BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF 21/12

Created 21 December 2018
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District 1 property market on the up,VNG prepares for private placement to investors,Stoking start-up spirit for Viet Nam’s prosperity,Series of real estate companies owe hundreds of billion dong in taxes
District 1 property market on the up, VNG prepares for private placement to investors, Stoking start-up spirit for Viet Nam’s prosperity, Series of real estate companies owe hundreds of billion dong in taxes

Vietnam, New Zealand networking event discusses CPTPP

The Vietnam Trade Office partnered with the Wellington Chamber of Commerce and the ASEAN-New Zealand Business Council to run the Vietnam-New Zealand Free Trade Breakfast last week, discussing various trade issues.

The event gathered representatives from enterprises in Wellington and Auckland doing business in or have business transactions with Vietnam together with local trade promotion agencies. 

It provided an opportunity to network and hear directly from key figures in Vietnam and New Zealand to gain a better understanding of the benefits of the two countries’ trade relations, particularly as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is about to enter into force.

Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to New Zealand Ta Van Thong gave the attendees an overview of Vietnam’s economy, its CPTPP commitments relating to the domestic business environment, and support services the Vietnam Trade Office offers to New Zealand companies. He also talked about trade relations between the two nations.

CPTPP Chief Negotiator for New Zealand Michelle Slade presented the structure of the CPTPP and benefits of the agreement in terms of trade and services, investment, government procurement and others. 

She further detailed on what the Government of New Zealand has done to implement the CPTPP and how the trade deal is beneficial to Vietnam.

New Zealand businesses shared their practices in gaining access and doing business in Vietnam, as well as their plans to make use of the CPTPP. 

The Victoria University of Wellington shared its experience in market positioning and cooperation in education with Vietnam’s representative, while the New Zealand Trade Centre talked about their experience in expanding the beverage and fruit market in Vietnam and developing partnership to provide the country with advanced technology in food origin traceability.

Vietnam and New Zealand were among the 11 CPTPP member states alongside Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, and Singapore. It was signed in Chile in March and is expected to be effective this month.

The CPTPP is one of the most comprehensive trade deals ever concluded and strips 98 percent of tariffs for 11 countries with a combined GDP of more than 13.8 trillion USD and close to 500 million consumers.

Vietjet Air starts selling tickets on HCM City-Van Don route

District 1 property market on the up, VNG prepares for private placement to investors, Stoking start-up spirit for Viet Nam’s prosperity, Series of real estate companies owe hundreds of billion dong in taxes

Budget carrier Vietjet Air has begun selling tickets on the route between Ho Chi Minh City and Van Don island district in the northern coastal province of Quang Ninh. 

Vietjet Air will operate return flights on the route every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday as from January 20, 2019, with each leg lasting for about two and a quarter hours.  

The flights will depart from HCM City at 7:00 and arrive at Van Don at 9:15. The return flight will take off at 9:50 and land in HCM City at 12:05.  

To mark the new route, Vietjet Air offers 2.2 million tickets priced only from 0 VND during the “golden hours” from 12:00 to 14:00 on three golden days from December 20-22 on its website at www.vietjetair.com. 

The promotion campaign is applied to all domestic routes for flights between January 20 and December 31, 2019, excluding holidays.

With the aim of becoming a “Consumer Airline,” Vietjet Air has continually opened new routes, added more aircraft to its fleet, invested in modern technology and offered more added-on products and services.

With a fleet of over 60 aircraft, including the A320 and A321, Vietjet Air operates 385 flights each day to 105 destinations in Vietnam and across the region. 

Construction on Van Don International Airport, the first of its kind in Vietnam invested by a private investor – SunGroup, started in 2015 with total investment of 7.5 trillion VND (330 million USD). 

Under a March decision by the Ministry of Transport, Van Don will be an international airport, serving both civilian and military flights with a 3.6km-long runway. The airport will have an annual capacity of about 2 million passengers by 2020, which will increase to 5 million by 2030.

Van Don district is among three special economic zones planned in the country. Therefore, the airport is expected to boost the local economy, particularly tourism at UNESCO-recognised Ha Long Bay.

ACV welcomes 100 millionth passenger at Phu Quoc International Airport

District 1 property market on the up, VNG prepares for private placement to investors, Stoking start-up spirit for Viet Nam’s prosperity, Series of real estate companies owe hundreds of billion dong in taxes

The Airport Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) hit a milestone last weekend as it welcomed the 100 millionth passenger arriving at its network of airport across the country this year.

Bui Ngoc Giang, the 100 millionth passenger and a Vietnamese national, arrived at Phu Quoc International Airport on Phu Quoc Island, the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang, last weekend after flying with Vietnam Airlines from Hanoi. 

Giang was welcomed with flowers in a ceremony held by the ACV to also celebrate the completion of the expansion of the airport.

In 2016, the ACV began the expansion of Phu Quoc International Airport, which is among 22 airports the State-run firm operates nationwide. The project costed about one trillion VND (43 million USD). 

The project expanded the area of the airport from about 24,300 sqm to more than 36,000 sqm and increased the number of boarding gates from four to 12, including eight for domestic flights and four for international flights. The airport is now also equipped with four new passenger boarding bridges.

The expansion allows the airport to raise its capacity from 2.65 million passengers to 4 million passengers per year and provide higher quality services and facilities.

Phu Quoc International Airport was put into operation in 2012. Currently, about 80 flights take off or land at the airport a day. During high travel season in summer and national holidays, the number can reach 100 as it connects visitors with one of Vietnam’s most popular destination – Phu Quoc Island.

Dubbed as the “pearl island,” Phu Quoc is endowed with beautiful beaches with white and golden sand and crystal-clear water, alongside pristine forests.

Since the island was connected to the national electrical grid and a visa waiver policy which gives foreigners a 30-day visa-free stay was adopted in 2014, foreigners have been flocking to the island.

According to figures from the local administration, last year the island received 1.96 million visitors, a 35 percent year-on-year increase, including more than 360,000 foreign visitors, up 72 percent.

In the first quarter of this year the number of visitors hit 760,000, a 37 percent rise over the same period last year. Foreign arrivals doubled to 286,000.

Ben Tre attracts investment in high-tech agriculture

The Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre is striving to attract more investment in high-tech agriculture, given that it boasts nearly 100,000ha of coconut trees, specialty fruits and nearly 10 million ornamental plants. 

Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Cao Van Trong said the province has offered incentives to projects in and outside industrial zones, cut timeline for administrative procedures by 30-50 percent, established a public services group at the centre for investment and start-up promotion. 

The locality has also assisted investors via investment promotion programmes, market connectivity, trade promotion and product display at domestic and foreign fairs. 

From the State and local budget, Ben Tre granted an aid of over 32.6 billion VND (1.41 million USD) to six businesses in the fields of animal breeding, farm produce processing and preservation. 

In compliance with the government’s Decree No.55/2015/ND-CP on credit policy for agricultural and rural development, Ben Tre has so far offered loans worth upwards 45 trillion VND (1.95 billion USD), over 18 trillion VND of which was in farming. 

Ben Tre has so far recorded 451 enterprises working in agriculture, accounting for 17 percent of the total in the locality. The combined registered capital in the field makes up 30 percent of the total. 

Local farm produce have been shipped to 70 countries and territories worldwide. The province has attracted 24 out of 52 foreign-invested firms in agriculture with a total registered capital of 225.7 million USD, or 26 percent of the total foreign direct investment there. 

At an agriculture investment promotion forum recently held by the provincial People’s Committee, corporate representatives pointed out difficulties when investing in the locality such as hard access to bank loans and land to build material zones, and limited connectivity between farmers and enterprises to pursue production in value chain. 

Trong said the province is expected to become a leading regional centre of farm produce production, purchase and distribution and an ecological tourism destination. 

Nguyen Minh Canh, Director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment said in the near future, the province will continue improving the business environment and issuing support policies for investors, especially those in agriculture and rural development. 

He added that Ben Tre will apply more technological advances in agricultural production as well as assist firms in quality certification and join national quality awards. 

Credit organisations will be encouraged to invest in agriculture and rural development via preferential interest rates. Priority will also be given to eco-friendly and start-up projects.

Six more solar power projects licensed in Binh Phuoc

The Government has approved an additional six solar power projects with a combined capacity of 850 MWp in Binh Phuoc, raising the total solar energy capacity of the southern province to the highest in the country.

According to Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Tram, the locality has finalised plans for solar energy development to 2030.

The total area of land used for electricity projects is estimated to be up to 5,000-6,000ha, mostly concentrated in Loc Ninh district.

Nguyen Anh Hoang, Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, said the provincial People’s Committee has accepted the work of two investors in the field of solar power development.

It is hoped that the projects will start to generate electricity to the national grid in June next year. However, experts said the cost of solar power projects is too expensive.

They also said Binh Phuoc holds good solar energy potential with an average of 2,400-2,500 hours of the sun per year. It is one of the top three provinces for high thermal complexity in the country.

Beauty expos in HCM City to attract 450 businesses

More than 450 cosmetic firms from 25 countries and territories worldwide will attend the Mekong Beauty and Vietbeauty shows scheduled at the Saigon Exhibition & Convention Centre from August 22-24, 2019.

An array of global brands like Alpha Laboratories (New Zealand), Famorna (Poland), BC-Link and Kaei (Japan), Conspin and The Handa (the Republic of Korea), Q&Z (Singapore), KBT Global (Malaysia), and Thai Nam Viet and Quantum Healthcare (Vietnam) will attend the event.

At a press conference held in Ho Chi Minh City on December 18, the events’ organizers - Vietnam National Trade Fair & Advertising Company (Vinexad), Informa UMB Company, and the Vietnam Cosmetic Distributor and Retailer Club - said that the shows are expected to be a trustworthy destination for both domestic and foreign brands to expand their market in Vietnam.

The exhibitors will display their latest products and technologies in the cosmetics sector at ten international booths.

In particular, the show will zone off a special corner to present natural and organic brands to Vietnamese consumers. 

In addition, doctors from Europe, Malaysia, and Singapore will attend the Cosmoaesthetic festival to share knowledge on new technologies and innovation in the anti-aging skin care and skin restoration business.

Six more solar power projects licensed in Binh Phuoc

The Government has approved an additional six solar power projects with a combined capacity of 850 MWp in Binh Phuoc, raising the total solar energy capacity of the southern province to the highest in the country.

According to Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Tram, the locality has finalised plans for solar energy development to 2030.

The total area of land used for electricity projects is estimated to be up to 5,000-6,000ha, mostly concentrated in Loc Ninh district.

Nguyen Anh Hoang, Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, said the provincial People’s Committee has accepted the work of two investors in the field of solar power development.

It is hoped that the projects will start to generate electricity to the national grid in June next year. However, experts said the cost of solar power projects is too expensive.

They also said Binh Phuoc holds good solar energy potential with an average of 2,400-2,500 hours of the sun per year. It is one of the top three provinces for high thermal complexity in the country.

Series of real estate companies owe hundreds of billion dong in taxes

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Taxation has just announced the list of companies owing tax and fees as of the end of November 2018, including numerous real estate businesses.

District 1 property market on the up, VNG prepares for private placement to investors, Stoking start-up spirit for Viet Nam’s prosperity, Series of real estate companies owe hundreds of billion dong in taxes

According to the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Taxation, 256 companies owe more than VND1.352 trillion ($58.8 million) in total in taxes arrears and penalties. The biggest debtors, some owing up to or dozens or hundreds of billions of dong, hail from the real estate sector.

Leading the list of tax debtors, Ben Thanh-Mercury Company Limited owes VND356 billion ($15.5 million) in tax. This company was previously named on a similar list two months ago, then owing VND350.5 billion ($15.24 million).

Moreover, Ben Thanh-Mecury is the developer of the Spring Light City project on Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, Da Kao ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City with the total area of 15,770sq.m. This project has been appearing in local media due to a lot of irregularities in its compensation and resettlement policy affecting more than 200 households, resulting in heated complaints.

Thai Thinh Capital JSC is the runner up with the tax arrears of VND119 billion ($5.17 million), followed by Binh Duong Building Stone Company Limited’s branch in Ho Chi Minh City with over VND118 billion ($5.13 million), and Hong Quang Real Estate and Construction JSC with over VND92 billion ($4 million).

Additionally, a lot of other real estate companies owe a great deal in taxes, such as Thanh Nien Corporation with VND34 billion ($1.48 million), Diep Bach Duong Real Estate Co., Ltd. with VND35 billion ($1.52 million), Thang Long Real Estate Transaction Floor JSC with VND10 billion ($0.44 million), Sai Gon Phuong Nam Properties Corporation with VND14 billion ($0.6 million), Nam Huy Hoang Construction and Design JSC with VND17 billion ($0.74 million), Saigon Real Estate Development JSC (SGRED) with VND12 billion ($0.52 million), and Kim Oanh Development and Investment JSC with VND5 billion ($0.22 million), among others.

In order to collect the tax arrears, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Taxation has resorted to debt enforcement measures, such as freezing bank accounts to deduct tax payments, and stopping the use of invoices.

Earlier, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Taxation also issued Decision No.7345/QD-CT penalising the administrative violations of Nam Long Group. Before the scandal of tax arrears, this company has received repeated complaints about the quality of its buildings, with residents usually complaining leakages, and cracked walls at its Ehome 3 project.

November car sales accelerate     

Car sales rose by 23 per cent y-o-y in Novenmber to 30,540 units, according to a report by the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.

The report showed that January-November sales reached 253,957 units, with giants such as Toyota, Truong Hai Auto Corporation (Thaco), Ford and Honda claiming the majority of market share.

Domestic automaker Thaco now leads car sales in Viet Nam with 88,181 units sold in the first 11 months, up 9 per cent compared with the same period last year, of which Thaco Kia and Mazda reached 25,970 units and 29,871 units, increasing 30 per cent and 29 per cent, respectively. Sales of Thaco trucks were down 24 per cent at 26,432 units.

Toyota Motor Vietnam sold 56,864 units, up 6 per cent y-o-y. Honda Vietnam overtook Ford to take third spot with 23,994 sales, up 109 per cent. Meanwhile, Ford sold 20,677 units, falling 21 per cent.

Manufacturers such as Lexus, Mercedes-Benz Vietnam, GM Vietnam, Isuzu, VEAM, Vinamotor and SAMCO all lost ground.

The decline of GM Vietnam is likely due to the sale of its factory in Ha Noi to Vingroup. The transfer of GM Vietnam’s operations, including the factory, an authorised dealer network and staffing is expected to be completed by the year-end.

Luxury brands Mercedes-Benz Vietnam and Lexus reported sales of 5,504 and 390 vehicles, down 12 per cent and 52 per cent, respectively. Increased taxes on luxury cars has been blamed for the demise in recent years.

According to VAMA statistics, the best-selling cars in the first 11 months of this year were the Toyota Vios, Innova E, Kia Morning, Kia Cerato, Mazda 3, Honda CR-V and Honda City. 

Tech training vital to adapt in Industry 4.0     

As one of the most-developing areas in Viet Nam, HCM City is faced with both opportunities and challenges to make the best use of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Facing a storm of technological advancement, many state agencies and businesses located in the southern hub have taken steps to use advanced technologies to improve their performances and product quality.

The Japanese-invested Juki Vietnam Co Ltd in 2016 decided to purchase two robot arms for nearly US$200,000 for processing work.

It was among the first companies in Viet Nam to use robotic technology to improve the quality of its products.

The robot arms have helped reduce the number of workers at the processing division from 12 to only one, and that person only has to monitor the robot’s function.

According to Juki Vietnam CEO Dao Quoc Cuong, the company would buy modern equipment as it targets to raise productivity by 1 per cent every month to attract new orders.

Limo Group JSC, located in HCM City’s Hoc Mon District, has also invested in new technologies, machinery, facilities and human resources.

According to general director Huynh Tan Loc, Limo Group was now able to connect suppliers, factories and customers, saving a lot of time, cost and efforts for the three sides.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is also another update for companies in Viet Nam. It is seen as the backbone of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and has been well-received by many businesses.

They include VinEco, the agricultural arm of property and retail conglomerate VinGroup, the Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank), military telecom group Viettel, and the southern-based electronic and digital retailer Nguyen Kim.

According to Social Media Command Center, a company that has transferred AI apps to Vietnamese businesses, the demand for AI applications is on the rise among HCM City-based companies as it is considered the future along with big data and blockchain.

The same trend has also been seen among the city’s state agencies.

Binh Dan Hospital in late 2016 was the first agency in the health sector to use robots in surgery. Director Tran Vinh Hung said robotic surgeons had improved the quality of the hospital, and the trend has been followed by Cho Ray Hospital.

The Preventive Medicine Centre of HCM City has used a geographic information system (GIS) to monitor and care for patients infected by viral hemorrhagic fevers.

The use of GIS has helped the centre keep track on how the disease is spreading through the city and provide infected areas with plans to deal with the problems.

Tourism is another field that has been luring investment in new smart technologies.

The HCM City Department of Tourism has recently deployed an application to help visitors find information related to their trips such as restaurants, hotels and transportation, as well as emergency request information.

The department is also considering the implementation of a virtual tourism programme that provides suggestions for tourists and allows them to access photos, videos, clips and information about the city’s most popular venues.

Human resource issues

But a major problem for both state agencies and private businesses is finding employees to operate and monitor those technologies and make the best use of them.

USM Healthcare Medical Devices Factory JSC is a typical case that has found it hard to source high-quality human resources.

“We have not been able to find anyone who meets our requirements in this sector because our technologies are made in Germany and Switzerland, making them quite specific,” said Vo Xuan Boi Lam, the company’s director.

To operate the machines, USM Healthcare had to send 10 engineers to Germany for special training, costing the firm a lot of time and money. It sometimes has to invite foreign specialists to train its employees on site.

A similar case is Minh Nguyen Industrial Support JSC. It had to look for 400 qualified workers as required by Samsung after the two sides reached an agreement in December 2016.

The company’s general director Chau Ba Long said looking for high-quality employees was one of the most difficult tasks for the firm when it co-operated with big companies.

“We had to hire foreign specialists, overseas Vietnamese and distinguished graduates of universities, colleges and vocational schools to meet Samsung’s request,” Long said.

According to the Saigon High-Tech Park Training Centre, companies are challenged by the fact that the quality of domestic labourers, including school graduates, did not meet their standards.

There are now more than 300,000 enterprises in HCM City and the number is forecast to reach 500,000 in 2020, raising the demand for high-quality labour rapidly.

A recent study by ManpowerGroup, the world’s leading personnel service provider, showed 45 per cent of companies in the world were having problems employing high-quality staff.

Viet Nam is no exception to the trend. The demand for high-quality labour has grown at least 20 per cent per year in the last three years, but the local labour supply cannot meet the demand.

A number of companies are looking for highly-skilled employees to work on urgent projects, but they have to spend too much time and money sourcing staff.

According to analysts, this had affected companies’ plans and limited their growth.

The human aspect remained important as people were the “software” that operated and monitor technologies that only served as hardware to the whole machine, Professor Ho Tu Bao, director of the John von Neumann Institute at HCM City National University, said.

“We need to develop a strong base of human resources to use technologies and turn them into valuable, helpful products or they will just stay the same forever,” he said.

But what was more necessary was improving education and training programmes to meet the demands of companies that were using modern technologies, he said.

“In the trend of AI application, Viet Nam is lacking qualified technicians, especially those who work in the IT sector,” said Tran Nguyen Vu, IBM Vietnam’s director of software solutions.

Large-cap companies often chose to train their own employees to use AI applications while small firms had to purchase self-operating technologies to save on expenses, Vu said.

School-business handshake

According to Nguyen Xuan Thuy, MTEX Vietnam’s general management director, local companies should start working on the purchase and development of modern technologies while finding sources of high-quality labourers to run them.

Some local companies had reached outside the country for technicians or training for their employees. At the same time, a number of universities in the city had worked with local firms to train students.

Starting in Viet Nam in 1997, MTEX Vietnam Co Ltd found it difficult to design its integrated circuit (IC) semiconductor products when no local universities had their own faculties for circuit design and development.

The company decided to work with local schools to open new departments on circuit design and development. Thuy said that the company employed graduates from those departments after they finished school and then continued to train them at work.

MTEX Vietnam had trained more than 850 technicians since then and become the key IC development centre for the group, he said.

Local companies needed to co-operate with schools to introduce high-skilled labourers and new technologies because there was a big gap between the requirements of businesses and the actual competency of graduates, Kieu Huynh Son, vice chairman of the HCM City Association of Mechanical-Electrical Enterprise, said.

“Our association members hope local schools and institutes see each business as a research subject, a customer and a partner that travel alongside them on the path of innovation,” Son said.

Nguyen Ky Phung, deputy director of the HCM City Department of Science and Technology, said that some challenges remained before schools and enterprises could work with each other.

There were no specific policies or incentives for both sides to work together regarding finance and tax, he said, adding that schools did not regard co-operation with businesses as a strategic goal.

According to economists, the State must become a link between schools and businesses by sharing risks and providing incentives.

Local schools must be more active and work with businesses to improve the quality of students – which was considered the most important aspect of improving business competitiveness in Industry 4.0.

Do Van Dung, the principal of HCM City University of Technology and Education, said Vietnamese schools must renovate their teaching and educational methods.

Teachers should become mentors so that the education sector can watch changes in the demands of the labour market and resolve businesses’ problems with human resources. 

Stoking start-up spirit for Viet Nam’s prosperity     

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam expects each and every young Vietnamese to be ambitious and fearless to follow start-up dreams and bring prosperity to the country.

He made the appeal in front of hundreds of students on Sunday at the Ha Noi-based National Economics University for the National Students’ Startup Day, held by the Ministry of Education and Training.

“The country has experienced countless disasters and destruction, Vietnamese people have fought two devastating wars, with unimaginable sacrifices and losses. That’s why, along with the dream of independence and people, Vietnamese also wish for prosperity,” Deputy PM Dam said, adding that despite great development leaps in recent times, Viet Nam remains a low middle-income country.

“We cannot expect outside countries to make riches for Viet Nam, each Vietnamese must do their best to contribute to the country’s growth,” he said, adding younger generations would be the driving force of this growth.

Aside from the youth’s efforts, it’s important for teachers and leaders of education institutions to support the students in science and research, he said, adding that the universities should be the “breeding ground” of new ideas, not an environment for propagating “old knowledge.”

Deputy PM stressed that universities are the main factor in the national start-up ecosystem.

Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha said the ministry had instructed education institutions on how to organise activities to inspire start-up spirit amongst students, including training programmes and counselling sessions to help young start-up founders overcome challenges.

After a year of implementing the Government-sponsored project to support students’ start-up efforts, Nha said the education sector has started to pay more attention to start-up education and support, evidenced from the participation of projects by younger students in this year’s contest.

The final round of the national students’ start-up competition for this year was also held yesterday as part of the event, with the 15 best projects chosen amongst 80 start-ups in various fields from health, education to fintech and agriculture.

In a conference on early startup education, part of the event, Nguyen Xuan Thanh, deputy director of General Secondary Education under Education and Training Ministry, said Viet Nam wants to nurture entrepreneurship spirit among students before they even reach university age, adding that an entrepreneurial spirit was an important part of career guidance for school-aged children.

With enhanced entrepreneurial spirit, Vietnamese young people could change their mindset from “seeking jobs” to “creating jobs” after graduation, he said.

Thanh said that last year, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approved a project ‘Supporting student entrepreneurship 2017-2020 with a vision towards 2025’ (known as Project 1665), aimed at equipping college students with the basic knowledge and skills on how to start a business, and more importantly, changing the mindsets of students regarding entrepreneurship.

“Project 1665 focuses on supporting students to learn and develop their entrepreneurship spirit and called on relevant stakeholders including schools and businesses for nurturing the spirit,” he said.

Nguyen Canh Binh, CEO and founder of Alphabook, a company that publishes books about business administration in Viet Nam, said links among Government, schools and entrepreneurs brought benefits for all, particularly students.

Binh said he hoped the Government and schools would pay more attention to assessing and selecting company partners so the trilateral cooperation could be more effective.

Also at the conference, deputy chief of Mission, The Embassy of Israel in Viet Nam, Doron Lebovich spoke about Israel’s experiences in startup training in general education.

“Israel has startup education models in the curriculum for primary school students,” he said, adding that they encouraged young students to study science and technology, and regularly offered training programmes on science and technology for teachers.

“The new era changes kinds of skills and knowledge students need in order to effectively participate in the social and economic life.

“Increasing exposure to financial education including financial management, career guidance and entrepreneurship elevates the rate at which individual save and accumulate wealth during their adult lives,” he said.

Doan Bich Ngoc, the director of Junior Achievement (JA) Viet Nam, said the startup world was a harsh environment in which businesses nurture not only their passion, but also accumulate knowledge and skills.

“Entrepreneurship spirit, knowledge, especially financial understanding and their own strengths are important foundation for successful startups,” she said.

JA Vietnam is a member of JA Worldwide, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to addressing fundamental social and economic challenges of young people by educating them to transform their future.

High-tech tra fish farm launched in An Giang     

Viet Uc Group last week opened a high-tech tra fish (pangasius) farm in Vinh Hoa Commune, Tan Chau Town of the Mekong Delta province of An Giang.

The farm covers more than 100ha, has a capacity of 1 billion pangasius fingerlings per year and was built with a solar energy system to provide electricity.

It is expected that by April 2019, Viet Uc Group will start selling fingerlings.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc voiced his hope that Viet Uc Group would continue to reap success, helping An Giang be a centre for producing pangasius and building brand name for Vietnamese tra fish.

Viet Uc is the only company in Viet Nam using high-tech programmes to monitor fish and producing analyses with the software, allowing it to select breeds with the best genetic material.

The programme has chosen breeds less prone to disease and with a faster growth rate which have adapted to the province’s environment.

An Giang’s tra fish production in 2018 is estimated to hit 346,000 tonnes, a rise of 61,000 tonnes compared to last year, reported the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

This year, the province has 1,138ha of tra fish farms, 408.7ha of which meet quality standards like GlobalGAP, ASC and VietGAP.

According to the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, An Giang exported 73,385 tonnes of tra fish products in the first 10 months of this year, worth more than US$177 million. 

Vingroup sets up subsidiary to support start-ups     

Last week, property developer Vingroup established a subsidiary, Vingroup Ventures Joint Stock Company, to offer consultancy and support services.

The company has a chartered capital of VND70 billion (US$3 million) and its main business is to support start-ups.

It is headquartered in Vinhomes Riverside Eco-Urban Area, Ha Noi.

Vingroup owns 70 per cent of the charter capital; the rest belongs to Thai Van Linh (10 per cent) and Nguyen Hong Quan (20 per cent).

Linh was appointed as the general director and legal representative of Vingroup Ventures.

Linh was born in 1977 in HCM City. She started living in the US when she was two years old and graduated with a master’s of Business Administration in the US. She worked for US companies Stamps.com, The .tv Corporation and Banc of America Securities.

In July 2008, Linh decided to come back to Viet Nam and worked as the head of strategy and operations of VinaCapital.

She has also appeared on the local edition of Shark Tank and is the founder of several businesses. 

VNG prepares for private placement to investors     

Online game provider VNG corporation, formerly known as Vinagame, has approved a plan to sell a maximum of 360,000 treasury shares to investors under the form of private placement.

The minimum offering price is VND1.06 million (US$45.4) per share.

VNG’s current chartered capital is more than VND345 billion, equivalent to 34.5 million shares. Based on the approved minimum offering price, VNG is valued at VND36.6 trillion, or $1.6 billion.

The shares are expected to be offered in the fourth quarter this year or in the first quarter next year. The amount of money earned from the sale, estimated to be at least VND360 billion, will be used as working capital to expand and develop domestic and foreign markets or invest in other companies in the same field.

According to the company’s financial statement, in the third quarter of this year, VNG recorded net revenue of VND1.09 trillion, slightly higher than the same period in 2017. However, due to an increase in expenses, its pre-tax profit fell to VND180 billion, down 39 per cent year-on-year.

In the first nine months this year, VNG’s revenue reached VND3.16 trillion, equivalent to the same period last year. Pre-tax profit reached VND488 billion, down 52 per cent.

By the end of September, total assets of VNG reached VND4.7 trillion, up 9.2 per cent compared with the beginning of this year. The majority of VNG’s assets are deposits at banks, worth VND2.6 trillion, of which deposits with terms lasting from three months to less than one year account for 72 per cent.

The company’s equity was VND3.9 trillion, up 11.9 per cent over the beginning of this year. Liabilities were estimated at VND803 billion, down slightly by 2.3 per cent year-on-year. 

District 1 property market on the up     

HCM City’s District 1 has been a magnet for property developers in recent years thanks to its constantly improving infrastructure.

Being in the heart of the city, the district is home to government offices, local and foreign companies and shopping centres.

The property market in the district, especially the condo segment, always runs hot and prices never come down.

In the last 10 years a number of infrastructure works have been completed, including the 12-lane Vo Van Kiet Boulevard connecting districts 6 and 8 and provinces to the city’s west, Nguyen Huu Canh Street connecting the eastern region and the Thu Thiem tunnel connecting districts 2 and 9.

The district also got a walking street during this period while the first metro route has been under construction here for several years.

It is soon set to become the first district in the city to become ‘smart’, with e-governance and smart transportation in the offing.

Thanks to all this, many people want to live here.

Speaking to Viet Nam News, Stephen Wyatt, country head of JLL, said: “If you look at any of the major cities around the world -- London, Paris, New York -- the prime downtown areas are very desirable locations for residential apartments.

“District 1 is also following the same trends that we have witnessed in more mature markets. Purchasers are usually willing to pay a premium for a ‘District 1’ address as there is an element of prestige and exclusivity that comes with it.

“There will always be the strong appeal and allure of purchasing property and living in a prime downtown address, which is why we are seeing a lot of developers, both local and from HongKong, Singapore and Japan, coming to this area with major luxury residential projects.

“This market is not for everyone, we would generally associate downtown living with young city professionals since families tend to move out of the city to find more space.

“Buying property in District 1 has been very appealing, especially to investors over the last number of years. District 1 is considered an established market with many good quality bars, restaurants and amenities within walking distance. This is a very compelling reason to invest in this district.

“Also supported by infrastructure, it is relatively easy to lease apartments. However, prices look expensive when compared to other regional cities and rental returns are likely to fall as new supply enters the market.”

Savills Vietnam said people buying housing in District 1 were those with high incomes from Ha Noi and other Asian markets. Many businessmen also hire condos here for up to US$5,000 a month.

Savills attributes the high demand to the availability of facilities like hotels, offices and luxury retail centres.

CBRE said in District 1 prices had remained strong due to a shortage of supply.

According to consultancies, supply in the condo market now is modest because the city recently decided not to license any more high-rises in districts 1 and 3.

Two projects currently in the market are The Grand Manhattan by Novaland and Alpha City by Alpha King, luxury condo developments with thousands of units.

Alpha King said it has just started Alpha City, which is at the intersection of Tran Hung Dao, Pham Ngu Lao and Nguyen Thai Hoc streets.

Nearly 400 condos had been sold so far, with 23 per cent of the clients being foreigners, it said.

Novaland said The Grand Manhattan had attracted a lot on interest.

Prices in the project at the corner of Co Giang and Co Bac streets started at US$6,000 per square metre.

Novaland said the condos, to be handed over in the last quarter of 2021, would have two or three bedrooms and smart-home technologies. 

District 1 property market on the up, VNG prepares for private placement to investors, Stoking start-up spirit for Viet Nam’s prosperity, Series of real estate companies owe hundreds of billion dong in taxes


Source: Spring Light City project of Ben Thanh-Mercury Co., Ltd., the company with the highest tax arrears - Bridge

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