Localisation rate of Vietnamese automobile industry remains low
The country has so far failed to develop core technology in automobile production, while locally-made spare parts such as inner tubes, tires, and seats contain very little technological content, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).
The MoIT has given an outline of the domestic automobile manufacturing and assembly industry in a recent report sent to the National Assembly, noting that large-scale automobile assembly and production projects are striving to meet both domestic demand and also that of the regional market. As a result, it is anticipated that the correlation of output between locally assembled and imported vehicles over the short and medium terms will change with there set to be an increase in terms of domestically made vehicles.
Despite this, the Vietnamese automobile industry is losing its advantages due to an increasing number of imported cars, with there being a 70% surge in imported vehicles in 2019 in comparison to 2018, with the majority coming from ASEAN member states.
According to the MoIT, the major limitation of the domestic automobile industry is due to the nation failing to master core technologies such as engines, control systems, and transmission systems. For localised products, they have low-technology contents such as inner tubes tires, tires, seats, mirrors, chassis frames, glasses, wires, batteries, and plastic items.
Moreover, local selling prices remain higher than those seen in other regional partners, with production cost up to 20% higher, therefore resulting in domestic prices facing plenty of disadvantages compared to completely-built-up cars imported from ASEAN which face no tariff barriers.
The MoIT has attributed these high prices seen in domestically produced cars to small scale production occurring alongside the nation’s underdeveloped supporting industry.
The country’s automobile industry can therefore be considered to remain underdeveloped as it is between two to three generations behind its regional partners. In addition, the nation does not possess an industrial ecosystem that is capable of creating a favourable environment due to low market capacity in production investment.
Furthermore, the quality of local enterprises and human resources within the domestic automobile industry remains low, while little attention has been given to research and development. As a result of underdeveloped supporting industries, there is an inadequate control of basic materials along with input components for the industry.
In order to develop the domestic automobile industry whilst simultaneously increasing the localisation rate and lowering production costs, the MoIT has proposed that the Government and National Assembly agree to revise the provisions of the Law on Special Consumption Tax for cars by reducing special consumption taxes on locally produced vehicles.
This policy will help deal with disadvantages in terms of prices between domestically produced and imported products, as well as encouraging the increase of the domestic value ratio as a way of developing the supporting industry of automobile manufacturing.
Quang Tri eyes $86m logistics centre
The People’s Committee of Quang Tri has approved in principle for Dong Nam ICD JSC to develop a logistics centre, expected to cost more than VND2 trillion (US$86 million), in Hai Que Commune’s East South Quang Tri Economic Zone.
The 72ha centre is slated for completion in 2025. That aims to contribute to speeding up the development of the logistics industry in the province and facilitate local enterprises in the economic zone and those in neighbouring areas.
The committee’s vice chairman Ha Sy Dong told baodautu.vn that the investor will get preferential corporate income and import taxes, land rental exemption and other investment incentives in accordance with regulations.
Quang Tri is shaping up to be an attractive destination for domestic and foreign investors thanks to its advantageous natural conditions, synchronous infrastructure, clear mechanisms, and especially the commitment of local authorities to welcome and facilitate investment.
Last year, the province saw construction of nearly 30 key projects commenced with a total investment of about VND100 trillion ($4.29 billion). This proved a great effort by the locality to attract investment, baochinhphu.vn reported.
They included the Thailand-invested BOT Quang Tri 1 Thermal Power Plant, worth above VND55 trillion, in Hai Khe Commune of Hai Lang District. The project, the largest of its kind in the province, has a designed production capacity of 1,320 MW.
Others were the 685ha-My Thuy port area, being constructed in the East South Quang Tri Economic Zone with total investment of over VND14 trillion; wind power plants Huong Phung 2 and 3 with a combined investment capital of nearly VND2.31 trillion in Huong Hoa District and a 36ha eco-tourism complex, valued at VND1.7 trillion in Vinh Linh District.
According to local authorities, many domestic and foreign investors have seen the province’s potential, strengths, and aspirations to rise and they are willing to explore investment opportunities.
The province will call for investment in areas in which it has advantages. Meanwhile, the province will select investors who produce hi-tech goods or those that facilitate the province’s general development.
SHB completes share issuance to raise charter capital to US$650.5 million
Sai Gon – Ha Noi Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SHB) has successfully issued more than 500 million shares, increasing its chartered capital to VND17.5 trillion (US$750.5 million).
The bank has received approval from the State Bank of Viet Nam and State Securities Commission of Viet Nam for the share issuance. SHB successfully offered nearly 300.8 million shares from February 17 to April 27. In the first quarter of this year, it also issued more than 251 million shares to pay dividends at the rate of 20.9 per cent for 2017 and 2018.
According to SHB, the increase of charter capital has been under its development plan which was approved at the annual general meeting of shareholders in 2019. SHB dividends in 2019 were approved at the rate of 11 per cent. It will pay to shareholders at the latest in the third quarter of 2020 in accordance with the regulations of the central bank.
The charter capital increase is expected to help the bank enhance its financial ability, management and competition in the process of international economic integration. It will also facilitate to expand its network, investing in technologies and diversifying products and services to better meet customers’ demand both inside and outside the country. In addition, the capital raising would be a foundation for the bank to complete all requirements of Basel II.
SHB said it would officially complete all three pillars of Basel II this year by completing the final components of the Internal capital adequacy assessment processes (ICAAP) framework.
Earlier, the bank completed divestment at SHB Finance Company (SHBFC) for a big foreign strategic partner. The divestment would contribute to improving its financial ability.
PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards Vietnam edition rescheduled due to pandemic
The Vietnamese edition of PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards, the region’s leading real estate awards, has been postponed by a month.
The sixth PropertyGuru Vietnam Property Awards’ black-tie gala dinner, previously set for August, has been moved to September 18 to ensure the safety of guests, venues and staff members.
After a period of social distancing, Viet Nam has basically controlled the COVID-19 pandemic. But since globally the situation remains fraught, the organisers made the decision to reschedule dates for the sixth season.
The public are still encouraged to submit nominations for the awards from now through June 26 at https://www.asiapropertyawards.com/nominations.
Besides, the venue in HCM City has been moved from GEM Centre to the InterContinental Saigon.
Entry submission cut-offs will be extended as necessary in each market.
Jules Kay, managing director of the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards, said: “With the safety of our guests remaining a number one priority, we want to ensure that we hold our events at a time when our award nominees and other stakeholders feel comfortable and ready to fully celebrate their achievements.”
Property developers go on hiring binge as they wait for post-pandemic recovery
Many property companies are announcing plans to hire new employees, indicating a positive signal in a market hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nam Group is set to employ 500 people for its subsidiary, Nam Land, in all positions from marketing executives to directors of transaction centres.
Nam Group said the recruitment drive is aimed at selling over 10,000 units in its Thanh Long Bay this year after the pandemic ends.
The TLH Real-estate Transaction Centre has announced plans of employing 2,000 freelancers to develop business.
Asian Holding is employing 50-100 marketing staff since it plans to bring around 2,000 units into the market.
Giant developer Novaland Group has announced plans to employ thousands of consultants and some senior employees.
Speaking about the recruitment, experts said developers were preparing to bring huge numbers of products into the market after the pandemic ends, and need staffs to sell them.
The industry has been severely affected by the outbreak and many employees lost their jobs and have had to look for others as companies sought to cut costs.
With commerce slowing down drastically, a third of the around 1,000 real estate brokerages that used to exist have closed down, a report by the Viet Nam Real-Estate Brokers Association said.
Another 500 have suspended part of their operations.
Vinamilk’s revenue up 7.3% in Q1
Viet Nam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk) still enjoyed success during the first quarter of this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The dairy firm recorded a revenue of VND14.15 trillion (US$602.1 million), a year-on-year increase of 7.3 per cent.
Its domestic business recorded net sales of VND12.1 trillion, a growth of 7.9 per cent compared to the same period last year.
The domestic business also contributed 85.4 per cent to the company’s total revenue.
Its direct exports recorded net sales of VND1.08 trillion, up 7.5 per cent year-on-year and contributed 7.6 per cent to the company’s consolidated revenue.
The foreign branch segment recorded net sales of VND980 billion, growing by 0.8 per cent over last year and contributed 6.9 per cent to the total revenue.
The low growth is attributed to Vinamilk’s subsidiary in the US – Driftwood – as schools in California, its main customers, closed in mid-March when the COVID-19 pandemic began to break out in this area.
Vinamilk’s consolidated profit after tax reached VND2.78 trillion, down 0.7 per cent compared to the same period last year due to increasing operation expenses.
Vinamilk is currently managing more than 150,000 cows, with the total raw milk output providing nearly 1,200 tonnes per day.
BSA launches e-book as cyberthreats intensify amid pandemic
Cybercrime has become a bigger threat than ever in the COVID-19 era, with more businesses suffering attacks and malicious cybercriminals taking advantage of the confusion, according to a new e-book by BSA | The Software Alliance.
The e-book, which was launched on Wednesday, details the cybersecurity challenges that have arisen in Southeast Asia since the COVID-19 crisis began and offers advice on how to deal with them.
Titled “COVID-19 and Cyber Threats in Southeast Asia,” it also describes how many businesses in the region are increasingly exposed to online threats due to disruptions caused by the virus, primarily an increase in employees working outside company networks.
Cybercriminals are employing methods such as email phishing, malware, disguised apps, and detection of insecure networks.
Nguyen Minh Chinh, director of the Department of Cybersecurity and High-tech Crime, said: “Businesses, organisations and individuals both in Viet Nam and throughout the ASEAN region are facing more sophisticated attacks every day, and the destabilisation caused by the COVID-19 crisis has made many of them even more vulnerable.
“It is vital that they become more aware of the risks and protect their data – not just for their own sake, but for the public as well as the safety and security of the country.”
The e-book offers descriptions of cybercrime tactics and advice for executives on protecting their employees through such means as using secure software for all business operations and training employees to identify potential phishing attempts.
It has detailed statistics on the impacts of cybercrime and data breaches in general on businesses, and examples of severe recent cases in the region.
“We hope this document will act as a guide to point businesses and their staff working remotely in a secure and sustainable direction, for the sake of their customers and employees, their own longevity, and the economic recovery of their respective countries,” Tarun Sawney, senior director, BSA, said.
It is available for free download at https://cyberfraudprevention-bsa.com in English, Vietnamese and Bahasa, and includes messages from government figures in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Viet Nam testifying to the severity of the threats.
VinFast launches car exchange programme
Vietnamese carmaker VinFast has announced an exchange programme to swap old cars for new ones, with customers paying the difference.
The exchange programme started on Friday and is valid for all cars from various brands in Viet Nam which have been used for less than seven years.
The exchange is the first of its kind in the Vietnamese automotive market, giving consumers the opportunity to convert their used cars to other models manufactured by VinFast.
Customers must bring used cars to the Smart Solution supermarket, a used car trading company of Vingroup where the car will be priced and redeemed. All pricing and trading processes will be made public and transparent.
VinFast said it would offer customers VND50 million (US$2,130), VND30 million and VND10 million in cash when buying VinFast cars, corresponding to the models Lux SA2.0, Lux A2.0 or Fadil.
In addition, customers will also benefit from a preferential financial policy, which includes loan interest exemption in the first two years when buying a car via installments at the bank. From the third year onward the customers will face a maximum interest rate of 10.5 per cent per year.
With a loan up to 70 per cent of the car’s value and a maximum term of eight years, customers only need to pay VND4 million per month for a Fadil car, or VND8 million for a Lux.
The two models Lux A2.0 and Lux SA2.0 are included in the promotion programme this month, with prices starting from VND896.1 million for Lux A2.0 models and from VND1.32 billion for Lux SA2.0 if customers pay 100 per cent this month. With Fadil models, the one-time payment price is only VND373.41 million.
Seven tips for business success during COVID-19
Nathaniel Hartmann, associate professor of marketing, shares seven business tips to help companies adapt to the changing business environment due to the COVID-19 health crisis.
Prepare for different futures
Business owners and managers often make decisions based on what they predict the future will be. Instead of the owner or manager preparing for what they believe is most likely to occur, preparing for different scenarios can help business owners and managers prepare for whatever unfolds. Business owners and managers, can, for example, think of a best case, expected and pessimistic scenarios, and consider how their company’s well-being and decisions should vary for each.
Reduce cash burn rate
Cash burn rate is the speed at which the cash reserves of a company are used up. What sets the COVID-19 health crisis apart from many other unexpected events is that we do not know when the bottom will be. Business owners and managers can extend how long they can maintain operations by reducing cash burn rate by renegotiating recurring expenses (e.g. rent), cancelling unneeded services (e.g. cable) and deferring payments for offerings rendered (e.g. opening and using credit card accounts with zero interest for 21 months).
Generate money today for services provided in the future
Business owners and managers do have options to generate immediate money. Gift cards generate money today for offerings rendered in the future. To motivate gift card purchases, offer a discount. Business owners and managers can also offer discounts or additional contract length as an incentive for paying up-front. For example, a landlord can offer a tenant two months free of charge, if they extend their lease and pay for 12 additional months up-front.
Pivot to different value propositions and offerings, as needed
Customer preferences and needs are changing in response to COVID-19. As a result, business owners and managers can recognise that value propositions may need to change, and the appeal of some offerings may decrease (or increase). For example, customers may increasingly favour lower risk offerings and make more utilitarian (i.e. practical) vs. hedonistic (i.e. pleasure) purchases. Furthermore, business owners and managers can recognise that the set of knowledge and skills their employees have may potentially be repurposed to serve the company and social good (e.g. some service employees can be repurposed to grocery shop and deliver food to the elderly).
Support employees and maybe add new ones
Employees are experiencing greater physical and mental stress, which can impact their ability to perform tasks. There are also technological challenges and shifting customer needs impacting the extent to which customers are purchasing. In response, business owners and managers can temporarily adjust workload performance expectations. Business owners and managers can also provide additional support to employees through increasing reassurance, accommodations, awareness of support options, and frequency and thoroughness of updates on business operations. They can personally contact employees more frequently to offer support and assess their needs, states and concerns. At this time, many business owners and managers are reducing jobs. While this may be understandable, it creates an opportunity for other business owners and managers to invest in their company’s future by hiring competent employees only available because of COVID-19.
Mind, prioritise and add to your customers
Customers are also experiencing many challenges. Business owners and managers can maintain and strengthen customer relationships by responsibly updating customers on business operations, changes to offerings and an order’s status. Business owners and managers should ensure that fair pricing and negotiations are practised, despite scarcity of alternatives. In addition, segmenting customers and ensuring that higher priority customers receive greater proactive contact can be helpful to maintaining and building the most valuable relationships. There is also potential for business owners and managers to increase customer share of wallet or add long-term customers whose purchasing patterns have changed as a result of COVID-19 (e.g. now grocery shopping at one store instead of several stores).
Transition to digital, securely
COVID-19 is mandating that many companies increase the scale and scope of digital technologies. Business owners and managers should ensure that employees who will be supporting any shift to digital have the technology and skillset to do so. Business owners and managers may need to provide such technology and educate both their employees and customers on any digital operations. Regular contact with employees and customers can help business owners and managers transition effectively and efficiently. Business owners and managers should ensure that appropriate cybersecurity packages and processes are in place to minimise any security vulnerabilities.
Long An breeds brackish-water shrimp
The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Long An plans to invest more than VNĐ1.24 trillion (US$53 million) to develop brackish water shrimp cultivation in the 2020-25 period, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
During the period, the province will use VNĐ588 billion ($25 million) from the central Government budget to upgrade infrastructure for shrimp fry production and pilot shrimp breeding areas and specialised shrimp breeding areas.
The province will also use VNĐ33 billion ($1.4 million) from its budget to monitor the environment and disease, transfer breeding techniques, and promote shrimp trade.
The province also seeks VNĐ624 billion ($26.6 million) from breeders and investors for pond infrastructure, shrimp fry and shrimp food purchases, and shrimp breeding facilities.
Specialised shrimp breeding areas in Cần Đước, Cần Giuộc, Tân Trụ and Châu Thành districts will be set up.
The province plans to have 6,800ha of brackish water shrimp, including 200 ha of hi-tech breeding areas, with an annual output of 15,000 tonnes this year.
Đinh Thị Phương Khanh, deputy director of the department, said the province would apply advanced breeding techniques to increase yield, protect the environment, and develop shrimp cultivation sustainably.
The province will co-operate with research institutes, universities and companies to apply advanced breeding technologies for high-quality fry.
Advanced breeding technologies like biofloc technology and two-stage shrimp breeding technology will be applied to manage water quality.
Under this type of breeding, juvenile shrimp are first bred in a nursery pond for a few weeks before being moved to the main pond. The beds of ponds are covered with plastic sheets and the surfaces of the ponds are covered with anti-sunshine nets.
The ponds are also equipped with fans and pumps to generate oxygen for the water. Wastewater released from the ponds is treated thoroughly to avoid contaminating the surrounding environment.
Advanced breeding technologies can help farmers breed three to four shrimp crops a year, increasing output on the same farming area.
Shrimp will be bred under Vietnamese and global good agricultural practices (VietGAP and GlobalGAP) standards and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standards. The province will grant a code for each qualified shrimp breeding pond for traceability to serve export requirements.
Shrimp farmers are encouraged to join co-operative groups and co-operatives to link with companies in shrimp production and consumption. Companies will supply shrimp fry, feed, and breeding techniques for farmers and guarantee outlets for them.
The province targets having nine advanced shrimp breeding areas with a total of 500ha by 2025.
Vietnam sets sights on post-pandemic business
In a recent article titled “After swift virus success, Vietnam sets sights on post-pandemic business”, Reuters noted, Vietnam has reported a relatively small 288 cases and zero deaths, putting the Southeast Asian country on course to revive its economy much sooner than most others.
“Given its fast response to the virus, we expect foreign investment to pour in to Vietnam after the pandemic,” Kizuna Joint Development Corp, which builds ready-to-go factories in Vietnam, told Reuters in a statement.
The company, which has a client base of mainly Japanese and Korean investors, said it is speeding up plans to finish a 100,000 square metre (1 million square foot) factory in southern Vietnam in anticipation of an increase in post-pandemic demand.
“The factory space will be ready by July,” Kizuna said.
Advisers who help foreign firms relocate internationally said Vietnam’s success in dealing with the pandemic had already boosted the confidence of foreign investors in the country.
“There is a sense from many of my discussions that Vietnam, relative to many countries in the world, will emerge even higher on the investor radar as a result,” said Michael Sieburg, a partner at Asia-focused consultancy firm YCP Solidiance.
Vietnam’s planning and investment ministry said the country was well positioned to assist manufacturers seeking new production bases.
“These opportunities will include the shifting of investment, particularly by large multinational groups seeking to diversify their supply chains to other areas, including Southeast Asia,” deputy minister Tran Quoc Phuong said in a statement on a government website. “Vietnam is among the first of those destinations.”
The shift was already happening.
Before the pandemic, many China-based businesses looking to escape rising labour costs and fallout from the US-Sino trade war had been looking at Vietnam. Hanoi’s growing portfolio of trade deals, such as the European Union Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), was also encouraging investment.
Vietnam’s success in pushing back the pandemic was driven in part by a programme of targeted testing and the mass, centralised quarantine of tens of thousands of people.
Hanoi has made exceptions to the quarantine programme, including for nearly 200 engineers from Samsung Electronics’ display unit, and for foreign oil experts.
But the measures have hit business hard and mean it will not be easy for firms to expand quickly.
“The government is being understandably cautious so, despite lots of smoke, there’s not much fire as it remains difficult for people to come in and sign deals or visit facilities,” said Samuel Pursch of Vriens & Partners, a consultancy advising foreign business in Vietnam.
According to a government survey, 85.7% of 126,565 enterprises polled in Vietnam said they had been negatively affected by the pandemic, with those operating in the aviation, tourism, food and education sectors most affected.
After five years of growth, foreign investment in Vietnam fell 15.5% in the first four months of the year to US$12.3 billion, according to data from the General Statistics Office (GSO).
Vietnam’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment about foreign investment in the wake of the pandemic.
Still, Vietnam is targeting annual GDP growth of above 5% this year, a rare pocket of growth in a global economy facing a deep recession.
Fred Burke, a managing partner at international law firm Baker McKenzie, said the pandemic response had reassured businesses based in the country, which would help the economy rebound.
“Vietnam has generated substantial goodwill,” said Burke.
“There was once a time when, in the face of such an epidemic, expats would have run back to their homes in North America or Europe, and even Northeast Asia, but this time, with the high death rates in those regions, people feel safe or even safer here”.
COVID-19 crisis threatens to weaken local firms
The impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic poses a risk of foreign investors looking to take advantage of the economic downturn to acquire vulnerable local enterprises.
Recent years has seen a trend emerge of foreign investors preferring to acquire stakes in local firms as opposed to spending time implementing procedures to establish success through newly-registered FDI capital.
The first four months of the year has seen mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals in the form of capital contribution and the purchase of shares tending to increase sharply, especially in the context of local enterprises being short on cash flow, and therefore in a weakened position due to the pandemic.
According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the number of freshly-established FDI projects has decreased by approximately 10% against the same period from last year, while foreign financiers increased the pace of their acquisition of shares and capital contributions.
As of April 20, foreign enterprises have conducted 3,210 deals relating to capital contribution and the purchase of shares, an annual rise of 33% and a 3.3-fold increase compared to the number of newly registered FDI capital.
At present, Japan tops the list in terms of acquiring stakes, whilst simultaneously contributing capital of US$743 million, followed by the Republic of Korea with US$356 million, Singapore with US$333 million, and China with US$230 million. Most notably, local businesses based in Ho Chi Minh City have been the source of over half of M&A deals.
Currently, the processing and manufacturing sector has proved enticing for foreign investors, with 822 deals being done with a value of over US$1 billion. Elsewhere, more than 1,000 deals have taken place in terms of wholesale and retail, along with automobile and motorbike repairs with a value of over US$500 million.
Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung stated that disruptions caused in supply chains will continue to exert a great impact on local businesses, noting that M&A deals will become a more regular occurrence in the short term, thus posing a threat of local companies being acquired at cheap prices.
In an effort to deal with the situation, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Industry and Commerce Vu Tien Loc has proposed that the Prime Minister move to enforce a temporary suspension on M&A deals during the pandemic as a means of protecting domestic businesses.
Director of Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment Do Nhat Hoang stated that the agency first warned about the situation two months previously, and in doing so it proposed solutions for protecting local businesses.
Hoang outlined that the acquisition of key businesses should be limited while the purchase of stakes and capital contribution in local firms should take place naturally.
A similar situation is occurring globally with many countries also concerned that foreign investors are poised to take advantage of opportunities in terms of plunging stock prices and unstable markets presenting an opportunity to acquire major businesses at low prices.
Mekong Delta needs more inter-provincial projects to boost development
Officials of the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho had a working session with a delegation of the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) on May 11 to discuss the urban flood proofing and drainage programme for adaptation to climate change (FPP) that is being implemented in the region.
Programme Director Tim McGrath said the FPP is coordinating with many agencies to carry out research and support activities in multiple socio-economic aspects while studying special mechanisms and policies for the sustainable development of the Mekong Delta and its Ca Mau Peninsula sub-region.
He noted that the GIZ is working with the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) on the implementation of a new programme from 2021 to 2025 in the 13 provincial-level localities of the Mekong Delta at a total cost of some 13-15 million EUR (14-16 million USD).
This new programme will consist of three parts with the first one on State management that will continue supporting regional connectivity, the second on coordination mechanisms for the region, and the third on inter-provincial infrastructure.
At the meeting, Vice Chairman of the Can Tho People’s Committee Dao Anh Dung said transport, logistics, irrigation, and anti-erosion and subsidence are the issues that the Mekong Delta currently needs inter-provincial projects on to boost the region’s common development. He asked the GIZ to reconsider mechanisms and policies on regional connectivity, council and management to help solve these problems.
Can Tho is ready to cooperate with the GIZ in studies, surveys and information sharing so that the programme can assist the city in line with both sides’ requirements, he noted.
The official added that as his city is making flood drainage planning, building anti-flooding structures and devising a development plan for 2021-2030, it hopes to take part in the urban flood proofing and drainage programme that the GIZ is assisting Mekong Delta localities with./.
Nghe An effectively draws projects
The central province of Nghe An is striving to effectively draw investment projects, thus increasing budget collection, creating jobs and improving workers’ income.
Since the beginning of this year, the province has granted licenses to 19 new projects with a total registered capital of over 1.6 trillion VND (69.5 million USD), including 18 domestic ones worth more than 1.49 trillion VND and a foreign-invested one valued at 8 million USD.
Four projects worth over 208 billion USD are in industry and construction, 13 others valued at more than 1.2 trillion VND in services, and two worth nearly 264 billion VND in agriculture.
The province also looks to improve the efficiency of projects and step up their progress.
The Dong Nam economic zone management board is working with departments, agencies and localities to offer advices to the provincial authorities about land policies that bring the most advantages to investors./.
Malaysia’s Q1 GDP expected to contract for first time in more than a decade
Malaysia’s economy is expected to have contracted for the first time in more than a decade in the first quarter as COVID-19 crisis shattered private consumption and external demand.
According to the average forecast from a Reuters poll of 12 economists, Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) declined 1.5 percent in January-March from a year earlier, the first contraction since the third quarter of 2009 during the global financial crisis.
The Malaysian government plans to announce the GDP data on May 13.
In April, Malaysia’s central bank forecast that the economy will either shrink by up to 2 percent or grow marginally by 0.5% this year due to the pandemic./.
Auxiliary border gates in Lang Son remain closed
Auxiliary border gates in the northern province of Lang Son have yet to resume operations since Chinese authorities still shut their side for fear of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pham Hong Tien, Director of the management board of the Dong Dang – Lang Son Border Gate Economic Zone, noted the board had talks with relevant agencies of China’s Pingxiang city on May 8 to discuss the reopening of local auxiliary border gates.
At this event, the office of the steering committee for the COVID-19 fight of China’s Guangxi province said they would report Lang Son’s opinions to their authorities so that the facilities could be reopened as soon as possible, he added.
Five border gates in Lang Son are still open to serve trading activities at present, according to the provincial Department of Industry and Trade.
On May 10, 249 lorries passed the Huu Nghi International Border Gate to ship Vietnamese exports to China while 308 others carried commodities from the other side of the border to Vietnam.
The Tan Thanh Border Gate recorded 85 trucks of exports and 36 trucks of imports, the Dong Dang Railway Station 10 carriages of ore exports and two others of consumer goods imports, and the Chi Ma Border Gate three lorries of imports. Meanwhile, no vehicles with exports and imports passed the Coc Nam Border Gate on May 10./.
Vietnam’s shrimp exports forecast to reach 3.8 billion USD in 2020
Shrimp exports are expected to hit 3.8 billion USD, instead of the previous forecast of 3.5 billion USD, thanks to positive signs amid the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Vietnam Association Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).
Despite the pandemic, Vietnam’s total shrimp export value in the first three months rose by 1.8 percent year-on-year to 628.6 million USD. Some key export markets reported significant growth, especially Japan and the US.
Japan jumped to first place in the five largest export markets, accounting for 21 percent of Vietnam’s total shrimp export value after the export value to this market in February surged sharply by 63 percent year-on-year.
In this period, the country earned 132 million USD from shrimp exports to Japan, 8.4 percent higher than the same period of last year.
Meanwhile, the US became the second largest export market for Vietnamese shrimp in the first quarter because of higher demand for essential food, including shrimp, during the pandemic, the association reported.
In the first three months Vietnam’s shrimp export value to the US market reached 115.5 million USD, a year-on-year surge of 18.2 percent.
Truong Dinh Hoe, VASEP Secretary General, said that the Vietnamese Government’s effective controlling of the disease is opening up opportunities for shrimp exports.
According to the association, although it is still unclear when the pandemic ends, there is high demand for shrimp on the domestic and global markets because it is one essential food. Therefore, Vietnam needs to ensure shrimp supply for the home and abroad markets now and in the future.
Shrimp output in many key producers in the world such as India and Ecuador is estimated to reduce due to disease of shrimp and bad weather while the shrimp demand on the global market is forecast to increase sharply after the pandemic./
Vietnam enjoys trade surplus of 3.04 bln USD in first four months
Vietnam recorded a trade surplus of 3.04 billion USD in the first four months of 2020 despite the negative impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).
During the Jan-April period, the country’s export turnover totalled 82.94 billion USD, up 4.7 percent year-on-year.
Commodities with strong growth in export value in the reviewed period included machinery, equipment, tools and spare parts (29.6 percent); computers, electronic products and components (28.6 percent); wood and wooden products (10.1 percent), footwear (1.3 percent), and telephones and components (1.1 percent).
The US remained the largest market for Vietnamese exports in the reviewed period, with a 20.3-billion-USD turnover, surging 13.4 percent. It was followed by China and Japan with respective turnovers of 13.1 billion USD and 6.7 billion USD, up 26.7 percent and 10.1 percent.
Meanwhile, imports reached 79.89 billion USD in the period, up 2.1 percent against the same period last year.
The ministry said after reaching positive growth in the first quarter, Vietnam’s trade activities in April began to be strongly affected by the pandemic. Export turnover in April reached only 19.7 billion USD, down 18.4 percent from the previous month and 3.5 percent year-on-year.
However it predicted that Vietnam’s export value will increase again in the second half of this year if the epidemic is controlled in the second quarter.
The ministry will continue to give priority to promoting trade connections between Vietnamese enterprises and foreign partners, and the introduction of made-in-Vietnam goods to domestic and international consumers. /.
Indonesia: debts restructured for nearly 4 million clients
Indonesia’s banks and financial companies restructured debts of over 336 trillion rupiah (22.4 billion USD) for 3.88 million clients hit by the COVID-19 as of May 10, according to the Indonesian Financial Services Authority.
Speaking at a press teleconference on May 11 held by the Financial System Stability Committee (KSSK), Chairman of the Financial Services Authority (OJK) Wimboh Santoso said 3.42 million clients are mostly micro-small, small- and medium-sized enterprises with a total sum of 167.1 trillion rupiah.
Financial companies restructured debts worth over 43.1 trillion rupiah for 1.32 million clients. More than 743,000 others are waiting for approval.
Earlier, the Indonesian government decided to delay principal collection and offer preferential interest rates within six months since April./.
Van Don EZ to launch more projects
The Van Don economic zone in the northern province of Quang Ninh is now home to 34 strategic projects, 13 of them assigned to investors, 11 in the process of studying planning and 10 awaiting detailed planning.
At working sessions with investors in the Van Don economic zone in March, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Thang committed all possible support to them. He suggested that they should pool resources, accelerate the progress of projects, especially those in services, trade and tourism.
He said if investors intentionally delay projects, the province will revoke their licenses in line with State regulations.
According to him, the province is building planning management regulations and tools, enhancing State management on land, construction, investment and natural resources, and improving the apparatus of the Van Don economic zone management board in accordance with the Government’s Resolution No.102/NQ-CP dated November 14, 2019.
The province is also attracting investment by choosing financially capable investors and economic groups at home and abroad, towards turning Van Don into one of the world-class tourism hubs.
According to the master plan on Van Don economic zone till 2040 as approved by the Prime Minister, Van Don will become a multi-sector maritime economic zone and a hi-end industrial zone with casinos and resorts, serving as an international gateway with competitive products and modern urban areas./.
Honda Vietnam clarifies reports on business plan
Motorbike and automobile manufacturer Honda Vietnam on May 11 clarified reports that it is likely to shift its business model from manufacturing to imports.
Honda Vietnam explained that in a document submitted to the Ministry of Planning and Investment on April 29, it reported on its operations and put forward recommendations to offset automakers’ difficulties brought about by the COVID-19.
It assessed that under the impact of the pandemic, especially if it lingers on, Vietnam’s automobile sector will continue to face obstacles and automakers may, therefore, consider shifting their business model from manufacturing to imports.
Honda Vietnam, however, did not say that it would make the switch from manufacturing to imports, according to the announcement.
The automaker affirmed that it is committed to the orientation of the Vietnamese Government in focusing on domestic production./.
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