc Coc.

Petrolimex records increased pre-tax profit in H1

The Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex) posted a consolidated pre-tax profit of 3.06 trillion VND (over 131.6 million USD) in the first half of 2019, up 8 percent year on year.

The profit is equivalent to 58 percent of the target set for this year, according to the group’s financial report recently submitted to the State Securities Commission of Vietnam.

Of the figure, nearly 1.63 trillion VND or 53 percent came from petroleum business activities.

In the reviewed period, the consolidated post-tax profit is 2.545 trillion VND. Meanwhile, the firm gained almost 91.7 trillion VND in consolidated net revenue, down 5 percent from the same period last year.

Petrolimex attributed its decline mainly to the year-on-year fall of 12 percent in global crude oil prices to 54.9 USD per barrel on average in the six months.

As a result, its contribution to the State budget also dropped 3 percent to 21.35 trillion VND, the firm said.

Hanoi leader expresses support for Japanese firms

Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung committed all possible support for Japanese enterprises via tax incentives, workforce training and housing for workers, during a reception on August 20 for chief of Japan’s Kawakami village Fujihara Tadahiko.

The Japanese official’s visit aimed to seek business opportunities in high-tech agriculture.

Chung said via cultural exchanges, tourism, investment and education, more of Japanese products have become popular in Vietnam and Hanoi in particular.

Recalling his working trip in Japan in June last year, including his tour of Kawakami village, Chung said Kawakami and Koganei Seiki company are outstanding models of Japan and the world towards products with the best quality.

The city’s leader said Hanoi wants to learn from Kawakami village’s development model in several areas with climate similar to the city’s, enhance cooperation in human resources training, high-tech agriculture, and business-to-business exchange.

Tadahiko, for his part, said collaboration between the village and Hanoi in particular across agriculture, human resources and technological transfer will also contribute to closer ties between the two nations.

He wished that Hanoi’s leaders would visit the village to discuss ways to extend cooperation potential.

On the occasion, leaders of Koganei Seiki company which specialises in spare parts for engines of aircraft, missiles and racing cars also expressed interest in building a high-tech mechanical plant in Hanoi.