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The total output of bird’s nests is expected to reach 160 tonnes of unprocessed bird’s nests in 2025.


Vietnam's birds nest exports are expected to swell in the coming years.

According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien, procedures needed to export bird’s nests to China are almost completed. Vietnam expects to ship the first batch of this product to China in the first quarter of 2021, the world’s largest bird’s nest consumption market.

Do Tu Quan, head of the Vietnam Swiftlet Farming Association, said the total output of unprocessed bird’s nests is expected to reach 160 tonnes in 2025. Most of the output will be exported to China to the tune of 100 tonnes, earning 150 million USD.

The remaining 60 tonnes will be processed to 42 tonnes of clean bird’s nests. Of which, it expects to ship 16.8 tonnes of clean bird’s nests to Singapore and 8.4 tonnes to the US with export values of 58.8 million USD and 29.4 million USD, respectively. The rest of the clean bird’s nests will be consumed in the domestic market.

In 2021 the domestic swift breeding industry expects to achieve a turnover of about 3 trillion VND. The turnover is predicted to surge to 6 trillion VND in 2025 if Vietnam develops a production chain of bird’s nests, processing technology for bird’s nests products and develops markets with many trade promotion activities for this product.

Quan said Vietnam needs to build a brand name for Vietnamese bird’s nests in the world market together with the development of production chains for this product, Nong nghiep Viet Nam (Vietnam Agriculture) newspaper reported.

In recent years, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has actively promoted exports of bird’s nests to foreign markets, including China. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, negotiations to export the product to China have mainly been conducted via online meetings and procedures are almost completed, said Deputy Director of the MARD's Department of Livestock Breeding Nguyen Van Trong.

Trong noted that Vietnamese bird’s nests eligible for export could meet a third of the demand in the Chinese market, opening huge opportunities for this multi-million-dollar industry.

Forty-two out of 63 provinces and cities in Vietnam participate in the swift breeding industry with a total of 20,000 birdhouses and an annual volume of approximately 120 tonnes, worth about 450 million USD.

Vietnam’s swift breeding industry began to thrive in 2010, with the volume accounting for 3 percent of the global bird’s nests production. The southern province of Kien Giang has the largest number of birdhouses at 2,600.

Although bird’s nests are a speciality of high economic value in Vietnam and one of the 10 most expensive dishes in the world, their production value remains low and cannot be compared with traditional agricultural products, and they have yet to be classified in the group of national key products./.

Laos – Vietnam Cooperation Committee opens official portal

The official portal of the Laos – Vietnam Cooperation Committee was put into operation at a ceremony in Vientiane on January 21.

The site was the outcome of the first phase of a project sponsored by Startech, a Vietnamese IT company operating in Laos. The second phase will build a software to serve the committee’s project and administrative management.

Speaking at the ceremony, Lao Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment and Vice Chairman of the committee Khamphuei Keokinaly stressed the launch of the website presents an opportunity for the committee to boost its employment of advanced science and technology serving its work in a new period.

The website is a tool to spread information on Laos’ policies for attracting foreign investors, including those from Vietnam, he noted.

Once completed in December this year, the Startech project is expected to help the committee digitise its data on operations, investment promotion, and management of Vietnam – Laos cooperation projects. It will also facilitate access by Vietnamese agencies and firms to information on the two nations’ collaboration developments./.

Promoting consumer finance to fight black credit: experts

Promoting consumer finance and simplifying procedures for loan applications would be a priority for commercial banks, financial companies and microfinance institutions as part of efforts to limit black credit, a conference heard in Ho Chi Minh City on January 20.

Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) Dao Minh Tu considered abolishing black credit as one of the important tasks that has been continuously implemented across the whole credit institution system in Vietnam.

In recent years, the SBV and credit institutions in localities have been cocoordinating with the Ministry of Public Security and local authorities in implementing drastic measures to limit black credit.

In the future, the SBV will continue improving the awareness of local people about credit policies, loan packages and procedures for loan applications so that local people could easily access bank loans.

Meanwhile, the State Bank will study and soon complete legal documents to deploy mobile money service in Vietnam while making loans from microfinance institutions easily accessible to local people, then gradually limit black credit.

With a network of branches and transaction offices that have spread all over the country, the SBV has instructed credit institutions to diversify banking products and services, reduce interest rates and simplify lending procedures in order to facilitate people’s access to credit packages through official channels, said Ha Thu Giang, Deputy Director of the SBV’s Department of Credit for Economic Sectors.

By the end of last year, the scale of Vietnam’s consumer finance market came to around 1.8 quadrillion VND (over 77.25 billion USD), accounting for over 20 percent of outstanding loans in the economy, up 7.4 percent compared to the end of 2019.

Pham Toan Vuong, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank), said his bank’s outstanding loans to individual customers have continued to grow over past years, adding that in 2020, individual customers accessed nearly 840 trillion VND worth of loans, a year-on-year increase of more than 7 percent.

According to Nguyen Thanh Phuc, Deputy General Director of FE Credit, said the company currently has about 15 million customers, with new loan balance from 4.5-7 trillion VND each month.

FE Credit - Vietnam’s No1 consumer finance company - holds more than 50 percent market share in its field and its customers are those who cannot borrow from banks. That means the demand for consumer loans remains large, he said./.

Vietravel offers discounts on spring tours, airfares

Tour business Vietravel is providing a bundle of promotional spring tours and airfares for visitors at the second iteration of the Tet (Lunar New Year) Festival 2021, which takes place from January 21-24 at Le Van Tam Park, Ho Chi Minh City.

The packages offer customers optimized itineraries with prices up to 30 percent lower than normal to travel to popular destinations across the nation during Tet holiday.

Vietravel is selling 14 Tet tours at shocking prices, applied for buyers who make payment during the four-day festival, 16 tourism products with price slashed by 1.5 million VND (USD), and many other attractive promotions designed to help boost post-pandemic recovery of the tourism industry.

At the festival, the newly launched Vietravel Airlines opened ticket sales for flights between HCM City and Hanoi/Phu Quoc/ Da Nang/Nha Trang, Hanoi and Phu Quoc/Da Nang/Hue, with prices starting from 0 VND. Customers can enjoy the cheap fares for departures from January 25 to March 27.

The carrier is also giving away many vouchers each valued 100,000 VND for the first 20,000 passengers making online bookings on Vietravel Airlines website: www.vietravelairlines.com from January 19 to 31. The vouchers are applicable for the carrier’s commercial flights from February 16 to April 20.

Furthermore, it is running the programme “Offers for family and friend groups” for booking between January 19 and March 27. With each booking code for ten people, customers will get a 20 percent discount, and discounts of 30 percent and 40 percent will be given to booking codes for groups of 20 and 30 people./.

EVNGENCO 2 to sell over 581 million shares through IPO

The Power Generation Corporation 2 (EVNGENCO 2), a subsidiary of the Vietnam Electricity Group, plans to sell over 580.12 million shares, or 48.8875 percent of its charter capital, to investors and over 1.33 million shares, or 0.1125 percent, to employees.

An initial public offering will be held at the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, with the shares auctioned at a starting price of 24,520 VND (1.06 USD).

EVNGENCO 2 held an IPO road show in HCM City on January 21 to tell investors about the opportunity for investing in the company.

It saw the participation of representatives from the Government Office, ministries, the State Securities Commission, the Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchanges, Vietnam Electricity, economists, energy experts, representatives of auditing and securities companies, and potential investors.

The company was valued at 46.1 trillion VND (2.01 billion USD) as of January 1, 2019, with the Government’s stake being worth more than 26.6 trillion VND.

Fully owned by EVN, EVNGENCO 2 has seven dependent accounting units, holds 100 percent stake in one company and at least 51 percent in five others, which are operating in various fields ranging from hydroelectricity to thermal power.

According to Associate Professor Dr Vu Minh Khuong of the National University of Singapore, the equitisation of EVNGENCO 2, 100 percent owned by EVN, attested to the efforts to reform the power sector and offers valuable investment opportunities to investors.

“EVNGENCO 2 has an important position in the power sector, good business efficiency, healthy finance, and competent staff. As of the end of 2020, EVNGENCO 2 had an installed capacity of 4,461 MW, accounting for 6.4 percent and 15.1 percent of the country’s total installed capacity and EVN’s total installed capacity.”

Its return on equity was around 10 percent in 2018 and 2019, which is high for the sector, he said.

In terms of finance, equity accounts for more than a third of total assets, which is considered healthy in the power sector, he said.

“EVNGENCO 2 has great potential for growth.”

With a number of power plants in strategic locations across the country, EVNGENCO 2 would achieve very high growth in future, he said.

“In addition, with its efforts to embrace digital transformation and apply new technologies, EVNGENCO 2 is expected to make great strides in improving its production efficiency in the next three to five years, especially operational efficiency and significantly reducing the environmental impacts of coal-fired thermal power plants, which currently account for 50.7 percent of its total generation capacity.”

It has also actively invested in clean energy projects across the country, he said.

It recently completed 50 MWp solar power projects, and is in the process of building wind power plants with a capacity of 55 MW, and is applying for investment policies for eight new power projects with a total capacity of 2,593 MW comprising six solar power plants and two thermal plants.

Its strategies for the future include focusing on improving operational efficiency at existing plants and stepping up investment in renewable energy, Khuong said.

In addition, people investing in EVNGENCO 2 would greatly benefit not only from EVNGENCO 2's own rapid growth but also Vietnam's.

Tran Phu Thai, EVN GENCO 2’s Chairman of the Members’ Council, said: “EVNGENCO 2 has strived to become a leader in the electricity generation sector in Vietnam and a socially and environmentally responsible company.”

Duong Quang Thanh, EVN’s Chairman of the Members’ Council, said EVNGENCO 2 always enjoyed good profits since it was established in 2013.

The power sector is expected to sustain at least 10-12 percent growth in generation capacity for the next 20-30 years to meet the country’s demand, offering investors a great opportunity, he said./.

Rice exports to Philippines surpass 1-billion-USD mark

The Philippines was the top importer of Vietnamese rice in 2020, purchasing 2.22 million tonnes worth 1.06 billion USD, a year-on-year surge of 4 percent in volume and 19.3 percent in value, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

This is a record high in rice export volume to this traditional market and it is also the first time the value exceeded the 1-billion-USD mark.

In addition, export price to the Philippines surged in the year, hitting 476 USD per tonne in average, up 14.7 percent against 2019.

Vietnam shipped abroad nearly 6.25 million tonnes of the grain in 2020, raking in 3.12 billion USD, down 1.9 percent in volume but rising 11.2 percent in revenue against the previous year.

The Philippines remained as the leading market of Vietnamese rice, holding a lion’s share of 35.5 percent and 33.9 percent in total volume and export revenue of the country./. 

Experts discuss measures to improve business environment

A conference was held in Hanoi on January 21 to discuss measures to improve the domestic business environment and competitiveness of the economy as well as orientations for the next five years.

Participants at the event highly evaluated the efficiency of reducing business conditions so far, as well as issues relating to the inclusion of the conditions in relevant regulations.

Addressing the event, part of the Australia Supports Economic Reform in Vietnam (Aus4Reform) programme, Deputy Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) Phan Duc Hieu said that the event is a chance for participants to seek measures to support business and production activities, and identify obstacles in the field.

Nguyen Minh Thao, head of the CIEM Department for Business Environment and Competitiveness Research, said that as of the end of 2019, more than 30 documents on business conditions were issued, cutting more than 50 percent of business conditions.

Many conditions that are ambiguous and make too deep interference into business operations were abolished, she said.

She noted that along with the cutting of overlapped conditions, many conditions have been adjusted to facilitate business activities, increasing transparency and giving more attention to the voice of the business community.

However, Thao held that there is much to do to improve the quality of business, including the further revision of business conditions.

Meanwhile, Dau Anh Tuan, Director of the Legal Department of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said that reducing business conditions should be made more drastically.

Tuan also highlighted the significance of reform from the grassroots level as well as the role of local administrations in the field.

He suggested that management agencies should clarify their detail responsibilities and foster connections to build shared database and better serve businesses.

Tuan also underlined the need for the agencies to speed up digitalization and pay more attention to environmental protection in business activities, and support to enterprises to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nguyen Dinh Cung, former Director of CIEM, said that obstacles hindering business and investment activities may return if reform efforts are not made in a regular and strong manner./.

Singapore ranks second in Asia in investment attraction

Singapore is the second most preferred city in Asia-Pacific for cross-border investments this year, according to the CBRE 2021 Asia Pacific Investor Intentions Survey.

Desmond Sim, head of research for Southeast Asia at CBRE – a global commercial real estate services company, said Singapore remains an important hub for foreign corporations looking to access Southeast Asia.

The survey notes that Singapore is turning out to be a viable alternative to China’s Hong Kong for companies setting up Asia-Pacific headquarters.

The upbeat news comes in the wake of the Economic Development Board’s report that Singapore attracted about 17.2 billion SGD (12.9 billion USD) in fixed asset investments last year amidst the pandemic.

Japan’s Tokyo topped the study due to the availability of high-quality assets and strong liquidity. Seoul came in third, followed by Shanghai of China and Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam.

The survey polled 492 investors, who were mainly based in Asia-Pacific, between November 9 and December 14 last year.

It revealed that there was a broad-based improvement in market sentiments, with 60 percent of investors intending to buy more real estate, the highest level since 2016. The recent commencement of vaccination programmes in several countries around the world has further boosted market confidence.

But interest in the office sector, which used to be the most popular for investors, dipped with the rising adoption of remote working. Demand for retail and hotels also remained soft, the report added.

Meanwhile, logistics came up top as the most popular sector for investment, as the pandemic drove the acceleration of e-commerce, boosting demand for this asset class, the report said. Investors were also more interested in data centres, as demand surged for video conferencing and other platforms to support remote working. This has led to increasing requirements for data storage./.

Over 3,000 enterprises seek support for digital transformation

A seminar took place in Ho Chi Minh City on January 21 to discuss opportunities, challenges faced by small and medium-sized enterprises in digital transformation.

The event, co-hosted by the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), was within the framework of a joint programme of the two sides to support firms in digital transformation for the 2021-2025 period.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Duy Dong said digital transformation is a solution of vital importance to businesses worldwide, including those in Vietnam.

Since the announcement of the programme on December 3, 2020, over 3,000 enterprises have approached the programme for help, with more than 500 micro, small and medium enterprises among them deemed to have real demand for digital transformation. The programme is assessing those enterprises' readiness for digital transformation and will provide them with in-depth consultation based on their specific needs. 

During the past more than one month, the programme drew over 60 technological companies and experts in digital transformation, many of them are developing “Make in Vietnam” platforms.

USAID Vietnam Director of the Economic Growth and State Governance Office Gregory Leon said the MoPI has built online curricula to share digital transformation knowledge to enterprises, attracting thousands of visits.

The five-year programme aims to help all companies gain better awareness of digital transformation. At least 100,000 will receive technical support in the field, and a network of at least 100 organisations and experts will be set up to supply digital transformation solutions to firms.

Several experts proposed that firms should improve customer experience, with focus on distribution and marketing systems, and supply chain.

The rate of Vietnamese firms using digital payment services is on par with several regional nations while the rate of fixed and mobile broadband subscriptions is relatively high compared to Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia./.

Vietnamese, Indian pharmaceutical firms have great opportunities in Vietnam

Experts have pointed out lots of opportunities for Vietnamese and Indian enterprises in the pharmaceutical industry in Vietnam.

In an effort to promote trade and investment in the pharmaceutical sector, the Embassy of India, the International Investment Promotion Alliance, the Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) organised a seminar in Hanoi on January 21 to connect experts and enterprises from the two countries.

According to the embassy, India was popularly known as the pharmacy of the world, earning its credibility as one of the largest manufacturers of generic drugs. It also said the Indian pharmaceutical sector supplies over 50 percent of global demand for various vaccines, 40 percent of generic demand in the US and 25 percent of all medicine in the UK. Indian drugs are exported to more than 200 countries in the world, with the US being the key market.

 

Indian pharmaceutical exports, including bulk drugs, intermediates, drug formulations, biologicals, Ayush & herbal products and surgical equipment, reached 16.28 billion USD in 2020.

Ambassador Pranay Verma told the seminar: “Vietnam is a key consumer of Indian pharmaceuticals with an annual trade worth 225 million USD. Vietnam is currently the 19th among the top 25 destinations for Indian pharmaceutical products.”

Indronil Sengupta, President of the India Chamber of Commerce in Hanoi, said: “India has a large pool of scientists and engineers with potential to steer the industry ahead to greater heights,” measuring the market size of Vietnam, with nearly 100 million of people, had an estimated total value of 7 billion USD in 2019 and would be growing at 8 percent till 2024.

At the same time, local drug manufacturers were able to meet half of the total medicine market demand, approximately 60 percent of pharmaceutical end products, 90 percent of active pharmaceutical ingredients while most of the raw materials for the production were currently imported from India, China and other places.

According to Indian experts, new regulations from various FTAs in Vietnam brought opportunities and challenges to Indian pharmaceutical companies which could enjoy lower taxes in the industry compared with companies in European countries.

Nguyen Tuan Anh, factory director of Sao Kim Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company, which produces and exports anti-malarial drug materials to Africa and some Southeast Asian countries, said his company expected to partner more with the Indian firms for more projects in Vietnam to serve the potential pharmaceutical market with a growth rate of more than 15 percent each year.

Anh told Vietnam News: “With the advantages in pharmaceutical materials and natural active ingredients that can meet domestic and export demand, we aim to develop high technology factories for pharmaceutical products to better compete in the market.”

Anh said more FTAs, especially ones with India, brought both chances and challenges to local companies like his as multinational pharmaceutical corporations could invest in and acquire the private enterprises, increasing competition.

As most of the local pharmaceutical companies mainly produce inexpensive and common drugs, while drugs of high value still have to be imported, Anh said he was looking for Indian partners who can incorporate, transfer technology or participate in part of the pharmaceutical active ingredient semi-synthetic chain in Vietnam.

Anh also expected to own the technology from good co-operation with Indian partners so that his company could soon proactively own the source raw materials in pharmaceutical production, helping Vietnam avoid the manipulation of raw materials from foreign producers to local production.

Also at the seminar, Pham Thi Thu, owner of the drug chain Green Pharma 24 in Thanh Hoa, Hanoi and HCM City, said 50 percent of turnover was from Indian products which were at much lower prices compared to other imported drugs.

Thu told Vietnam News: “Vietnamese consumers love foreign brands and it is easier to advise them to buy Indian products with a price of as much as local products instead of paying for a price of two or three times higher for European imported drugs.”

Economist Nguyen Mai quoted the BMI Research in 2018 saying that Vietnam's pharmaceutical market size reached 5.9 billion USD, up 11.5 percent over the previous year, becoming the second largest pharmaceutical market in Southeast Asia, staying in the group of 17 countries with the highest pharmaceutical industry growth rate in the world.

The current 180 local pharmaceutical manufacturing enterprises and 224 factories meeting GMP (good manufacturing practice) standards, met only 52.5 percent of the demand while the rest must be imported.

According to the market report, the import turnover of pharmaceutical products reached 2.7 billion USD, up 6.7 percent, and the import of pharmaceutical materials reached 338 million USD, up 4.1 percent over the same period last year.

As the report forecast local pharmaceutical industry to increase 11 percent per year as one of the most stable in the world, reaching 7.7 billion USD in 2021 and 16.1 billion USD in 2026, Mai said there was great potential for both sides.

He said: “Vietnamese and Indian pharmaceutical enterprises can establish long-term relationships, proceeding to sign and implement import-export contracts, make a "win-win" investment, contributing positively to the expansion of economic, scientific and technological cooperation relations between the two countries."/.

Vietnam maintains positive growth: Czech diplomat

Vietnam continues to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world, said David Jarkulisch, a diplomat from the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Hanoi.

While the world economy plunged into a deep recession as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Vietnam was one of the few countries to record positive GDP growth, he said in an article recently published on the website of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The article highlighted that Vietnam’s economic growth rate reached a remarkable 2.9 percent last year, adding that continued GDP growth has turned Vietnam into the fourth largest economy in Southeast Asia, with nominal GDP of 340 billion USD, surpassing Singapore (337 billion USD) and Malaysia (336 billion USD).

The growth was driven mainly by exports and foreign investment, the diplomat said, adding that it was also contributed by domestic consumption and people’s high confidence in a rapid economic recovery.

The timely prevention of the spread of the pandemic has enabled Vietnam to keep the majority of the domestic economy running, and only sectors related to tourism experienced a significant decline.

Government spending has also created an important impetus for the economy to maintain its growth. Last year, the government approved a series of economic stimulus packages valued at 29.5 billion USD (about 11 percent of the national GDP).

The article pointed out that despite the economic crisis last year, foreign investment in Vietnam totaled around 20 billion USD (approximately the same volume as in 2019).

Last year, the export-oriented industry was again the main driver of the economy, the article said.

It noted that the tourism sector was affected greatly by the pandemic, with foreign visitors dropping nearly 80 percent from more than 21 million in 2019.

Foreign remittance also fell for the first time in 11 years to 15.7 billion USD compared to nearly 17 billion USD in 2019. However, Vietnam still remained the ninth largest recipient of remittances in the world.

The national economy is forecast to grow significantly again this year, ranging between 6.0-6.8 percent, and be mainly driven by the continuing inflow of foreign investment and robust domestic consumption, the diplomat predicted./.

Public investment will focus on key projects: Minister

Public investment will focus on key national projects with important roles in enhancing regional links and creating new drivers and room for economic growth, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung has said.

Last year saw the highest public investment disbursement rate in 2016-2020 as the Government identified public investment as a major driver for growth in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment estimated the public investment disbursement rate would reach more than 90 percent of the plan as of the end January 31 (the deadline for disbursement of 2020 public investment), compared to 73.3 percent of 2017, 66.8 percent of 2018 and 67.46 percent of 2019.

There were 17 ministries, central-level agencies and 17 localities with disbursement rates of more than 80 percent as of December 31, 2020. However, 13 ministries and central-level agencies and five localities had disbursement rates below 60 percent.

According to Nguyen Manh Quyen, Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee, the capital city disbursed about 40.7 trillion VND worth of public investment or 93 percent of the plan.

Ho Chi Minh City disbursed 31.5 trillion VND of public investment in 2020, 1.7 times higher than 2019, said Le Thi Huynh Mai, Director of the municipal Department of Planning and Investment.

These figures showed that never before was public investment disbursement as quick and strong as in 2020, said Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Quoc Phuong.

“It is public investment that drove GDP growth in 2020,” he said.

Phuong pointed out that total social investment accounted for 34 percent of GDP and public investment 25 percent of the total social investment, meaning public investment made up about 6-7 percent of GDP.

“Taking into account the impacts of public investment, public investment plays a really important role in growth,” Phuong said.

Despite this progress, speeding up the disbursement of public investment remains a priority in 2021.

Phuong said that the Law on Public Investment No 39/2019/QH14 which took effect from the beginning of this year would help tighten management of the entire process of public investment. In addition, the decentralisation of management would also be enhanced together with increasing accountabilities for higher efficiency of public investment.

With the new regulations, plans for public investment would also be more accurate and practical, Phuong said.

Sums which were failed to be disbursed would be deducted from the medium-term public investment plan, he said.

There were always differences between plans and real implementation but “don’t let the gap be too big,” Phuong said.

In 2021, the ministry will regularly update about the progress of public investment disbursement to give a timely push to the progress, he added./.

E-commerce site for high-quality Vietnamese goods debuts in HCM City

An e-commerce site for high-quality Vietnamese goods, at hvnclc.chophienonline.vn, debuted in Ho Chi Minh City on January 21.

The site forms part of the second phase of the “Go Online” project, carried out under a partnership between the Business Association of High-quality Vietnamese Products and the Digital Transformation Alliance DTS.

It is a trade platform for all Vietnamese products earning the “High-quality” title and for producers to promote products and trade.

Each business will be provided with a virtual store on the site to share information and images of their goods, said Huynh Quang Hien, Operations Manager at the Centre for Business Studies and Assistance (BSA). He expects the site will be well-received by customers.

The first online trade fair of the site will take place from January 23 to February 5, selling products for the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday. It features high-quality products made by the Bao Minh Confectionary JSC, the Thang Loi International Garment JSC, Vinh Thanh Dat Food, Anh Kim Food, Jimmy Food, and others./.

Vietnam to use Czech technology to produce conveyor rollers

Vietnam will use technology transferred by Czech company Hojer Trans to produce conveyor rollers this year in a new project in the northern province of Phu Tho, according to mzv.cz, the official website of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The project will be developed by the Thang Long Accurate Mechanical Company.

It was launched on January 6, with Phu Tho leaders and representatives from the Czech Embassy in Hanoi in attendance, the website reported.

It will be the first factory in Southeast Asia able to produce conveyor rollers that can compete with those made in China and India, Director-General of the Thang Long Accurate Mechanical Company Vu Dinh Hong told the launch ceremony.

Vietnam imports millions of USD worth of conveyor rollers annually, he said, and once completed the factory is expected to not only serve the domestic market but also exports to regional countries.

The transfer of technology will be conducted this year, Hong added.

The project has total investment of 33 million EUR (40 million USD).

It is scheduled to be operational in 2023./.

Quang Ninh eyes becoming dynamic sea-based economic hub

The northern province of Quang Ninh has outlined ways to increase its sea-based economy, focussing on tourism, sea services, and coastal industries that are environmentally friendly.

On the eve of the 13th National Party Congress, Deputy Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Cao Tuong Huy told Vietnam News Agency reporters the province, billed as a locomotive for the development of the Northern Key Economic Region, is developing into a strong sea-based economy.

With a vision of becoming an international tourism centre with uniformed infrastructure, a kaleidoscope of high-quality tourism products, and a competitive edge over rivals in the region and the world, the province has invested heavily in tourism and trade facilities, developing eco-tourism in a sustainable manner, and forming high-end tourism sites in Ha Long, Van Don, Co To, Hai Ha Mong Cai, and Bai Tu Long.

The province will prioritise turning Ha Long into a modern tourism city while developing Van Don-Co To into an international entertainment centre. It is also studying how to develop new tourism products such as yachting, water taxis, seaplanes, hot air ballooning, and scuba diving.

Due attention will be paid to upgrading local fishing ports and anchorages, improving fisheries logistics in Co To and Van Don districts, and forming three fishing centres in Co To, Van Don and Dam Ha, and two seafood trading centres in Ha Long City.

Quang Ninh province will also develop logistics into a high added-value sector in tandem with the trends in global trade.

Regarding coastal industries and new economic sectors, Huy, who is a delegate to the Congress, underlined how Quang Ninh gives top priority to environmentally-friendly industries such as hi-tech shipbuilding and encourages foreign investment in supporting industries.

It will capitalise on the fourth Industrial Revolution to enhance the processing of exports, helping to create added value for products and save maritime resources.

Possessing advantages in maritime resources and biodiversity, the province is interested in developing sea-based economic sectors such as maritime pharmaceuticals and seaweed, and seagrass farming and processing, Huy added.

Propzy to support start-up

Proptech company Propzy is offering to provide technical support to start-ups from this year.

John Le, its founder, said the company would share its experiences in becoming a successful start-up including the seeding process and how to raise capital with start-ups.

The start-up support programme will also connect them with mentors for support in term of technology, finance, marketing, and sales.

“We are ready to share our experiences with you to start a Vietnamese career and build a successful business,” Le who has 20 years of experience in start-up development in the US and Viet Nam, said.

A Propzy Hub will be established in February to develop a convenient working space for start-ups, he revealed.

Established in 2015, Propzy is a real estate technology business which has successfully raised US$37 million from foreign investors like Gaw Capital and SoftBank, who poured $25 million in series A funding. The other investors include Next Billion Ventures, RHL Ventures, Breeze, FEBE Ventures, RSquare and Insignia.

Propzy is a leader in the proptech industry and provides transparent online real-estate services.

It is considered a pioneer in bringing the ‘FIRE tech’ solution to the customers, an acronym for finance, insurance and real-estate.

It has 30 transaction centres in HCM City with 700 employees and a database of 50,000 houses and apartments.

It is a real estate trading platform involved in buying, selling, renting, and managing houses and providing financial advice and legal assistance.

Le told Viet Nam News that his company would expand this year by opening offices in Ha Noi. 

Nation records trade deficit of US$250 million in first half of January

The country ran a trade deficit of US$250 million during the first half of January, with the country’s total import and export turnover reaching US$26.05 billion, according to statistics compiled by the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

In line with these figures, the country exported goods worth a total of US$12.9 billion while spending US$13.15 billion on imports. Indeed, export turnover throughout the reviewed period increased by approximately US$2 billion, equivalent to over 18.3%, an increase which can be considered highly impressive compared to the growth rate of 7% seen during the same period last year.

During the first half of January, the nation had four groups of goods with export turnover reaching over US$1 billion, with the new category of machinery, equipment, tools and spare parts enjoying robust growth in export turnover, grossing US$1.45 billion, representing a sharp increase of 72% compared to the same period from last year.

The remaining three commodity groups also maintained a turnover of over US$1 billion, including phones and accessories, computers, electronic products and components, garments and textiles, of which phones and components were  export items with the largest turnover of US$2.86 billion.  

Import turnover also saw a rise of some US$2.2 billion compared to the same period from last year, equivalent to an increase of more than 19%.

Agro-fisheries exports enjoy upturn during early days of 2021

The opening days of the year has seen local enterprises export several shipments of agricultural and aquatic products, creating a positive outlook for export prospects ahead throughout 2021.

The start of the year has seen Trung An High-Tech Agriculture Joint Stock Company export 1,600 tonnes of high-value fragrant rice to the Singaporean and Malaysian markets at high prices. The company has also received an export order from Germany for over 2,000 tonnes of rice, a shipment which will enjoy preferential tariffs thanks to the enforcement of EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

Elsewhere, several other Vietnamese firms have also exported more than 100,000 tonnes of rice to several foreign markets.

Nguyen Trung Kien, vice president and general secretary of the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), anticipates that rice exports will enjoy bright prospects throughout the year as domestic enterprises have strictly met market demand in recent years, especially in major markets that have previously imported huge quantities of Vietnamese rice.

Most notably, a series of local seafood products such as shrimp, squid, tuna, and octopus, along with fruits like dragon fruit and melons have gained entry to demanding markets, such as the European Union, the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia, and China.

Nguyen Dang Nghia, an agricultural expert, believes that the surge in farm produce exports in early January outlines the agricultural sector’s determination to meet the US$44 billion export target the Prime Minister set for the sector at its recent year-end conference.  

Nghia reveals that that local agricultural sector will primarily focus on key export products, such as seafood, rice, cashew nuts, coffee, and vegetables, with a specific emphasis on promoting the export of rice and vegetables throughout the 2021 to 2025 period. Currently, China, the Philippines, and Japan have all placed additional orders as Vietnam is enjoying advantages from free trade agreements (FTAs).

Concurring with this viewpoint, Nguyen Dinh Tung, chairman of Vina T & T's Board of Directors, indicates that alongside offering preferential tariffs, FTAs have also created favourable conditions to promote more Vietnamese agricultural products and expand into new export markets.

Experts have advised local firms to improve their product quality to take full advantage of the enforcement of the EU-Vietnam FTA, whilst developing organic products that have a high economic value, thereby ensuring they come up to high environmental standards.

In addition, they are required to meet requirements regarding origin traceability, labeling, food safety, and hygiene in addition to branding in order to expand export markets.

Source: VNA/VNN/VNS/SGGP/VOV/NDO/Dtinews/SGT/VIR