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Military Bank (MBB) is planning to issue more than 43.2 million shares to its employees under the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).

This number is equal to 2 per cent of the bank’s charter capital.

The issue is expected in September or October, based on the list of employees on June 30.

The ESOP shares will be restricted to transfer for five years from the time the authority recognises the changes in the bank’s charter capital and its business registration certificate.

This move is part of the bank’s plan of hiking its charter capital. Last month, Military Bank decided to issue more than 169 million shares to pay shareholders dividends at the rate of 8 per cent.

MBB is expected to increase its charter capital by 20 per cent to VND25.84 trillion (US$1.1 billion) from current VND21.6 trillion this year.

After the dividend and ESOP shares issues, the bank will offer 258.4 million shares, equivalent to 10 per cent of the new charter capital, in a private placement. This issue is planned at the third or last quarter of this year.

In a related development, MBB announced it would buy back its bonds worth VND524 billion ($22.5 million) out of nearly VND3 trillion bonds issued last year.

South Korean investors unveil smart urban area plans for Long An Province

With its excellent geographical location for trade and economic development and the potential to become the country’s leading agricultural hub, Long An Province is ideal for developing a smart urban area, according to experts.

Le Thanh, director of the Institute of Organic Agricultural Economics, said as a gateway connecting HCM City and the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta and with its excellent transport system, it has everything required to become an agricultural - industrial smart urban area.

Speaking at the “Long An authorities exchange experience with experts and South Korean investors towards developing a smart agricultural – industrial urban area” seminar, he said with sea levels rising in the Mekong Delta area, Long An would see a wave of migration in the future.

Therefore, developing smart cities is suitable, he added.

Besides, Viet Nam has 1.86 million hectares under fruits and vegetables, and produces 2.6 million tonnes a year, but only has 150 processing plants, and Long An, with its prime location and favourable natural conditions, will be a good place for building smart farms, smart factories and warehouses.

Lee Gyeong Taek, CEO of Lavi E&C JSC, said South Korean investors have set their sights on ​​10,000ha of land near the Vam Co River.

They plan to develop a self-sufficient urban area with smart farms, hi-tech agricultural processing plants, universities to train human resources, smart flower gardens, and smart cattle breeding areas, he said.

They also plan to build the largest lake in the country in the project in the smart urban area to make it an attractive destination for local and international visitors, he revealed.

Explaining why the Korean investors chose this area, he said they could take advantage of the river water to irrigate agricultural land in summer when there is often a shortage.

The convergence of overland and waterway transport networks enables the area to trade with leading provinces and cities in the Southern Key Economic Region and surrounding areas, he pointed out.

He said building a smart city would bring benefits to the province such as helping it develop clean and green agriculture, and produce and process agricultural products right in urban areas.

As for selling the products, he said they would be supplied in the domestic market but also exported to Hong Kong, mainland China, Japan, and Singapore.

Other South Korean investors said the province should focus more on transport infrastructure, human resource training and building hi-tech logistics infrastructure.

They wanted it to connect Provincial Road 818 in Thu Thua District with the HCM City-Trung Luong Expressway, and dredge canal linking the Vam Co Dong and Vam Co Tay rivers.

Pham Van Ranh, secretary of the Long An Party Committee and chairman of its People's Council, said, new models in line with global integration trends are needed to develop the province quickly and sustainably.

The ideas proposed to develop smart agricultural - industrial urban areas promise bright prospects for the province's development, he said.

The province wants to find investors who are enthusiastic about the project and could complete in the shortest time, he said.

It would create the most favourable conditions for investors, he promised.

Inbound remittances to HCM City rise by 8%

Remittances to HCM City reached US$3.45 billion in the first eight months of the year, a year-on-year increase of 8 per cent, according to Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the State Bank of Viet Nam’s HCM City branch.

Remittances to HCM City are expected to top $5 billion for the whole year, he said.

According to MoneyGram, a global provider of money transfer services, remittances to Viet Nam last year reached $18.9 billion, a year-on-year increase of 37 per cent.

Viet Nam's inbound remittances rank among the top 10 countries in the world and second in Southeast Asia after the Philippines, it said. Remittances to Viet Nam came from more than 4.5 million overseas Vietnamese as well as a large number of guest workers abroad.

Sheshagiri (Sukesh) Malliah, MoneyGram regional head for the Indian Subcontinent, Malaysia and Indochina, said: “The US, Canada, Australia and France have a dominant Vietnamese diaspora. Taiwan, South Korea and Japan are upcoming migration corridors with a surge in migration of workers.”

In the last few years the volume of remittances from the US to Viet Nam has relentlessly increased. “We are fairly confident that the number will even grow further.”

According to money transfer and remittance companies, remittances to Viet Nam mainly go through four channels – commercial banks, economic institutions, customs or posts. About 72 per cent of the remittances are transferred to the country via commercial banks.

Le Thanh Trung, deputy CEO of HDBank, said remittances to Viet Nam continued to increase strongly thanks to the country’s flexible and stable exchange rate policy.

People who receive remittances tend to exchange foreign currencies for Vietnamese dong to enjoy higher deposit interest rates. The rate on deposits in US dollars has been at zero for more than two years.

Regarding inbound remittances this year, Trung and leaders of many other commercial banks have said that inbound remittances would increase significantly compared to last year.

VPBank targets 50 million treasury stocks

The Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank) in the fourth quarter will buy back 50 million shares, equal to 2 per cent of its total outstanding shares.

The buyback will turn 50 million common shares to treasury shares. Buying price is estimated between VND20,000 (US$0.86) and VND24,000 per share.

The bank will spend its undistributed net profit buying those treasury shares. Undistributed net profit of 2018 financial year is now VND6.25 trillion ($268.75 million).

According to VPBank, the share buyback aims to boost the bank’s share price and increase the earnings-per-share ratio for shareholders.

VPBank’s shares are listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange as VPB. They gained 1 per cent to trade at VND20,450 per share on Friday.

The bank debuted on HoSE on August 14, 2017 at VND23,500. Its shares touched the highest level of VND42,000 per share on April 2, 2018.

VPBank’s management board told analysts last week that the buyback will not pressurise its capital adequacy ratio, which was 11.2 per cent in June-end – much higher than Basel II par of 8 per cent. The bank’s owner equity capital as of June 2019 was VND38.2 trillion.

The buyback will not also affect the bank’s capital which aims to expand business activities and the bank still has different options to raise capital, the management board said.

In the first seven months of 2019, VPBank earned VND5.3 trillion worth of pre-tax profit, fulfilling 56 per cent of its full-year target. The bank is confident it will beat this year’s target.

VPBank has a 7 per cent room for foreign investors to jump in. At the bank’s annual shareholder meeting in late April 2019, shareholders approved the bank plan to issue private shares for foreign investors but it has not been executed yet because the bank shares are declining and the market trading is not ideal.

In July, VPBank raised $300 million from listing international bond notes on the Singapore Exchange, marking the biggest bond issuance made by a Vietnamese firm.

Central economic body calls for policy feedback from businesses

The business community in Viet Nam is encouraged to put forward ideas and solutions to the country’s policy-making process, said the Communist Party of Viet Nam's Central Economics Committee (CEC).

The State and Party welcome businesses’ inputs and hold in high regard their contribution to national socio-economic development, said Nguyen Van Binh, Politburo member and head of the CEC at a conference held on Tuesday.

The conference marked the first time the CEC called for the business community to give their feedback and recommendations on the country’s existing and pending policies. The CEC will start collecting feedback and suggestions immediately from now until the end of the year.

Tran Thanh Man, Chairman of the Central Committee of Vietnam Fatherland Front said the CEC’s new initiative is in line with the will of the Party’s central committee.

As the business community is directly affected by current and future policies, it’s imperative that they will have a voice in the process of building and improving such policies, said Man.

The ultimate goal is to create policies that are most suitable to Viet Nam’s business environment, which helps improve business transparency and deliver robust economic growth, he added.

Sound policies and an improved business environment are to play a crucial role in the country’s economic development in the future, said Vu Tien Loc, Chairman and President of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He said ideas and solutions from businesses, regardless of their size and sector, are equally welcomed and will be transferred to relevant agencies for review.

Dr. Tran Dinh Thien, member of the Council of Economic Advisers to the Prime Minister and former head of the Vietnam Institute of Economics said this is an opportunity to invite overseas Vietnamese businessmen, who possess a greater understanding of the global integration process and high-tech fields, to participate.

At the conference, the CEC introduced the initiative's official website at

Wood processing companies should embrace technologies, new production models

Vietnamese wood processing firms need to rethink their production models and embrace technologies to increase their competitiveness amid current and future challenges, delegates said at a seminar held in HCM City on Tuesday.

Nguyen Chanh Phuong, deputy chairman of the Handicrafts and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (HAWA), said the wood processing industry faced four challenges, including fierce competition in the market due to an increasing number of FDI enterprises and a fast and large shift of foreign investors coming to Viet Nam, resulting in a shortage of labourers.

In addition, it faced low labour productivity and the impact of digitalisation in the industry’ s processing, administration, design and trade.

Nguyen Quoc Khanh, HAWA chairman, said in the first five months of the year, foreign investment capital in the country, according to the Foreign Investment Agency, was nearly 1.2 times higher than last year’s total FDI capital flowing into the country.

Of the number, there were 49 new projects investing in the wood industry (32 in wood processing), equivalent to 73 per cent of total FDI projects investing in the sector last year, he said.

This figure showed the reality of competition in the very near future. If enterprises stopped at their current capability levels, they would fail in the competition ahead.

Vietnamese wood processing enterprises, on the one hand, had to solve internal problems to ensure product quality and meet existing orders, while increasing productivity and innovation to be able to retain existing customers and get new ones. On the other hand, they must be flexible and increase their competitive advantages to stand firm and be in front for future changes, he said.

“Businesses need a serious and effective strategy. They need to have a new vision and deep thinking, in which the key to solving these two problems at the same time can only be investment in technology.

“With the advancement of CNC precision technology, combining new technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing, and robots, woodworking technologies have reached surprising development levels, offering businesses a lot of opportunities to improve quality, control progress, reduce dependence on labour and increase production,” Khanh said.

But when choosing technologies to invest, businesses should base their real needs and development plans in the coming years to make their investment efficient, he said.

Leslie Lye, sales manager for the Weinig Group, said with the changes in consumer buying behaviour and the availability of new technology, there has been a shift in customers’ buying requirements. Instead of buying furniture manufactured in bulk, customers are increasingly buying personalized furniture to meet their requirements. The production cost of customised furniture must be comparable to the mass-produced product.

“To fulfil market needs, furniture manufacturers need to develop a system to cater for personalized design and production management for orders with difference batches.”

Vietnamese factories have been making greater technological investments compared to other Southeast Asia countries. The investment for the 4.0 Industry era should start now or as soon as possible, he said.

“Of course, the technological investment must help solve all the urgent orders first, to match the production to the current customer’s needs, and to maximise profit as much as possible at that point of time. But in the long run, the company should foresee what technology in Industry 4.0 is offering to optimise the wood working process, so they can invest in technology wisely and correctly to obtain a consistent profit and a sustainable business.”

In addition to investment in technology, delegates at the seminar agreed that investment in qualified human resources who can understand and be able to operate this kind of equipment and technologies is also very important.

Organised by HAWA and Yorkers Trade and Marketing Services Co, the “Rethinking Wood Processing Models” seminar was a pre-event of the 13th International Woodworking Industry Fair (Vietnam Wood), which will be held in HCM City’s Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre from September 18 to 21.

Jantin Lam from Yorkers Trade and Marketing Service Co said VietnamWood will feature more than 1,000 advanced machines and equipment of 483 exhibitors, providing an opportunity for Vietnamese firms in the sector to update technologies.

According to HAWA, Viet Nam’s import of wood processing machinery and equipment increased from US$220 million in 2017 to $280 million last year. The figure is expected to rise by 25 per cent this year.

The country’s wood product export revenue was $9 billion from last year and is targeted to reach $11 billion this year.

ASEAN, India review free trade agreement on goods

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and India have agreed to review their free trade agreement (FTA) signed in 2009 to make it more business-friendly and boost bilateral economic ties.

The two sides also decided to set up a joint committee for this purpose, according to a statement released after the meeting between economic ministers of ASEAN and Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal in Bangkok on September 10.

The ministers agreed to initiate the review of the bilateral trade pact in goods to make it more user-friendly, simple, and trade facilitative for businesses, the statement said.

The ministers tasked officials to work on the details of the review of the agreement and submit an update in the next ministerial meeting.

Both sides also received the recommendations of the ASEAN-India business council to further promote the bilateral trade potential through optimising the FTA as well as cooperation in some areas such as financial technology, connectivity, startups, and innovation.

Trade between ASEAN and India increased to 80.8 billion USD in 2018 from 73.6 billion USD in 2017. However, India was not satisfied with the rising trade deficit with ASEAN since the bilateral FTA in goods took effect in January 2010.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam.

Greece increases imports of Vietnamese tuna

Vietnam’s tuna exports to Greece increased 104 percent year-on-year to reach nearly 1.8 million USD by the end of July 2019, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

The association noted that while the country’s tuna exports to the European Union (EU) declined, exports to Greece enjoyed impressive growth.

The export value of canned processed tuna to the EU accounted for more than 94 percent of Vietnam’s total tuna exports to the market.

Greek customers tend to favour Italian canned tuna. However, since 2016, demand for such high-quality products has been declining due to price hikes.

Therefore, Greece has increased imports of canned tuna from Asian countries with Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and Turkey being the biggest suppliers.

Vietnam promotes organic agricultural production

Vietnam has about 76,666 hectares of land for organic agricultural production, ranking seventh in Asia and third in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) revealed at a seminar in Hanoi on September 5.

However, the ministry, said the number remains moderate as compared with a total of 26.8 million ha of farming land nationwide.

Experts at the seminar pointed out factors hindering organic agricultural production in Vietnam such as small scale of production and lack of production and consumption strategies, along with issues regarding product diversity and quality.

To remove these difficulties and promote organic farming production, the MARD has consulted experts and producers about the project on developing organic agriculture in Vietnam for 2020-2030 with a combined investment of 36.49 trillion VND (1.5 billion USD).

Under the project, land for organic agricultural production will account for 1.5-3 percent of the total area of farming land by 2025. The rate is set at 7-10 percent by 2030, with major products such as rice, vegetables, fruit, pharmaceutical products, coffee and pepper.

The ministry expects to complete the project and submit it to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in the fourth quarter of this year.

Statistics reveal that in 2018, the EU imported over 3 million tonnes of organic products from Vietnam, with 24 percent fruits, nuts and spices; and 22 percent cereals, among others.

Chinese holiday-makers allowed to continue driving to Ha Long

Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh has given approval for the northern province of Quang Ninh People’s authorities to continue allowing Chinese tourist cars to drive directly to Ha Long City.

Driving tours through the border have become a new attraction after the launch of the Mong Cai - Dongxing route in November 2016.

Chinese holiday-makers allowed to continue driving to Ha Long

Chinese tourists have been allowed to drive to Vietnam between January and December 2018.


Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh has permitted the province to continue this until June 30 this year.

Quang Ninh must co-operate with concerned agencies to ensure the safety during the implementation and inform the government of problems.

The province also needs to evaluate how much of an impact it has on the economy for submission to the government.

Firms face challenges as e-commerce booms

As the Vietnamese e-commerce market booms, businesses still face many challenges to stay afloat.

This statement was made by Matthew Heller, director at Google-Channel Sales South East Asia and India, at the "E-commerce Day 2019" seminar organised by Novaon Internet Corporation and Google, attracting more than 400 e-commerce businesses in the northern region.

According to a report by Google and Temasek, the size of the Vietnamese e-commerce market will increase by 5.3 times in the next seven years from US$2.8 billion in 2018 to $15 billion in 2025.

Speaking at the event, Matthew Heller said e-commerce has been growing at a dizzying rate of more than 43 per cent per year. The proportion of e-commerce revenue in the entire retail channel will increase from 3 per cent in 2018 to more than 10 per cent in 2025.

However, millions of e-commerce businesses are still facing challenges including difficulties with building and designing websites, advertising techniques and policies, expanding sales channels and sales management strategies, Heller said.

The average size of an e-commerce company in Viet Nam is still quite small at just about 10 orders per day with an average order value of VND200,000 ($8.60). Their average monthly income is about VND40-60 million per month.

Because they remain so small, solutions are needed to help businesses overcome difficulties to grow and thrive, and tap the great potential of e-commerce, he said.

At the event, Novaon Internet Corporation introduced its online sales platform Onshop, which can help solve problems for millions of e-commerce companies in Viet Nam.

The Onshop platform offers users a package solution from starting a sales channel to expanding sales channels, advertising techniques, website designs and sales management, said Nguyen Kim Tuyen, technology director of Onshop.

It also helps businesses connect their websites with other sales channels such as social networks, shops and other e-commerce platforms like Shopee and Tiki to create a multi-sales system, increasing efficiency and reducing operating costs.

Shark tank Season 3 teams up with NextTech

In mid-season of Shark Tank Season 3, the TV show on Wednesday unveiled a partnership with NextTech Group to launch “the second chance” programme to help start-ups who have not found investment through training programmes and mentorships.

Nguyen Hoa Binh, founder cum chairman of NextTech, who claim to be 'the start-up soulmate', officially joined Shark Tank Season 3, seeking investment opportunities for NextTech’s new start-up fund Next100.

Binh will provide a second opportunity for start-ups who have yet to find investment in Shark Tank Viet Nam.

Next100 will provide training programmes and mentorship for up to 100 tech start-ups.

“The company wishes to provide resources and contribute to Viet Nam’s start-up ecosystem, boosting its competitiveness in the region. We emphasise the need to support start-ups at the early stage, therefore, we position ourselves as a 'soulmate' to help these start-up founders to achieve their targets in the shortest time with optimal cost,” Binh said.

It is estimated Viet Nam has about 1,000 technology start-up projects every year, but nearly 92 per cent of those fail in the first three years, mostly because they can't find the right markets and lack a supporting ecosystem.

Understanding start-ups’ difficulties, the Next100 fund of US$10 million combines venture builder, ecosystem and venture capital to support start-ups.

The goal of the fund is to collaborate with many entrepreneurs to find a long-term and sustainable growth formula for start-ups, laying groundwork for 100 tech entrepreneurs to succeed in Viet Nam and other Southeast Asian countries using NextTech resources.

A pioneer of tech start-ups in Viet Nam since 2011, NextTech Group has nearly 20 years in the market with a technology ecosystem of some 20 companies operating in Viet Nam, China and other eight Southeast Asian countries, covering e-commere, financial technology, logistics and technology education.

Referred to as the 'Alibaba of Viet Nam' by Technode, a large Asian technology news website, NextTech was voted in the 10 most influential internet business in Viet Nam during 2007-17.

Steel firm Pomina to raise capital by 15 per cent

Pomina Steel Corporation (Pomina) plans to issue more than 36.33 million shares to raise its charter capital by 15 per cent to VND2.8 trillion (US$120.2 million).
Every shareholder will receive 15 new shares for each 100 shares they own. The share issuance will be funded by the firm’s undistributed post-tax profit recorded on June 30.

The share issuance matches the company’s dividend payout plan approved at its annual shareholder meeting on April 26.

Pomina currently has VND2.43 trillion of charter capital.

In the first half of the year, Pomina earned nearly VND6.2 trillion in total revenue, down 6.8 per cent yearly. The company posted a loss of VND132 billion in the six-month period.

As of June 30, Pomina had VND526 billion worth of undistributed post-tax profit, VND701 billion worth of investment and development fund and VND35 billion worth of share premium.

Pomina is listing more than 243.3 million shares on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE: POM). Its shares have shed more than 55 per cent in value since October 8, 2018 to end August 27 at VND6,500 per share.

HCM City infrastructure firm to sell treasury shares

The HCM City Infrastructure Investment Joint Stock Company (CII) wants to offload 35.3 million treasury shares for at least VND32,650 (US$1.40) per share.

The company expects to receive at least VND1.15 trillion ($49.5 million) from the deal. CII shares are listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE: CII) and dropped 1.2 per cent yesterday to VND20,050 per share.

The company bought treasury shares to help cushion its share price on the stock market.

According to the firm’s first-half financial report, the 35.5 million treasury shares are equal to 12 per cent of the company’s charter capital.

Those shares were previously bought for VND21,100 per share, making the total value VND852 billion.

In the last two months, CII has raised VND1 trillion by issuing bonds. The figure includes VND800 billion worth of fixed-interest bonds (9.5 per cent per year).

In the first half of 2018, CII earned VND1 trillion in total revenue, down 35 per cent year on year.

But financial income was up 67 per cent yearly to VND489 billion, helping CII increase its post-tax profit by 68 per cent to VND68 billion.

Vietjet pays $101 million on share buyback

Budget airline Vietjet (VJC) has repurchased 17.77 million shares of the company on the stock market, equivalent to nearly 3.3 per cent of the airline’s charter capital, the company said.

This number of shares was lower than its initial buyback plan of 25 million shares.

The average buying price was VND132,062 (US$5.67) per share which meant the airline spent nearly VND2.35 trillion (roughly $101 million) on the buyback.

In its filing to the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange on Wednesday, the company attributed the reason for not buying the number of registered shares to inadequate liquidity in the market.

After the purchase, outstanding Vietjet shares decreased from 541.6 million to 532.84 million.

According to market analysis, the current price of Vietjet’s shares is at a good range for the company to invest.

Many securities companies have reckoned Vietjet’s shares would be included in the portfolios of the two exchange-traded funds – FTSE Vietnam UCITS ETF and VanEck Vectors Vietnam ETF – in their last quarter restructuring this week.

Shares of the company dropped 0.3 per cent on Thursday to VND132,000 a share.

In the first half of this year, the airline reported an increase of nearly 24 per cent in total revenue to VND23.6 trillion and 4.3 per cent rise in net profit of VND2.08 trillion.

In recent times, many big companies and banks have registered to buy back a large number of treasury shares to stabilise their prices in the stock market.

Ho Chi Minh Development Bank (HDB) are seeking shareholders’ opinions on buying back shares with a maximum rate of 5 per cent of its total outstanding shares. Meanwhile, Vietnam Prosperity Bank (VPB) approved a repurchase plan of up to 10 per cent of its total shares.

In March, Military Bank (MBB) bought back 47 million shares out of its total 108 million shares.

HCM City hosts annual Tech Summit

With an increasing amount of data and faster processing power, AI, blockchain, cloud and data technologies are increasingly applied in almost every industry, opening up new business opportunities and attracting new investments, experts told a tech summit in HCM City on Thursday.

More than 300 executives from leading tech firms and start-ups participated in the summit organised by Nhip Cau Dau Tu magazine to discuss the application of ABCD (AI-blockchain-cloud-data) in transforming business models and shared success stories about Vietnamese and international start-ups.

According to US research firm Tractica, AI-based applications are expected to earn revenues of US$59.7 billion a year by 2025.

Experts said AI leverages algorithms to predict demand, increase product keyword search rankings and suggest similar products and services and how to display products and prevent counterfeiting.

The impact of AI is hard to perceive but silently improves the core operations of a business, they said.

AI is used in a diverse range of businesses to increase sales, make product recommendations on e-commerce sites and analyse consumer behaviour to increase demand, they said.

The development trends in AI in the near future would focus on processing neural networks and natural languages, and this would be an opportunity for Vietnamese start-ups to explore potential co-operation and investment opportunities, they said.

Big data is a field that treats ways to analyse, systematically extract information from, or otherwise deal with data sets that are too large or complex to be dealt with by traditional data-processing application software, according to experts.

In addition, when combined with other technology applications like AI, big data helps analyse customers’ behaviours and hobbies more accurately.

Nguyen Minh Duc, deputy director of Ernst & Young Viet Nam, said the world is witnessing and taking advantage of technological development, which is changing lives and creating jobs in new fields and new business opportunities.

It is also changing the system of communication between people and between people and machines.

In this context, Viet Nam is catching up on new technological trends such as IoT, AI and block chain on the back of Government policies and innovative start-up ideas.

While Vietnamese technology companies are attracting investments worth hundreds of millions of dollars, there is no Vietnamese unicorn start-up yet though there are many in the region, he said.

Talking about the start-up ecosystem in Viet Nam, Le Hoang Uyen Vy, executive partner at ESP Capital, said the country is a promising destination for investors thanks to its economic stability and “golden” population.

Two years ago, Viet Nam only ranked fifth out of six Southeast Asian countries in terms of the amount of money and number of start-up investments, but since last year has risen to third, she said.

In the first half of this year, Vietnamese start-ups have mobilised a total of US$246 million, she said.

More and more Vietnamese companies are valued at $500 million, and it is expected many would be valued $1 billion next year, she added.

The annual Tech Summit, titled “The Power of ABCD”, highlighted how technology trends in AI, blockchain, big data and cloud computing are reshaping the world and changing the way people interact and work together.

It provided a platform for leading international and local entrepreneurs, policymakers and start-up executives to discuss visions and ideas related to new technological trends, new solutions and the latest information on new and creative products and their perspectives on creating a unicorn in Viet Nam.

Other topics on the agenda were technology investment in Viet Nam, AI value in the financial industry and application of block chain to decentralise e-commerce.

The event was led by leading local and regional technology firms such as YellowBlocks, Smartly Pte, Logivan, Go-Viet, ESP Capital Partner, PowerSteam, and Tugo. 

Viet Nam needs balance between modern and traditional distribution

With the rapid development of the domestic market, Viet Nam needs to balance modern and traditional distribution channels, according to experts.

The insiders were speaking at a seminar on co-operation in the distribution industry between Viet Nam and South Korea held in Ha Noi on Wednesday by Viet Nam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and the South Korean-based Reshaping Development Institute (ReDI).

The event was part of co-operation between MoIT and ReDI to implement the Capacity Building Project for Inclusive Development of Viet Nam's Distribution Industry (LOTTE-KOICA project).

Speaking at the seminar, Tran Duy Dong, head of the MoIT's Domestic Markets Department, said as part of a project on developing Viet Nam’s distribution industry, a group of Vietnamese and Korean researchers have published a report on co-operation policy and ways to boost the competitiveness and growth of the Vietnamese sector.

According to the group, the core issue that challenges the development of the industry is a conflict between the modern and large-scale distribution system and the traditional market model.

Dong said the MoIT will continue working to modernise the distribution industry and balance the modern and traditional systems.

To develop and manage the domestic distribution industry, besides finding a harmonised solution on development between large enterprises, including foreign invested enterprises, and millions of small- and medium-sized enterprises, the experts suggested it is necessary to pay attention to the role of traditional markets.

Speaking at the seminar, Nguyen Thanh, Director of Thua Thien - Hue Province’s Department of Industry and Trade, said traditional markets face difficulties related to outdated infrastructure as well as food safety and product origin problems.

Consumers, particularly in urban areas, are switching to shopping at malls and buying products online, causing the system to become stagnant, he added.

Thanh said there is a need for investment in improving these markets’ infrastructure and developing professional operations and services at wholesale markets.

Capacity training for market managers and technology training among sellers are also necessary, he said.

Dong said Viet Nam's retail market has been developing strongly due to the advantage of a large population at more than 90 million people, of which young people account for a high proportion. Besides that, the domestic economy is recovering with rapid growth.

By using technology in the retail sector, the domestic retail market is becoming more attractive with many kinds of distribution channels.

A representative of South Korea’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Energy said that after nearly 30 years of establishing co-operation, South Korea is the second largest trade partner and the largest investor to Viet Nam.

Korean distribution enterprises, including LOTTE Mart, invested in Viet Nam 10 years ago with the scale of US$1 billion and the enterprises have maintained a strong investment.

Many large supermarkets have entered the Vietnamese market, becoming businesses that play an important role in the development of the distribution industry in Viet Nam, the representative was quoted by Cong thuong (Industry and Trade) magazine as saying.

Viet Nam keen to modernise the shipping industry

Viet Nam is currently making efforts to modernise shipbuilding and the shipping industry to increase quality with reasonable cost, save energy and minimise pollution.

The statement was made by Director of the Transport Ministry’s International Cooperation Department Le Tuan Anh at a seminar on the industry jointly held by the Association of Asian Classification Societies (ACS) and Register Vietnam in the northern province of Quang Ninh last week.

“Viet Nam wanted to improve the industry’s quality and enhance competitiveness to actively integrate in the region and the world,” Anh said.

At the seminar, experts from ACS, Active Shipbuilding Experts’ Federation, Asian Ship owners’ Association and research institutes and businesses, shared experience on building and implementing regulations on safety and environment protection for vessels, offshore petroleum works, and accessing to advanced shipbuilding and shipping technologies in the world.

According to head of the ACS’s Technology Management Team Pham Hai Bang, the ACS will organise the seminar annually, sharing the global development trend of environmental issues, safety and ACS activities in this area.

“We will announce reports and statistics of the ACS ship fleets’ shortcomings, helping ship-owners minimize shortcomings in the operation,” Bang said.

The ACS was officially established on February 1, 2010, with seven members including Indonesia Register (BKI), China Register (CCS), Japan Register (NK), Indian Register (IRS), Korean Register (KR), Malaysia Register (SCM) and Vietnam Register (VR).

Vietnamese export products face stricter non-tariff barriers in EU

Viet Nam's agricultural products need to meet the stricter requirements applied by the EU from September 1, 2019, to promote exports to this market as well as others, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

MARD’s Plant Protection Department said that from September 1, 2019, the EU has applied strict phytosanitary requirements for many kinds of agricultural products imported from countries outside the EU, including Viet Nam.

To avoid affecting Viet Nam's agricultural exports, the department has asked the sub-departments of plant quarantine to inspect Viet Nam’s shipments to the EU according to this market’s plant quarantine regulations.

For exported citrus fruits and mangoes, they must be from gardens that have been checked by plant quarantine offices and guaranteed free from pests and diseases, the department said. Information about those issues must be recorded in the phytosanitary certificate to ensure traceability.

Dao The Anh, Deputy Director of the Viet Nam Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said Europe is a market with many high requirements for technical standards, quality regulations and especially high food safety. It has strictly controlled import products and traceability. Therefore, Vietnamese businesses need changes to uphold the reputations of their goods and brands.

Economic expert Ngo Tri Long said that quality is the only path for local agricultural products in the promotion of exports. This requires businesses to invest in the processing stage.

To participate in the world market, including the European market with its strict trade barriers, Vietnamese goods must ensure quality. Processing could ensure this. The processing stage not only helps to increase export value, but also ensures the sustainable development of exports, Long told the Dai doan ket (Great Unity) newspaper.

Dong Nai calls on investment in agricultural projects

The southern province of Dong Nai is giving the green light to foreign and domestic businesses to develop 52 agricultural production chain projects.

The projects will receive financial support of more than VND558 billion (US$24.2 million), VND79 billions of which will be from State budget.

They will concentrate on national-and provincial-level products and local specialties, meeting market demand and adapting to climate change.

These chains will be developed in seven districts and Long Khanh City, targeting local produce such as mango, corn, orange, tangerine, dragon fruit, pomelo, rambutan, banana, pepper and durian. Besides 46 production chains in cultivation, there will be five in animal husbandry and one in aquaculture.

The province has so far launched 16 projects with the 12 businesses and 16 co-operatives taking part on more than 5,500ha of land. The projects have increased output of agricultural crops, helping more than 3,000 farming households sell 52,700 tonnes of products this year.