MoIT vows support for Samsung, suppliers to maintain supply chain hinh anh 2

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) held a teleconference with Samsung Vietnam and its suppliers on October 14, affirming that the ministry’s top priority now is assisting businesses in Vietnam to achieve the “twin targets” of ensuring safety amid the COVID-9 pandemic and maintaining production to avoid disruptions to supply chains.

The event gathered representatives of the Korean-invested company and more than 20 suppliers in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and the provinces of Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, Binh Duong, and Dong Nai.

Deputy Minister Do Thang Hai said the MoIT is committed to continued coordination with other ministries, sectors, and localities to assist businesses and tackle bottlenecks to production activities by increasing manpower for production, easing restrictions on travel among provinces, boosting vaccination, and reducing input costs, expense and taxes.

The ministry will serve as a bridge linking businesses with the Government so as to update them about new support policies and incentives and deal with difficulties facing them in a timely manner, he added.

Hai expressed his hope that Samsung will keep working with the MoIT to build and implement larger and more intensive training programmes to promote Vietnamese firm’s engagement in its supply chain, as well as global supply chains.

Choi Joo Ho, General Director of Samsung Vietnam, said the stability of suppliers plays a highly important role in global production chains, including that of Samsung Vietnam.

Noting the firm’s efforts in the face of the recent complex COVID-19 situation, he expressed his belief that with timely and active support from the MoIT, the difficulties facing enterprises will be tackled quickly, thus helping consolidate the business community's trust in the Government and creating a momentum for them to join the Government’s efforts to realise the twin targets.

At the meeting, Samsung Vietnam and its suppliers pointed out some problems they are facing amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Deputy Minister Hai directed agencies under the MoIT to promptly handle the isssues raised by the firms, saying the ministry will work more closely with localities to create favourable conditions for suppliers of Samsung to maintain operations and gradually raise their output.

The MoIT and Samsung Vietnam shared the view that they will continue working together in joint programmes on training human resources, improving businesses, strengthening Vietnamese firms’ competitiveness, and increasing the number of Vietnamese enterprises serving as tier-1 and -2 suppliers of Samsung, thereby helping develop local supporting industries./.

Vietnamese startups flourish

Since the beginning of the year, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused many difficulties, but many Vietnamese startups have successfully raised tens of millions of dollars from large investment funds. It is good news for the startup community.

HeroVerse, a non-fungible token (NFT) game project (game built and developed on blockchain platform) with headquarter in Vietnam, mobilized US$1.7 million from blockchain and NFT investment funds. The HeroVerse game is developed based on a combination of Match-3 puzzle (like Candy Crush Saga) and roleplaying - two factors that ensure the game is easy to play and suitable for a wide range of players while still has an attractive tactical element.

Meanwhile, KiotViet has just received $45 million from KKR International Investment Fund as the main investor in a Series B funding round. Previously, the company received $6 million in a Series A funding round from venture-capital firms Jungle Ventures (Singapore) and Traveloka (Indonesia). KiotViet is a subsidiary of Citigo Software Company. The company provides a suite of software solutions, including point-of-sale, inventory, and employee management tools to more than 110,000 small and medium-sized businesses in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, digital platform Vietcetera has successfully got $2.7 million in the Pre-Series A funding round from North Base Media. Vietcetera Media is a media company founded by Hao Tran and Guy Truong in Ho Chi Minh City in 2016. Marathon, a Vietnamese startup specializing in online tutoring, was established earlier this year by Pham Duc and Tran Viet Tung. This startup acquired $1.5 million of investment capital in the Pre-seed round. Investment funds that poured capital for Marathon include Forge Ventures, Venturra Discovery, and iSeed. With the new funding, Marathon is expected to pilot teaching Maths, Physics, and Chemistry for grades 6-12 and will expand courses for other subjects in the future.

Recently, medical technology startup Medigo called up $1 million of investment capital from Touchstone Partners fund. Entering the medical technology market in July 2019, the Medigo application has created a platform to connect users with high-quality telehealth services. Initially, Medigo provided e-commerce services on pharmacy, cosmetics, and medicine delivery service 24/7, connecting customers with pharmacists at pharmacies in the shortest time. According to Ms. Ngo Thuy Ngoc Tu, co-founder of Touchstone Partners, this investment confirms the investment strategy in long-term value that the fund is pursuing.

They are just some of many startups that have grasped investment opportunities despite the difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Most invested startups are in fields, such as healthcare, education, and online services, on the technology application platform. These startups have many competitive advantages, such as infrastructure and a tech-savvy workforce, to apply digital solutions.

In the global startup ecosystems in 2020, Vietnam gained 13 notches to 59th place, aiming to become the leading startup hub in Southeast Asia.

Webinar held on utilising Vietnamese living overseas to promote local goods

 A webinar in Ha Noi on Wednesday discussed how Vietnamese people living overseas (OV) can help promote Vietnamese goods on the international stage.

The event follows the Prime Minister’s Decision No 1797/QD-TTg, a project which encourages the OVs’ involvement in the introduction, consumption and development of Vietnamese goods abroad.

Speaking at the seminar, Vu Ba Phu, Director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Viet Nam Trade Promotion Agency, hoped that the collaboration between Vietnamese businesses overseas and domestic agencies would continue to strengthen cooperation in the future.

He called on Vietnamese people at home and abroad to support the National Brand programme, so that each individual can act as a representative of Vietnamese brands to their international friends.

The Viet Nam Trade Promotion Agency is ready to connect Vietnamese brands with local importers and provide information and updates on market trends. The agency will help promote bringing Vietnamese products into the overseas distribution system, Phu said.

The distribution of Vietnamese goods in European countries has developed relatively well. However, this system has not been fully and effectively promoted due to limitations in domestic enterprises and product quality.

Participants at the event discussed ways of distributing Vietnamese goods abroad. E-commerce is one avenue that can be utilised to connect domestic products with international markets, particularly agricultural products, seafood, shoes, sandals and garments from Viet Nam.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Quang Hieu, who is also Chairman of the State Commission for OV Affairs, expressed his belief that Viet Nam will soon overcome the difficulties caused by COVID-19 pandemic. This will enable more Vietnamese goods to become popular worldwide, improving the image of Vietnamese products in the international arena.

The event was co-hosted by the State Commission for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, HCM City's Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency on the 17th anniversary of the Vietnam Entrepreneurs’ Day on October 13.

Vietnam Motor Show 2021 cancelled

Vietnam Motor Show 2021, the largest annual automobile and motorbike expo in the country, has been cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic impacts, the organising board announced on October 13.

Dao Cong Quyet, a representative of the board, said that the Vietnam Motor Show 2021 was scheduled for late October in Ho Chi Minh City.

However, the fourth outbreak of COVID-19, which has posed adverse impacts on all socio-economic sectors, including the automobile-motorbike sector, has made it impossible to organise this year’s event, he said.

Meanwhile, social distancing measures as part of pandemic prevention and control efforts in southern localities, including Ho Chi Minh City, have led to the restriction of many services and activities, he noted.

Quyet said that the cancellation of the event aims to ensure health safety of the community.

According to the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAMA) and the Vehicles Importers Vietnam Association (VIVA), 12 automobile manufacturers had confirmed their participation at the event, including Audi, Ford, Honda, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, MG, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.

This is the second time that a Vietnam Motor Show has been cancelled since 2020. The event is expected to be resumed in 2022./.

Market share of Vietnamese pepper increases in RoK

Despite a fall in its import volume, Vietnam’s pepper market share in the Republic of Korea remained on the rise during the opening eight months of the year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

MoIT data show the RoK imported 4,151 tonnes of peppers worth US$16.5 million from Vietnam over eight months, representing a fall of 2.3% in volume but a rise of 39.2% in value compared to the same period from last year.

However, despite a decline in the import volume, the proportion of Vietnamese pepper to the RoK’s total imports rose to 90.88% over eight months from just 73.6% from a year earlier.

According to statistics compiled by the Korea Trade Commission, the RoK imported 4,568 tonnes of pepper worth US$19 million during the eight-month period, with the majority coming from Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand, representing a decrease of 20.9% in volume and a rise of 17% in value year on year.

The average pepper import price in the RoK also surged by 47.8% year on year to US$4,161 per tonne, of which the import price from major suppliers enjoyed an upward trend, with the exception of Thailand.

Vietnam remains the leading and an important supplier of pepper to the RoK, with its exports to the market yielding positive signs thanks to stable consumption demand, reported the MoIT’s Import-Export Department.

Businesses working towards post-pandemic economic recovery

Vietnam’s economy is going through a particularly challenging time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given that, businesspeople who have been working hard to overcome the obstacles are bolstering their internal strength to fight the pandemic and come together in economic recovery.

Donating to the Covid-19 vaccine fund.

Sponsoring test kits, ventilators and medical equipment.

Taking part in voluntary activities to help ensure social security.

Maintaining jobs for workers.

In difficult times, Vietnamese businesspeople always fulfil their roles and responsibilities.

Figures show that Vietnam currently has over 800,000 operating enterprises, more than 25,000 cooperatives, and about 5.2 million non-agricultural business households with about 7-8 million entrepreneurs.

Along with frontline forces in the fight against Covid-19, there are also silent “heroes”. They are the entrepreneurs busy on both the frontline of economic development and the frontline of the pandemic fight.

Now, as the country is starting to reopen, Vietnamese businesspeople continue to share the responsibility for economic recovery, for the sake of a prosperous nation./.

Dong Nai: Over 80 percent of industrial firms resume operations

There are nearly 1,400 firms or over 80 percent of those operating in 31 industrial parks in the southern province of Dong Nai have resumed their operations, according to the provincial Industrial Zones Authority.

Due to COVID-19, many businesses had to scale down or suspended production. However, since the end of September, nearly 1,400 firms have resumed operations, drawing more than 334,000 workers back to work or 54 percent of the total number of labourers at the local industrial parks.

The authority said Dong Nai has prioritised vaccinating workers and issued many documents to help enterprises ease difficulties and recover production. It is forecast that in the fourth quarter of this year, firms in Dong Nai will stabilise their production and obtain more export orders.

Le Van Danh, deputy head of the authority, said thanks to the local effective implementation of social security, the majority of migrant workers havefar still stayed in the province.

Most enterprises in the industrial zones have solid financial capacity, therefore, the production recovery will take place quickly and smoothly, he added./.

Circular economy decisive to sustainable economic growth: workshop

A workshop held in Hanoi on October 14 highlighted the circular economy as the future of equal and sustainable economic growth.

The event, part of the annual Vietnam Corporate Sustainability Forum 2021, was organised by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD). It saw the participation of about 500 delegates from ministries, sectors, business associations, domestic international organisations, and enterprises via videoconference.

Nguyen Quang Vinh, Secretary General of the VCCI, said over the past years, thanks to efforts by the Government, relevant agencies, and many enterprises, the concept of “circular economy” has become much more familiar to the business community.

A circular economy brings a new approach to the use of materials in a more effective and economical manner while constantly reminding people about using limited resources like water, energy, materials, and food in a way that gives those resources a longer life cycle and higher value compared to the existing method.

An economy can achieve a “closed cycle” thanks to the all-round engagement of sectors, industries, and consumers through the sharing of information, the application of new business models, and the combination of supply chains so as to reach science-based targets with support from the legal system and management rules from the Government, said Vinh, who is also Secretary General and Vice Managing Director of the VBCSD.

Mai The Toan, Deputy Director of the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment, held that the State should strongly encourage the development of models for connecting and sharing the circular use of products and waste, and mobilise the engagement of different sources of resources in society.

Brendan Edgerton, Director of Circular Economy at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, pointed out that the global economy is just 8.6 percent circular. Without strict monitoring, global material use in 2060 would double that in 2015.

He also made recommendations about the road map for building a circular business strategy, noting that each enterprise needs to improve its production process, products, and business model./.

Vietnam willing to facilitate US firms' operations amid COVID-19: Party official

Vietnam is ready to create conditions for US businesses to overcome obstacles and impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic and continue their production and investment activities in Vietnam, stated Tran Tuan Anh, Politburo member and head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission.

The official made the statement at an October 14 virtual meeting with the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) which saw the presence of representatives from nearly 40 leading US enterprises.

Welcoming the US’s support for a strong, independent and prosperous Vietnam, Anh thanked the US Government and people for actively assisting Vietnam in accessing vaccines and other resources in response to COVID-19.

He stated the Vietnamese Party and State always value the relations with the US – a top trade partner of Vietnam and welcome the USABC’s efforts to help the US business community overcome challenges and promote trade and investment partnerships with ASEAN members states, including Vietnam, amid the pandemic.

The sides exchanged views on Vietnam’s institutional issues and socio-economic development policies as well as the US firms’ recommendations and proposals.

The USABC delegation expressed their impression at Vietnam's efforts in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and its determination to restore economic growth in the new normal.

They affirmed that they will to continue to accompany and closely coordinate with the Party and Government of Vietnam as well as actively promote the effective and practical development of the Vietnam – US economy, trade and investment ties to meet the nations’ wishes and interests./.

Binh Thuan set to develop night-time economy to attract tourists

Its tourist attractions, unique culinary culture and pleasant night weather are great assets that will enable Binh Thuan Province to develop its night-time economy, experts have said.

They were referring to the Government’s recent approval of a project to develop the province’s night-time economy from now through 2030, focusing on culture, entertainment, food and beverage services, and travel.

The project will have policies to encourage enterprises and business households to participate in the night-time economy, including improving their ability to access funding, especially from banks.

Promotion for night-time activities will be stepped up together with building night-time tourism products based on local cultural factors.

It will be implemented in Phan Thiet and Mui Ne in the first phase and in La Gi Town in the next.

Binh Thuan needs to start developing the night-time economy not only for its own benefit but also to become a model for adjacent provinces like Ninh Thuan, the experts said.

Night-time attractions for tourists are still not diverse, and so the average time visitors stay is quite short at two to three days, they said.

The economists said enterprises need to make plans for the night-time economy, ensuring the products are different from daytime ones since consumer behaviours and demands are different.

Viet Nam needs a reasonable legal framework to develop, failing which opportunities would be missed again, experts warned.

Phan Thiet seems set for a boom thanks to imminent transport upgrades, they said.

The first phase of the Long Thanh International Airport is expected to be ready by 2025 with an annual capacity of 25 million passengers. Situated 130km from Binh Thuan, it is expected to attract many foreign tourists.

When the Dau Giay - Phan Thiet Expressway is completed, La Gi will benefit since travel times will be reduced: it will take only 30 minutes to Phan Thiet and 45 minutes to Ba Ria - Vung Tau, the neighbouring coastal province that is only 90 minutes away from HCM City.

But the experts said specific planning is necessary to develop the night-time economy, and in the early stages only large investors and high-quality services should be allowed. 

Plans for coastal transport development under discussion

The Ministry of Transport will propose a special mechanism to develop a fleet of river-sea vessels serving the country’s scheme to develop coastal transport, Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The told at a national teleconference on development of waterway and coastal transport logistics in Hanoi on October 14.

Minister The said the ministry will also give special priority to developing coastal transport routes using river-sea vessels in order to fully tap strengths of river and coastal transport.

The ministry has always paid attention to developing water and coastal transport routes in order to take advantage of the country's long coastline and dense network of rivers and canals, he said.

However, waterway transport is not yet commensurate with the country's strengths and potential, and there is a big difference in waterway transport in the north and the south, The noted.

Currently, the rate of import and export goods transported via waterway routes in the south is 8.2 percent higher than that in the north.

To lift this rate, it is necessary to have solutions and policies to develop waterway and coastal transport by river-sea vessels, he stressed.

Bui Thien Thu, Director of the Vietnam Inland Waterways Department, reported that Vietnam has 2,360 rivers and canals with a total length of about 42,000 km, with nine major river systems pouring into the sea through 120 rivermouths. The total length of waterway routes being exploited nationwide is over 17,000 km.

Thu said waterway transport has the advantages of low freight rate, high safety and low pollution. It handles about 19 percent of the total volume of goods in the country, he added./.

Optimising FTAs to bolster Vietnam-Singapore cooperation

Vietnam and Singapore should further optimise free trade agreements (FTAs) in which both sides are members such as the CPTPP and RCEP to strengthen partnership among businesses of both countries, Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien has proposed.

At a recent online working session with Singaporean Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng, Dien suggested that Vietnam and Singapore, the only two countries in the region joining comprehensive agreements with the European Union and the United King, should support each other in further exploiting the markets.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, trade between Vietnam and Singapore has been growing. Singapore is currently Vietnam's fifth largest trading partner in ASEAN and the third biggest foreign investors in Vietnam with 62.55 billion USD in 2,769 projects.

At the working session, the two ministers hoped that Vietnam and Singapore will continue to foster cooperation in many areas to further promote their economic and trade relations, contributing to strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Along with the exploitation of the FTAs, both sides should encourage businesses to collaborate in the areas of electronics, telecommunications, furniture and agro-fisheries processing to increase exports in member countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), they agreed.

The two ministers also concurred to continue working hard towards the signing of a memorandum of understanding on economic and trade cooperation between the two ministries./.

Vietnam likely to achieve rice export target this year

Vietnam is expected to achieve its export target of 6.3 million tonnes of rice worth 3.2 billion USD this year due to high global demand and an increase in export prices.

Statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the country exported 593,600 tonnes of rice in September, worth over 293.1 million USD, increases of 19 percent in volume and 20.5 percent in value compared to last year’s figures.

Vietnam shipped abroad 4.57 million tonnes of rice worth over 2.41 billion USD during the nine-month period, a drop of 8.3 percent in volume and 1.2 percent in value year-on-year.

“The rice export has been resumed since September despite the fact that social distancing has still being applied in many southern provinces and cities,” said Nguyen Quang Toan, General Director of the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Nguyen Thanh Phong, Director of Van Loi Company, attributed the increase in the Vietnamese rice export prices to the fact that the Government has boosted its purchase for national reserves, along with the rising demand in the global market since the beginning of September.

Other insiders also expressed their optimism as rice foreign importers allow the resumption of rice trading once the COVID-19 pandemic is put under control.

Some major rice exporters are predicted to increase their rice imports in the last months of this year and the first half of 2022, they said.

The export prices of Vietnam’s five-percent broken rice has soared to the highest level over the past three months, according to Vietnam Food Association.

The country’s five-percent broken rice is currently sold at between 433 USD and 437 USD per tonne, surpass those from other competitors such as Thailand, India and Pakistan.

Specifically, the prices of Vietnamese rice were 49 USD, 68USD and 55 USD higher than that of Thailand, India and Pakistan, respectively.

In mid-August, the export price of Vietnam’s five-percent broken rice was offered at 393-307 USD, 8 USD lower than Thai product./.

Grab resumes GrabCar service in Hanoi

Ride-hailing company Grab Vietnam has announced the resumption of its Grabcar service in Hanoi starting from October 14.

The technology transport and delivery service supplier said that it has met all pandemic safety requirements given by authorised agencies with all drivers receiving at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot and having certificates of being tested negative to SARS-CoV-2.

A representative from the firm said that all partners of Grab are requested to strictly implement the Ministry of Health’s 5K message, and prepare hand sanitisers on their vehicle. They will also receive COVID-19 test every week.

Meanwhile, passengers are also asked to abide by pandemic prevention and control measures during their trips with Grab, including following the 5K message and making health declarations.

They are advised to pay via bank cards or Moca e-wallet to reduce direct contacts with drivers.

On the occasion, Grab has offered customers with discount of maximum 15,000 VND each trip paid by card or Moca wallet, using promotion code GCMOCA which is applicable from October 14-31.

Earlier, the Department of Transport of Hanoi issued a document allowing the resumption of public passenger transport using under nine-seat cars. However, service suppliers are requested to keep the number of operating vehicles equal to 50 percent of their total fleet./.

 

09 leading brands honoured

More than 100 leading brands of Viet Nam in 2021 were honoured during a ceremony held in Ha Noi by the Tap chi Kinh te Viet Nam (VnEconomy - Vietnam Economic Times) on Wednesday.

The event aimed to hail the efforts, strong will and resilience of businesses and entrepreneurs who have faced the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic using initiatives and digital transformation solutions. These help firms actively adapt to the pandemic and maintain their production and business activities while ensuring the welfare of their employees and promoting social, corporate responsibility.

The honoured 109 firms operate in various economic sectors such as banking and financial services, real estate, digital services and consumer retail.

Launched in 2003, the leading brand vote receives an enthusiastic response from the business community across the country. Thousands of firms having been honoured so far.

The programme focuses on honouring the Vietnamese business community, different fields and economic sectors, with typical strong brands selected on clear, focused and appropriate criteria.

Speaking at the event, President of the Viet Nam Union of Science and Technology Associations Phan Xuan Dung highly appreciated the Vietnam Economic Times for hosting the event.

On the occasion of Viet Nam Entrepreneurs’ Day (October 13), he extended his congratulations to the successful enterprises, who have overcome challenges to achieve breakthroughs in their operation over the past two years.

He said enterprises are the main force of the economy and the programme has special value and meaning as Viet Nam's economy and the economies of many countries in the world are weakening. 

Localities ready to welcome back tourists in the new normal

A number of localities nationwide have announced plans to welcome back domestic travelers in November after months of suspending tourism services due to the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

UNESCO World Heritage Site Ha Long Bay is one of most attractive destinations in Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh City plans to resume tourism services by launching a tourism festival from November 27 to December 27 in an online format.

According to Phan Thi Thang, vice chairwoman of the municipal People's Committee, the city has thoroughly-prepared safety factors for the recovery process.

about 72% of those employed in the tourism sector have now been fully vaccinated whilst medical infrastructure and plans for the recovery scenario moving forward are now ready, she revealed.

In late Sepbtember HCM City launched a special tour for COVID-19 frontline workers to Can Gio and Cu Chi districts, both of which have brought the outbreak under control. Under the “bubble” model, visitors stopped at selected outdoor sites in a closed group.

Several other provinces are also following suit by launching tours in the bubble model.

The central city of Da Nang is planning to host public events from now until the end of the year in an effort to attract visitors. It will reopen travel services to local residents starting from October 20 and will begin to serve domestic tourists from Quang Nam and Quang Ninh provinces in the bubble model in November.

Da Nang is set to welcome the return of international visitors from the Republic of Korea and Russia through a vaccine passport scheme.

Elsewhere, the northcentral province of Thanh Hoa has set a target of welcoming 700,000 visitors during the last three months of the year.

Tourists arriving in Thanh Hoa must be fully vaccinated, with the second dose administered at least 14 days before arrival, or they must present a certificate showing they previously contracted and have now fully recovered from COVID-19.

Meanwhile, authorities in the northern province of Quang Ninh, home to UNESCO-recognised Ha Long Bay, plan to welcome back inter-provincial tourists to Tuan Chau International Tourist Area and the Yen Tu tourist site from next month.

The northern mountainous province of Ha Giang also created favourable conditions in which travel companies can implement safe package tours. They include five-days-four-nights tours including destinations such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Ha Giang, Vi Xuyen, Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van, Lung Cu, and the Ma Pi Leng Pass.

Authorities in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, home to the resort town Da Lat, is considering permitting domestic tourists to visit Da Lat and Bao Loc from next month.

Along with vaccination requirements, visitors are also required to book a package tour with a designated travel agency whilst also having medical and travel insurance.

Authorities in the central province of Binh Dinh, home to the beach town of Quy Nhon, also plan to allow fully vaccinated domestic tourists to visit Phuong Mai Peninsula, which is famous for idyllic beaches and high-end resorts, from early November.

Hanoi gets back to business as restrictions ease

Buses on the roads, cafes open for customers and taxis scouring the streets for business, Hà Nội is looking a lot more like its old self once again.

After months of strict social distancing regulations, sweeping changes came into play at 6am Thursday morning.

But although restrictions were drastically eased, safety is still paramount.

Customers at a coffee shop on Lý Thường Kiệt Street in Hà Nội on Thursday morning, the first day dine-in services are allowed again after being banned for more than two months. VNS Photos Bảo Hoa
Capacity on buses and at food and drink establishments must not exceed 50 per cent, and health declarations remain mandatory for customers and passengers.

Despite these guidelines, many people were delighted Hà Nội is easing into the new normal way of life.

“Today is a wonderful day,” said 63-year-old Phạm Huy Thông.

“It’s the first time I’m taking a bus after nearly 100 days staying at home and not going anywhere. Travelling by bus is fun, it feels safe, and it helps to keep the environment clean. It’s also a hobby of elderly people.

“I don’t use any other vehicles apart from buses. No motorbike, no other means of transport, only the buses, and walking.”

People wait for their buses at a bus stop on Trần Hưng Đạo Street on Thursday morning
Taxi driver Đỗ Văn Trung, 49, feels it will take more time before he can earn the same as he did before lockdowns.

Trung said: “I’ve only had one customer this morning, the fare was VNĐ100,000. People are still wary of the pandemic and mostly use their own cars.

“During the social distancing period, I stayed at home. It got boring. Today I get to go out, enjoy the fresh air and get to talk to people. I feel better.

“I wear a mask and follow the sanitation regulations. I disinfected my car and reminded my customer to wash their hands.

“I hope the pandemic will end so we can work and earn money, to make up for the social distancing time we stayed at home and were not earning.”

Taxi services are allowed to resume operations in the capital city after being suspended on July 24 to control the COVID-19 pandemic.
It wasn’t just the convenience offered that had Hanoians beaming. Many were delighted to just be able to hook up with friends and grab a coffee.

Lecturer Hoàng Dương said: “After a long time of working from home, I really wanted to experience what it’s like going outside to eat and drink. I can have coffee and chat with my friend face-to-face now which I could not do during social distancing. My friend is also a lecturer so we discuss teaching online.

“I’m really happy, it’s been quite a long time and now I can have this feeling again.

“I think the shop owners will benefit from reopening because now they can have income and their employers can come back to work. The reopening will also lift people’s spirits. Because we are at home for quite a long time, so it feels happier to be able to go outside chatting with friends.”

Nguyễn Lan Phương added: “I feel happy and excited, it’s been a long time since I got to enjoy Hà Nội’s autumn like this, it’s beautiful and the weather is nice. Things have gone back to normal, so I’m very happy.”

As well as the feeling of freedom, small businesses were rejoicing as they finally began to once again earn a living.

Although coffee shops and restaurants have been allowed to operate take-outs during the past few months, having customers back in person lifts their operations to a new level. 

“Other staff members and I are very excited,” said Nguyễn Đức Khanh, a coffee shop manager.

“For months we had to close due to the pandemic and even when we were allowed to sell take-outs we had very few customers, and the shop wasn’t busy like before. So we are very excited today.

“We made sure there were enough staff working today, and we’ve cleaned the shop and ensured we follow the 5K rule so customers can come in.” 

Tourism sector will resume activities in safety: Deputy PM

Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam has said that when tourism activities resume, they will resume safely. Between now and the end of the year tourism will be gradually reintroduced across the country.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will issue guidelines that allow for adaption to any developing situation. The authorities will mobilise enough resources to deal with the ongoing threat. 

"The guidelines should be very detailed, from transportation, how to correctly conduct tests and the conditions of destinations and accommodation, as well as co-operation between localities and healthcare facilities to deal with positive cases quickly,” he said.

He also said tourism associations should have their own guidelines, in addition to official guidelines, to encourage a proactive approach to reopening safely. 

He assigned the Ministry of Transport to issue guidance on road, rail, and air transport. The ministry will also provide detailed directions to passengers.

“All travelling activities must obey the five safety rules issued by the Ministry of Health, especially the wearing of masks and maintaining a safe distance,” he stressed.

Regarding international visitors, the Deputy Prime Minister has assigned agencies to coordinate with the provinces of Kiên Giang and Khánh Hòa, to plan for the return of foreign tourists under a pilot scheme in November.

The General Director of the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism, Nguyễn Trùng Khánh, highlighted the impact the pandemic has had on the sector since 2020. 

The number of international tourists visiting Việt Nam in 2020 was 3.7 million, an 80 per cent decrease on 2019. Most of these arrived in January and February 2020, before the pandemic took hold. 

The number of domestic travellers decreased to 56 million, a fall of 34 per cent on the previous year.

Total revenue from tourism in 2020 was VNĐ312,200 billion (US$13,693 million), a 59 per cent decrease against 2019.

The numbers continued to freefall in 2021. In the first nine months of the year, domestic visitors fell to 31.5 million, a further 16 per cent decrease on 2020. The total revenue from the industry was just VNĐ 137,000 billion, a further 42 per cent fall on the same period of 2020.

Some 30 per cent of tourism enterprises have withdrawn from operation entirely. There are now around 2,000 enterprises offering their services throughout the country.

In the accommodation sector, around 90 per cent of hotels and resorts do not have guests, except those acting as official quarantine facilities.

Khánh said the ministry is working with local authorities in Kiên Giang to finish planning for the pilot scheme, which will herald the return of international visitors at the end of November this year.

He said the focus will be on ensuring safety for both destinations and visitors. A level of diversification will be required to adapt to the new operating conditions, as well as reacting to any developments that may happen as a result. 

Besides Phú Quốc in Kiên Giang Province, some provinces like Khánh Hòa, Quảng Nam, Đà Nẵng City and Quảng Ninh have made their own plans to restart international tourism routes.

It has been proposed that international tourism be reintroduced step by step; firstly in November in Phú Quốc, then in December in other areas like Quảng Ninh, Đà Nẵng and Quảng Nam.

The industry plans to fully reopen to foreign tourists in the second quarter of next year, if it is safe to do so. 

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is completing guidelines for domestic travelling. Khánh said the activities will be hindered for now by the fact that many people in different areas have not yet fully  vaccinated.

The ministry also asked the Government to consider promoting the pilot scheme with favourable policies, like visa or visa fee exemptions.

Vietnam business news

Hanoi buses remain deserted after resuming services

Many buses in Hanoi attracted only a small number of passengers on the first day services were resumed following a long suspension due to Covid-19. 

A representative from Hanoi Transportation Corporation (Transerco) said that many people might not know about the bus services resuming. In addition, many students are still waiting to return to their universities and schools.

Bus routes throughout the capital are allowed to operate at 50 percent of their maximum capacity to ensure the safety distance among passengers for Covid-19 prevention.

Bottles of hand sanitiser, QR codes for passengers to scan and notices on the Health Ministry’s 5K messages are available on all buses.

Taxi and inter-provincial transportation services also resumed operations from October 14. However, only some routes have been operated. For instance, this morning, Nuoc Ngam Station only received Hanoi-Lang Son coaches.

HCM City’s pat on the back for businesses that shrugged off COVID

The HCM City government has hailed businesses’ efforts to keep going through the COVID-19 pandemic, and thanked them for it.

Speaking at a HCM City Union of Business Associations event to mark Viet Nam Entrepreneurs Day (October 13), Phan Van Mai, chairman of the city People’s Committee, said while in the third quarter the city economy saw major setbacks, it also “achieved great results in production and exports, thanks to domestic and foreign businesses and investors.”

Some 83 per cent of businesses in industrial parks and processing and exporting zones have resumed production, and achieved over 60 per cent of capacity on average, he said.

A quarter of businesses elsewhere have also resumed operations, he said.

Businesses also contributed trillions of dong to the city’s pandemic control and prevention fund, enabling it to buy more ambulances and medical equipment spend on other requirements, he said.

The city needs to listen to their feedback to help them recover, and would focus on mitigating their difficulties to also ensure economic recovery, he said.

“Businesses should compete with one another … and push for digital transformation to facilitate the city’s growth.”

At the event, the city gave awards to 91 entrepreneurs and businesses for their “outstanding results” despite the challenges caused by COVID-19.

Market gets boost thanks to manufacturing stocks

On the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE), the VN-Index posted a gain of 2.58 points, or 0.19 per cent, to 1,394.49 points, with the market's breadth being positive.

The liquidity also improved as investors poured over VND12 trillion (US$424.7 million) into HoSE, equivalent to a trading volume of 409 million shares.

The index was supported by gains in some large-cap stocks, especially in manufacturing and energy sectors, despite falls in the 30 biggest stocks tracker VN30-Index. Accordingly, the VN30-Index lost 1.18 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 1,504.37 points.

Of the VN30 basket, 16 stocks climbed while 11 ended lower and three were flat in the morning trade.

Supporting the index's rally, Vietnam Rubber Group (GVR) led the gaining group, with a rise of 2.8 per cent. It was followed by PetroVietnam Gas (PVGas, GAS) and Hoa Phat Group (HPG), up 1.35 per cent and 0.53 per cent, respectively.

On the downtrend, real estate and bank stocks were still favourite shares for profit-taking. Of which, Vingroup (VIC) and Vinhomes (VHM) were two biggest lossers, down 0.86 per cent and 0.75 per cent, respectively.

SahaBank (SHB) and Vietcombank (VCB) were also among big stocks weighing the market's sentiment.

On Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX), the HNX-Index inched higher this morning on coal stocks like Vinacomin - Vang Danh Coal (TVD). The index rose 4.69 points, or 1.24 per cent, to 384.03 points. 

Digital transformation plays a vital role in development

Digital transformation has become indispensable trend of every country since 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the process around the world.

The comments was made by Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Phan Tam during a ministerial-level roundtable discussion themed “Cutting the cost: Can affordable access accelerate digital transformation?” which took place on Wednesday within the framework of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)'s Digital World 2021.

He suggested countries pay more attention to affordable access and developing digital platforms which could be considered infrastructure in the digital world.

According to Tam, it is necessary to digitalise socio-economic activities and bring them to digital platforms.

Speaking at the meeting, Secretary-General of the ITU Houlin Zhao said Viet Nam is a good model in telecom infrastructure development that countries could learn from.

Zhao said Viet Nam has been working with countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America on promoting telecommunication development despite the low profitability and often being ignored by investors.

He added to date, more than half of the world is connected via IT and telecom technologies. However, success only comes when the rest of the world gains access to the internet at an affordable price.

To realise this target, Zhao called for the world to focus on investing in telecom infrastructure via greater incentives and strong partnerships between countries.

At the conference, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies Rashad Nabiyev suggested governments should be the backbone in countries’ efforts to promote digitalisation.

With incentive policies and through public-private partnerships (PPP), governments may further attract private investment in digital infrastructure, Nabiyev added.

Minister of Science, Technology, and Telecommunications of Costa Rica Paola Vega Castillo said her country was working on a five-year telecommunication strategy for the private sector to play a greater role in the digitalisation process.

From this process, businesses would benefit under the PPP model, she said.

Sharing the idea, Vietnamese Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung told participants that for every country, the success of digital transformation would depend on leaders at the highest level.

The minister said: “Leaders have to make the difficult choice of restructuring the entire operation and reallocate resources, including the workforce, to embark on the digitalisation process."

In Viet Nam, digitalisation is centered around the development of the digital economy, society, and Government, with digital infrastructure playing a key part in this process.

“Viet Nam strives to ensure 100 per cent of people have access to the internet by late 2021. The country is in the process of testing 5G networks, with preparation being accelerated to commercialise the network by 2022.”

At the ministerial-level roundtable on the same theme on Tuesday, Hung said in order to promote internet access, Viet Nam will shut down its 2G network by 2023. The Vietnamese Government and telecom providers will fund the use of 4G network for 2G mobile phone users, meaning that all phone users will be ready for internet access by 2023.

At the conference, participants also shared experience in digital transformation, resources to develop information and communications technology, and ways to develop digital transformation effectively.

They discussed ways to deal with barriers regarding residents’ affordability for telecom services, policies and measures to minimise costs.

The three day conference concluded yesterday. 

Export prices of rice climb

According to the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), Vietnam's 5-percent broken rice is currently sold at US$433-US$437 per ton, up $40 per ton compared to mid-August this year.

The price of rice increased slightly compared to September this year. Noticeably, when localities loosen social distancing, travel and the consumption of rice become more convenient.

Enterprises have also boosted the export of rice when the transportation starts to be smooth.
“Currently, paddy prices range from VND5,000 to VND5,400 per kg. The good thing is that traders bought paddy right at the field as soon as farmers harvested rice,” said Mr. Tran Chi Hung, Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Hau Giang Province, on the morning of October 13. So far, farmers in Hau Giang have harvested 10,000 out of 35,000 hectares of autumn-winter rice.

The Mekong Delta is in the harvest season of this autumn-winter rice crop. Rice prices vary by VND300-VND500 per kg, depending on the locality.

According to the VFA, rice prices in the Mekong Delta move differently among provinces. In Can Tho City, Long An, and An Giang provinces, rice price is quite stable. Meanwhile, it tends to increase slightly in Bac Lieu, Tien Giang, Dong Thap provinces. Accordingly, in Tien Giang, Dong Thap, and Kien Giang provinces, the price of rice edged up by VND200-VND400 per kg in the past week, reaching a selling price of VND5,250 -VND6,000 per kg, depending on the variety.

Vietnam's 5-percent broken rice is currently sold at $433-$437 per ton, an increase of $40 per ton compared to mid-August. Meanwhile, Vietnam's 25-percent broken rice has risen to $403 per ton, while Thai rice is at $373 per ton, and Indian and Pakistani rice both stand at $338 per ton.

According to a rice exporter in the Mekong Delta, the domestic and export prices of rice surged because of many factors. Specifically, the government has increased purchasing for stockpiling, stimulating both domestic and export prices; enterprises have received many new rice export orders. By October this year, enterprises have exported more than 4.57 million tons of rice, with a turnover of more than $2.41 billion.

Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/SGGP/Nhan Dan

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS OCTOBER 14

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS OCTOBER 14

Ministry of Transport agrees to resume two more domestic air routes