BUSINESS IN BRIEF 13/2

Created 13 February 2018
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Shops, supermarkets to remain open during Tet,Hanoi targets 7.5-8 percent export growth in 2018,State capital manager urged to root out corruption,Hanoi encourages exporters’ expansion

Shops, supermarkets to remain open during Tet, Hanoi targets 7.5-8 percent export growth in 2018, State capital manager urged to root out corruption, Hanoi encourages exporters’ expansion

Shops, supermarkets to remain open during Tet

     

Shops, supermarkets to remain open during Tet, Hanoi targets 7.5-8 percent export growth in 2018, State capital manager urged to root out corruption, Hanoi encourages exporters’ expansion

Big C supermarket chain has announced that it would increase its operating hours at stores nationwide from Monday to Wednesday this week to meet the increasing shopping demand for the holiday season. Its supermarkets will remain open from 6am to midnight instead of the current 7am to 11pm.

According to Big C, the purchasing power of people has surged, with more demand for food, confectionery and fruits. In fact, the purchasing power has seen the highest rise so far, putting load on its chains, Big C said.

The purchasing power is expected to increase in the last three days of the lunar year, which is why Big C decided to increase its operating hours.

Co.opXtra supermarket in HCM City will also increase its operating time from 6am to midnight. It will remain shut only on the first day of the Lunar New Year, which falls on February 16.

Lotte Mart supermarkets will operate from 7am to 11pm. Some of its supermarkets in HCM City will be open during Tet holiday.

Satra and Satrafoods supermarkets will operate from 6am to midnight from February 12-14.

AEON Mall will also remain open during Tet.

Vincom commercial centres and Vinmart supermarkets will increase the number of staff to ensure smooth delivery of goods and payment.

The municipal Department of Industry and Trade has announced that all supermarkets, shops and markets will reopen on February 19 after the holiday. 

Phu Quoc island district targets 1,200 tonnes of pepper in 2018

The island district of Phu Quoc in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang aims to produce at least 1,200 tonnes of pepper in 2018.

According to Vice Chairman of the district’s People’s Committee Huynh Quang Hung, Phu Quoc has about 520 hectares of pepper plants, mainly in Cua Duong, Cua Can and Duong To communes.

To develop pepper output, quality and economic efficiency, the district is providing farmers with cultivation techniques to prevent diseases, and investing in building an irrigation system for the dry season.

Local authorities have also helped farmers upgrade pepper growing areas with poor productivity and low economic efficiency, expand new areas and develop pepper-based ecotourism.

The district also studied building pepper production towards Global Good Agricultural Practice (GlobalGAP) and applied advanced cultivation techniques to create clean and profitable products.

In 2017, Phu Quoc produced 1,245 tonnes of pepper, surpassing the yearly target by 3.7 percent, up 2 percent compared to the previous year.

In Phu Quoc, farmers do not use chemical fertilizers but organic ones and dry peppers under the sunlight instead of by machine as in other regions. Thanks to this natural farming process along with favorable climate, rich soil and abundant sunshine, Phu Quoc pepper is famous for its heat, pungency and strong aroma, especially the red pepper.

Phu Quoc pepper was recognised as a “collective trademark” by the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam under the Ministry of Science and Technology in 2011.

Hanoi targets 7.5-8 percent export growth in 2018

Hanoi has set a target of 7.5-8 percent in export growth in 2018 as compared to last year, which requires stronger efforts from both the industry-trade sector and businesses.

The capital city raked in 1.04 billion USD from exports in January, up 24 percent from the same period last year. 

The revenue included 139 million USD contributed by the State sector (up 9.8 percent), 352 million USD from the non-State sector (up 16.6 percent), and 556 million USD from FDI firms (up 33.6 percent), according to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade.

All key groups of commodities posted strong year-on-year export growth in January such as agricultural products (13.6 percent), computer components and peripheral devices (68.1 percent), transport vehicles and spare parts (12.7 percent), machinery and spare parts (21.8 percent), glass and glass products (25 percent).

However, the sale of agricultural products to China is facing obstacles since this market is tightening plant quarantine. It has also encountered strict quality and food safety requirements from the US, the EU and Japan.

Meanwhile, Hanoi’s export still depends on FDI companies which dominate the production of processed and manufactured products with high added value.

Nguyen Gia Phuong, Director of the Hanoi Investment, Trade and Tourism Promotion Agency, said to help businesses expand the export market and advertise their products, the agency has continually organised overseas promotion campaigns, especially the countries that Vietnam has inked free trade agreements with. 

It has also worked to receive foreign business delegations so as to help local craft villages and companies to seek partners, he added.

Nguyen Thanh Hai, Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, noted the department and the Hanoi People’s Committee will support enterprises in terms of access to loans and markets, increase trade promotion in such markets as Japan, China, Hong Kong (China), and Germany, help local companies to diversify export markets.

The department also plans to push ahead with administrative reforms, abolish unnecessary business conditions, and improve online public services, Hai said, adding that Hanoi will pay attention to promoting products’ competitiveness, investment effectiveness, and businesses’ engagement in global value chains.

State capital manager urged to root out corruption

The committee for management of state capital at enterprises must join hands with relevant agencies to chalk out concrete measures to prevent corruption, losses and waste, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

The Government leader made the call at a ceremony on February 12 to hand out a decision to appoint Nguyen Hoang Anh, former Secretary of Cao Bang province Party Committee, to the post of chairman of the special committee to manage State capital at enterprises.

He laid stress on the committee’s two key long term tasks, which are bolstering equitisation and divestment of state capital and improving capacity and efficiency of state-owned enterprises, especially large corporations.

The privatisation process must follow the principles of publicity and transparency as well as bringing the greatest benefit to the state, Prime Minister Phuc said, noting that due attention must be given to the fight against vested interests and corruption in every phase of the equitisation process.

The Prime Minister also required the committee to exercise its power in monitoring and inspecting the operation of enterprises under its management.

Anh, for his part, promised to do his utmost to fulfill the mission entrusted by the Party and Government. He also presented some specific measures which will be carried out in 2018 and the following years to tackle corruption, a headache issue in the country for years.

Earlier, on February 8, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc signed a decision to appoint Anh as the head of the state capital management body.

The Government issued Resolution 09/NQ-CP in early February to set up the special committee as an agency under the Government that acts as the ownership representative of State capital at wholly State-owned enterprises and at joint stock and liability companies with two or more members.

The committee has a legal status, seal with the national emblem and an account opened at the State Treasury.

Nguyen Hoang Anh holds a master’s degree in world economy and international economic relations and a bachelor’s degree in political theory. He held the post of Secretary of Cao Bang province Party Committee from March 2015 to December 2017 before assuming the new role in the State capital management committee.

State budget revenue in January up 5.2 percent on year

Total revenue of the State budget in January was estimated at 114.2 trillion VND (5 billion USD), equivalent to 8.7 percent of the year’s estimate and up 5.2 percent from the same period last year, according to the Finance Ministry.  

Domestic revenue, estimated at 95.5 trillion VND, reduced from the same period last year. The figure was equal to 98.6 percent of the revenue in January 2017, but equivalent to 8.7 percent of estimate.  

Meanwhile, revenue from crude oil surged 48.6 percent year on year, reaching around 4.1 trillion VND and accounting for 11.4 percent of estimate. The Finance Ministry attributed the increase to high world price, with Vietnam’s oil fetching an estimated 66 USD per barrel, 16 USD higher than expected price and 7.4 USD higher than the price in the same period last year. 

Revenue from foreign trade was estimated at 22.5 trillion VND, up 9.6 percent on year. 

In the same period, State budget spending was estimated at 91.5 trillion VND, equal to 6 percent of estimate. Debt payment accounted for 15.5 percent. 

Government bonds worth more than 16.5 trillion VND were issued in January, ensuring money supply for spending and debt payment.

Supermarkets in HCM City gear up for Lunar New Year     

 Many supermarkets are launching attractive promotion programmes in the days ahead of Tet (Lunar New Year) to attract customers. Tet falls on February 16 this year.

In addition to cutting prices on more than 5,000 essential items from January 11 to February 14, Co.opmart and Co.opXtra have teamed up with suppliers for another programme under which they will cut prices of many kinds of fresh food by the maximum possible rates for seven days starting just before Tet.

They have also applied “Super discounts” and “Buy more, get more discounts” on the weekend and incentive programmes for their loyal customers such as offering high reward points.

Similarly, Korean retailer Lotte Mart also launched three consecutive promotion programmes: The “Tet comes to Lotte Mart” programme takes place from January 24 to February 15, with discounts between 5-49 per cent on more than 1,200 products; “For a full Tet” from February 7 to 15 with discounts on over 80 Tet-featured products; and “Starting a desired spring” programme from February 13 to 21 with hundreds of products discounted between 5-49 per cent.

Supermarket chain Big C is offering a discount of up to 40 per cent on 13 types of fruit. Imported fruits like Egyptian oranges, Korean pears, French kiwis and South African grapes are priced at VND30,000-83,000 (US$1.32-3.64) for a kilo until February 15.

Moreover, for the first time, French and US green and red apples will be sold at the same price of VND29,900 a kilo.

In addition to this, Big C will launch two “unprecedented price shock” programmes applicable to its food and fresh goods until New Year’s Eve on February 15.

According to insiders, the closer to Tet, retailers increasing apply promotion programmes to enhance competitiveness in attracting customers.

Market movements in the peak shopping days for Tet usually change quickly. Therefore, retailers need to keep a close eye on up-to-date figures to identify changes for timely responses.

Goods transported to the city’s two wholesales markets have increased strongly to meet peak shopping demand for the New Year from February 11 to 15.

Nguyen Van Huay, director of Thu Duc Wholesale Market Management and Trade Company, said goods volume entering the market can reach up to 7,500 tonnes a day, an increase of 10 per cent over last year’s Tet.

Vegetable volume at the market fluctuates between 2,700 tonnes to 3,000 tonnes a day, while fruits are between 4,300-4,500 tonnes a day.

At Hoc Mon wholesale market, the amount of goods entering the market from February 12 (four days ahead of Tet) may go up to 5,500 tonnes per day, up 100 per cent compared to normal days.

According to traders at the two wholesales markets, the supply of popular fruits for Tet such as grapefruits, mangos, tangerines and dragon fruits may be not much higher due to unfavourable weather last year.

About 150-170 tonnes of grapefruits and 100-120 tonnes of mango are expected to enter Thu Duc Market a day on days near Tet, but their prices will rise sharply if there is a surge in demand.

Thu Duc Wholesale Market’s management board forecasted that grapefruits can be priced at VND60,000-65,000 per kilo for green skin grapefruit and VND28,000-30,000 a kilo for Nam Roi grapefruit, while it is VND130,000-150,000 for a kilo of Hoa Loc mango, VND45,000-50,000 per kilo of sweet tangerine and VND80,000-100,000 per kilo of custard-apple.

Nguyen Huynh Trang, deputy director of the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade, has asked the management boards of the two wholesale markets to keep track of markets and update supply-demand and pricing situations, in order to quickly report to the department and relevant agencies if there is a sudden fluctuation. 

Flowers in Trà Vinh selling like hot cakes     

Flower growers in the southern province of Tra Vinh are excited as this year’s flower season has been productive, with price increases from VND10,000 (50 US cents) to VND15,000 per pot compared to last year.

Specifically, prices of daisy flowers and dahlia range from VND75,000 to VND100,000 per pair, while paper flowers cost from VND80,000 to VND 100,000 VND per pair.

Hong Phan Dau, a flower planter in Long Duc Commune, Tra Vinh Province planted 4,000 flower pots of all kinds.

“Prices of flowers this Lunar New Year are higher than other years from VND10,000-15,000 per pot,” he told Vietnam News Agency.

More than 60 per cent of his flowers have been purchased by traders from Binh Chanh District, HCM City and Tra Vinh Province, he said.

Tra Vinh Province has two ornamental flower villages, one in Vinh Yen Hamlet, Long Duc Commune and one in Long Binh Hamlet, Ward 4 with 158 households growing flowers on ​​nearly 30 hectares.

Developed over more than 60 years, the two villages were recognised by the People’s Committee of Tra Vinh Province as traditional villages in 2011.

Nguyen Thi Ngoc Nhi, head of economic division of the provincial people’s committee, said the province is building many programmes to develop the two villages.

The locality will mobilise resources for investment in transport infrastructure, electricity and water supply for gardeners to approach new science and technology.

In recent years, thanks to the flowers, people in the villages have a more stable income.

Every year, these two villages supply Lunar New Year markets with about 300,000 pots of flowers.

Apart from serving markets in the province, Tra Vinh flowers are also popular and traded in provinces such as Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Binh Duong, Ho Chi Minh, Dong Nai and Ben Tre. 

Hanoi encourages exporters’ expansion     

Ha Noi’s export management authorities have set out to invigorate local firms to achieve an ambitious goal of growing export turnover some 7.5 to 8 per cent in 2018.

Nguyen Thanh Hai, deputy director of the Ha Noi Department of Industry and Trade, said that in the future, his department and the Ha Noi People’s Committee will continue their utmost support for local enterprises in the forms of businesses loans and easing market access.

He emphasised trade promotion activities with partner countries such as Japan, China and Germany, saying that trade ties with these long-term exporting markets are most likely to bring benefits to the city’s business community.

However, some markets have proven to be more difficult for local firms to crack. In recent times, China has tightened its plant quarantine on Vietnamese agricultural imports, while the US, EU and Japan market have also put up technical barriers to Vietnamese products with new standards for quality, food hygiene and safety, said Hai.

Nguyen Gia Phuong, director of the Ha Noi Investment, Trade and Tourism Promotion Centre, told the Vietnam News Agency that for local enterprises to expand their export markets and promote Vietnamese brand names, participation in international and regional promotional programmes is crucial, such as the February 2018 consumer goods trade fair in Frankfurt, Germany.

He also welcomed foreign business delegations to support Ha Noi’s craft villages, particularly agricultural products, traditional textiles and garments, in hopes of not only revitalising age-old trades, but also boosting overall trade turnover and diversifying export markets.

The city is committed to improving its administrative procedures, reducing incessant business and investment conditions and enhancing online public services’ quality.

According to the Viẹt Nam General Department of Customs’ report on Ha Noi’s January 2018 export and import values, the city reached a total turnover of US$1.04 billion, up by $139 million year-on-year.

The private sector contributed $352 million to total turnover, while the foreign direct investment sector added $556 million, having increased by 16.6 per cent and 33.6 per cent from 2017’s numbers, respectively.

All of Ha Noi’s major export commodities grew strongly in January 2018 from the same period last year, including agricultural products, computer components, automobile spare parts, machine parts and glass products, according to the GDVC’s report.

The most important task for domestic exporters now, according to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong, is to maximize its penetration of the global market for agricultural products.

At a February 8 conference in Ha Noi, Minister Cuong said that in order to expand agriculture export markets in the context of increasing protectionism, firms should not expect the negotiation process to be anything but difficult and time-consuming.

Cuong recommended a number of measures, on which the competent authorities and Vietnamese commercial counsellors in other countries should coordinate closely, in order to actively seek and introduce foreign agricultural associations, corporations and enterprises to Vietnamese products. 

Bumper Tet for watermelon farmers     

Farmers who grow watermelon in Ca Mau Province’s Ca Mau City are raking in high profits because of a bumper harvest and rising prices for the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday when the fruit is used on virtually every family altar.

Le Van Muoi, who grew 4,000 sq.m of watermelon under Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards, harvested watermelon last week and sold them for VND8,000 (US 35 cent) a kilo.

After deducting all production costs, he was able to earn a profit of VND30 million ($1,300) per 1,000 sq.m. “This is the first year I’ve used VietGAP standards. I’m very happy because I had a bumper crop and high prices,” he said.

In previous years, Muoi grew watermelon using traditional methods and did not see high profits.

In recent years, growing watermelon for Tet brought high profits for farmers who decided to expand cultivation for the Tet crop.

In Ly Van Lam Commune’s specialised watermelon cultivation area, farmers have planted 73 ha for this Tet, up 13 ha against last Tet. Of the figure, 21 ha are planted under VietGAP standards.

Farmers have planted red and yellow flesh watermelons and the seedless variety, all of which have had a high yield and good quality.

The commune’s watermelon is famous for its sweetness.

Many watermelon farmers have escaped poverty and become wealthy, according to the Ca Mau Province Farmers Association, which has organised courses on farming techniques to help them improve their profits.

For this crop, farmers earned an average profit of more than VND15 million for each 1,000 sq.m, according to the association.

Many farmers who grow vegetables in the commune have applied VietGAP standards for mustard leaves, water spinach, cucumber, bitter melon and tomato.

Nguyen Chi Thanh, who owns a 1.3 ha garden in the commune’s Chanh Hamlet, said his family had grown five types of vegetables and fruits under VietGAP standards, including bitter melon.

Last week, traders purchased his bitter melon for VND10,000 a kilo, which is expected to rise near Tet, he said.

“My family will have a good Tet thanks to our use of VietGAP standards,” he said.

Growing VietGAP vegetables normally offers a profit of 15-20 per cent higher than normal vegetables.

Nguyen Van Nhan, chairman of the Ly Van Lam Commune Farmers Association, said the farmers should develop a brand for vegetables and expand their sales network.

The Ly Van Lam Agricultural Service Co-operative, which has planted vegetables under VietGAP standards, plans to develop five sale points in Ca Mau City this year and expand its vegetables planted under VietGAP standards to 10ha.

As of last December, the co-operative had planted five hectares of VietGAP vegetables.

More co-operation expected between Hoa Lam Group, Operation Smile     

Prof Dr William P. Magee, managing director of Operation Smile, recently paid a working visit to the City International Hospital in the Hoa Lam – Shangri-La Medical High Tech Area.

It was aimed at connecting and creating bilateral co-operation opportunities for setting up professional clinics to serve the community.

A developed Operation Smile

Operation Smile was one of the first non-governmental organizations from the US to come to Viet Nam as part of the normalisation of Viet Nam - US ties and with the hope of changing the lives of unfortunate children with congenital malformations and other facial malformations through voluntary surgery programmes.

“Operation Smile would like to go further by not only operating on 2,000 – 3,000 unfortunate children each year, but also developing professional clinics to improve the quality of community healthcare programmes,” Nguyen Viet Phuong, development deputy president of Operation Smile Asia Pacific and head representative in Viet Nam, said.

“We have a huge human resource of 12,000 volunteers and medical experts in 60 nations around the world for 35 years, and we hope to take advantage of these strengths to increase professional training courses, improve safety and create favourable conditions for local people to access modern healthcare,” he added.

Tran Thi Lam, chairwoman of the Hoa Lam Group, the developer of the Hoa Lam – Shangri-la Medical High-tech Area, said she is delighted and ready to co-operate with Operation Smile to bring benefits to local communities, especially unfortunate children with congenital malformations, and contribute to developing a modern and efficient medical industry.

“This is my wish for the high-tech medical field,” she said.

Dr Truong Vinh Long, medical managing director of the Hoa Lam Group and general director of the Hoa Lam International Hospital, said after the City International Hospital, Hoa Lam International Hospital is the second to be built using the public – private - partnership (PPP) model between Hoa Lam Group and People’s Hospital 115.

It has 350 beds and VND1.5 trillion (US$68 million) to build.

These are two out of a total of six hospitals which are planned to be built in the Hoa Lam – Shangri-la Medical Hightech Area.

After visiting the newly-completed Hoa Lam International Hospital, Prof Dr Magee expressed his surprise at the reasonable investment, good design, quality of construction, modern equipment and the space available for patients. He expected the co-operation to be successful.

Two days ago Vietnamese Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, who is also the chairman of the Sponsoring Council of the Viet Nam Children Support Fund, met Prof Dr Magee and appreciated the contribution of Operation Smile in bringing smiles to and changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese children.

She hoped that in future Operation Smile would continue to support Viet Nam in taking care of children's health in general and providing surgery and rehabilitation for children with facial deformities. The Vietnam Children Support Fund would actively co-ordinate with and create conditions for Operation Smile to bring smiles to more children with congenital malformations in the country, she promised.

In the last 28 years in Viet Nam, Operation Smile has collaborated with many organisations and individuals to bring smiles and change the lives of ten of thousands of children, especially children with cleft lips and congenital malformations.

Operation Smile has also undertaken many other humanitarian programmes such as dental examination and treatment; cranial surgery; treating burned scars; exchanging and training medical specialists ….

Since coming to Vietnam in 1989 Operation Smile and its partners have examined and treated more than 40,000 children, giving them and their families new lives.

Fruit, vegetable exports up 37% in January     

Viet Nam earned some US$321 million from fruit and vegetable exports in January 2018, a year-on-year increase of 36.9 per cent, says the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

China, Japan, the United States and the Republic of Korea remained the biggest importers of Vietnamese fruits and vegetables in the month. Other markets with strongly soaring fruit and vegetable imports from Viet Nam were Japan (69.3 per cent), the United Arab Emirates (56.3 per cent) and China (52.4 per cent).

Viet Nam, meanwhile, imported $152 million worth of these commodities in January, of which fruits accounted for 76 per cent.

MARD said the domestic fruit market saw great fluctuations, with a rise in the price of dragon fruit in the Mekong Delta region.

The trend is expected to continue in the lead-up to the Tet (Lunar New Year) festival.

Prices of star apple and jack fruit also climbed up, reaching VND15,000 (US 7 cents) and VND43,000 ($1.9) per kg, due to increasing demand for these two fruits in the United States and China, respectively.

Meanwhile, the price of orange in the Mekong Delta region fell dramatically due to abundant supply and crop disease.

Prices of several vegetables also dropped in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong due to high supply fuelled by favourable weather.

For instance, the price fell by VND500 per kilo to VND3,000 for cabbage; by VND2,000 per kilo to VND8,000 for tomatoes, and by VND2,000 per kilo to VND20,000 for broccoli against the prices in the beginning of January 2018.

In 2017, Viet Nam achieved a year-on-year surge of 40.5 per cent in the export value of vegetables and fruits to $3.45 billion. 

Becamex IDC to trade on UPCoMin February     

The Investment and Industrial Development Corporation (Becamex IDC) will trade more than 23.4 million shares on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) on February 21.

The firm’s shares will start trading at VNĐ31,000 (US$1.37) per share.

On December 1, 2017,Becamex IDC put 311.2 million shares, or 23.6 per cent of its chartered capital, for sale at its initial public offering (IPO) but sold only six per cent of the shares.

The company raised only VNĐ587 billion from its IPO, with foreign investors purchasing 56 per cent of the shares sold.

One month after the IPO, Becamex IDC attempted to sell 296.4 million shares left over at its previous IPO, but the second attempt was also unsuccessful as the company was able to offload only 5.1 million shares, earning VNĐ158 billion.

Thus, Becamex IDC sold a total of 24 million shares, or 7.7 per cent of the total shares offered for sale after two attempts, earning VNĐ745 billion.

Under the privatisation plan for Becamex IDC, the company has VNĐ13.17 trillion in chartered capital.

The company will offer 311.2 million shares in its third IPO, while a quarter of its capital will be sold to strategic investors and 0.4 per cent stake will be transferred to its employees.

The government will hold 51 per cent of the company’s chartered capital after it completes the equitisation process. 

Government issues Vinachem charter     

The Government has issued the organisation and operation charter of the Viet Nam Chemical National Group (Vinachem).

Its chartered capital is now more than VND13.7 trillion (US$602.2 million). It’s expected to be VND20 trillion by 2020.

The Government will hold 100 per cent of its charter capital.

Accordingly, Vinachem will be a one-member limited company and will operate under the Law on Enterprises and related laws besides the charter.

Vinachem will have the primary functions of investment and trading of State capital in the chemical sector, fertiliser and plant protection trade and petrochemical and mineral exploitation and processing. It can invest in its subsidiaries or associated companies.

Vinachem’s organisational structure will include a member council, general director, deputy general directors, surveyors, a chief accountant and an international auditing board.

The chairman of the member council will be appointed the Prime Minister based on the proposal of the Minister of Industry and Trade.

Vinachem’s general director will manage the daily activities of the group and take responsibility for any assigned tasks.

The general director will be chosen by the member council after getting approval from the ministry. Each general director’s term will not exceed five years. 

 

Source: As many as 104 shops and supermarkets will remain open during Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year). - Bridge

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