Cell phone buying energy not as strong as expected


VietNamNet Bridge - Although the Lunar New Year 2013 is drawing near, the cell phone buying energy remains mild, contrary to expectation of retailers. Dinh Anh Huan, sales director of the retail chain Thegioididong.com, said mobile phone sales had picked up slightly, estimated at 20%, versus a growth of 40% last year. At this time in previous years, the buying energy was very strong, but it seems to cool down this year. This suggests consumers are tightening their purse strings under the impact of economic downturn, said Huan. The latest statistics of Thegioididong.com show that its cell phone sales fell slightly in December last year and the sales volumes and revenues of the other months were almost the same, without any sudden growth. On average, the retail chain sold around 300,000 cell phones per month. Other mobile phone retailers like Mai Nguyen, FPT Shop, Vien Thong A and Viettel Smart also record modest growth in purchasing power. Smartphones with reasonable … [Read more...]


Thua Thien-Hue plans to attract VND2.9 tril. investment into IPs The central province of Thua Thien-Hue has planned to lure VND2.9 trillion worth of investment in its industrial parks (IPs) this year. This year, enterprises in IPs are expected to disburse nearly VND 2,890 billion and employ some new 3,000 people (up 21.9% against last year). In 2012, they made industrial production value of VND3,247, accounting for 39.2% of the province's total, and export turnovers of US$294.6 million, representing 64% of the total. IPs have lured 78 investment projects, including 42 operational ones. They enticed VND7,200 billion worth of investment in 2012, trebling the figure in 2011. Phu Quy wind farm opens The 6-megawatt Phu Quy wind farm in Phu Quy island district , Binh Thuan province began full operation on January 24, after a successful testing period in August, 2012. The wind farm, funded by the PetroVietnam Power Corporation, is the first one in Vietnam that uses both … [Read more...]


Asiana Airlines to own 50% of Kumho Asiana Plaza A 50% stake in the commercial center and hotel complex Kumho Asiana Plaza Saigon in HCMC will be acquired by Asiana Airlines, said Won Il Woo, president and CEO of Kumho Engineering & Construction. "This is an internal deal within Kumho as it is being made between its two subsidiaries, Asiana Airlines and Kumho Engineering & Construction," he said at a meeting with HCMC vice chairman Le Manh Ha on Thursday. He asked about the necessary procedures under Vietnamese law for this deal. "We don't know if we have to report to the central agencies in Hanoi, or if reporting to HCMC is enough," he wondered. In response, Vice Chairman Ha said the municipal government would review the project document next week and then give appropriate guidelines. "Normally, the authorities that license a project will handle changes in that project. However, when it comes to real estate, there are complicated regulations, so a careful review … [Read more...]

Software developer expects high profits

FPT's shareholders at the annual general meeting held on March 29 in Ha Noi. (Photo: Vietnamplus)

The software developer FPT Corp. hopes to make pre-tax profits of VND1.45 trillion ($83 million) this year, up 17 percent on the previous year, it announced at its annual general meeting of shareholders March 29 in Ha Noi. The meeting decided that dividends will be paid at 26 percent of last year's profits. The company will reinvest the rest to ensure operations in the following years. The company's revenues last year hit a record VND16.8 trillion ($1 billion). This year the company aims to make VND17 trillion despite the difficult economic situation. Its two subsidiary companies, FPT Information System and FPT Trading Company, will go public this year. … [Read more...]

Newly released figures on public debt are ‘more reliable’, economists say


VietNamNet Bridge - The public debt for 2014 was 64.4 percent of GDP, not 59.9 per cent, as previously reported, according to a newly released report by the Ministry of Planning Investment (MPI). Economists say it is a more accurate figure.Recalculation shows Vietnam’s public debt at 66.4% of GDP Dr. Le Dang Doanh, a renowned economist, has said the ministry has "looked at the situation more realistically". He noted that the latest figure was closer to experts’ calculations and the figure of the World Bank’s (WB). "The figure shows Vietnam’s public debt has been increasing rapidly and the public debt burden is serious," Doanh said. He said that the public debt as increased since the devaluation of the dong. "The dong has lost 5 percent of its value against the dollar. This means that Vietnam will have to pay 5 percent more in dong to pay debt," he explained. According to MPI, the state budget revenue is not big enough to pay principal, which has … [Read more...]

Man breaks wife’s tomb, throws her remains into river for fear of being haunted

The broken tomb.

VietNamNet Bridge – Local people in the village of Phu Dong of Phu Long commune, Phu Tan district, An Giang province, southern Vietnam, are very upset with Mr. Dang Van Khoe, 57, who destroyed his wife’s tomb and threw her remains in the river. "Everyone knows that it is a taboo to touch the graves of the dead. Khoe should not do that to his wife's grave", a local woman said angrily. The incident occurred on the morning of October 2. Mr. Nguyen Van Mam, 68, who lived near the local graveyard saw Khoe at the cemetery gate, with wounds on his hands. Khoe told Mam that he had just smashed the grave of his wife Mrs. Tran Thi Thom to take the remains and threw it to a local canal named Phu Lac. The incident astonished many people. Thom died about 15 years ago from illness and was buried in the cemetery near her home. The husband has been living alone raising their children. According to local residents, Khoe had very strange expression. "Once he was napping at a tea shop, … [Read more...]

Vietnam’s economy to be ranked 17th globally by 2025


VietNamNet Bridge - Goldman Sachs recently forecast that Vietnam's economy, which currently ranks 55th in the world, will be ranked 17th in 2025 with total gross domestic product (GDP) rising from US$186 billion at present to US$450 billion. At the same time, the Los Angeles Times on October 8 noted that Vietnam is 1 of 12 member states of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, which will create favorable conditions for Vietnam to export goods with zero tariff rate to a broad market, including countries in the bloc, which currently accounts for two fifths of global trade. According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Vietnam will benefit most from the TPP and the US should help Vietnam attract more investment resources for high technology, such as the case of Intel Corporation. When the TPP takes effect, Vietnam will likely witness a boom in exports of garments and footwear. Currently, Vietnam is completing regulations on taxation and investment, … [Read more...]

SOEs told to withdraw capital from non-core businesses, but let other areas thrive

Part 3: SOEs told to focus on core business fields

VietNamNet Bridge - State-owned economic groups have three more months to withdraw capital from non-core business fields as requested by the government. But they have only gone halfway toward the goal.SOEs required to divest non-core business fields, but proceeding slowly Commercial banks could get lucrative credit contracts thanks to close relations with large state-owned conglomerates. Techcombank and Vietnam Airlines, the national flag air carrier, for example, in December 2014 signed two credit contracts worth nearly VND2 trillion, including VND1 trillion long-term loan to fund the aircraft purchase deal. Meanwhile, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) can more easily seek funding from banks, considered as their ‘backdoor banks’. However, SOEs not only have reaped ‘sweet fruits’ from their capital contribution to banks, but also ‘tasted bitterness’. A document from the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP) shows that six out of the first nine … [Read more...]

Unique hotels in Da Lat


VietNamNet Bridge – Special hotels have been built in the resort city of Da Lat, attracting many tourists.Hotels on trees, slopes An eco-tourism zone on Elephant Mountain, 15 km from Da Lat City, has hostels on the mountainside. To get to their rooms, guests have to overcome steep cliffs. Staying here, visitors will experience the life of ethnic people of K'Ho and Darahoa. The "bird-caged" rooms built on trees. To stay here, visitors have to pay about $60 per night. The toilet of this hotel looks like a cave. Ghost hotel Located in the northwest of Da Lat is a special resort, called "forest ghost". The houses located along the stream look romantic during daytime, but very spooky at night. The resort can serve 70 guests at a time. The price of a house for 6 people is about VND1 million/night (nearly $50). The fee is VND100,000 per additional person. In the morning, the scene is romantic. There are several restaurants and bars right on the lake. VND60 billion crazy … [Read more...]

Vietnamese people with HIV still face discrimination

Illustrative image – Photo: VNP

VietNamNet Bridge – Despite much improvement since 2011, the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV in Vietnam remain unacceptably high, the People Living with HIV Stigma Index shows. The index was created by the Viet Nam National Network of People living with HIV (VNP+) in 2011 following a survey done in Dien Bien Province and the cities of HCM City, Ha Noi, Can Tho, and Hai Phong. A second survey was conducted in 2014 to both capture the existing levels of stigma and discrimination and the changes to them since 2011. Each time around 1,600 people were polled, including those living with HIV attending outpatient clinics, HIV-positive females who inject drugs (PWID), HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM), and HIV-positive female sex workers (FSWs). Comparison of the data from the two shows that the number experiencing rights violations was down in 2014 — by 10.6 per cent in case of people living with HIV and 25.5 per cent in case of … [Read more...]

Tien Cave – a pristine beauty of ‘unknown paradise’

The spectacular beauty of Tien Cave, one of the largest under the Tu Lan cave system in central Quang Binh Province.

VietNamNet Bridge – Hidden away in the woods and giant limestone mountains of ‘the land of caves’ in Quang Binh Province, Tien Cave (the Cave of Fairies) is an almost ‘anonymous’ destination that has yet to be featured on tourist maps. With wild and magnificent beauty, the underground work of nature is a priceless treasure that Mother Nature has bestowed on Cao Quang. Locals often refer to it as ‘the second Heaven’. The 2km-long cave, located in Cao Quang Commune, in the mountainous district of Tuyen Hoa, is about 70km to the northwest of well-known Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park with the famous Son Doong and En Caves. Tien Cave has been examined by experts of the British Caving Association and is recognised as one of the largest caves in the Tu Lan cave system. The name ‘the Cave of Fairies’ is tinged with mystery. Legend has it that the cave was named after a myth: fairies from heaven descended to this land, and were so busy … [Read more...]

When will the flooding end in HCM City?

Tracing the causes of flooding: urbanization and illegal encroachment on canals

VietNamNet Bridge – When will HCM City’s flooding end? It is a big question raised for the municipal authorities. After 1975, the number of migrants to HCM City skyrocketed and along with this, slums formed everywhere. Houses were built arbitrarily, breaking the designed planning. Land became gold. The canals, ponds and gardens, and grass covers quickly filled up. In 2005, during a meeting with investors from the US, who wanted to restructure residential areas along the Saigon River, lawyer Xuan Lee Tan said that the highest land prices in the world are beautiful, quiet islands, followed by coastal land, riverside land and suburban land. The lowest price is for urban land. Only poor and undeveloped countries, including Vietnam, are "fond" of urban land. The reasons are very clear. People need clean and comfortable accommodations. Distance is not an issue if public transport is well organized and roads are good. The lower the density of urban residents, the less pressure … [Read more...]

Viettel to spend big money on upgrading undersea cable network


VietNamNet Bridge - The military telecom group Viettel plans to spend $20 billion to upgrade the InterAsia undersea cable network with an aim to strengthen the connection for its 20 million internet subscribers. The Prime Minister has approved the project to upgrade the capacity and change the technology of the InterAsia (IA) undersea cable. This comes after repeated problems with the Asia America Gateway (AAG) cable. In Vietnam, enterprises involved in the internet have to ask for the Prime Minister’s permission for plans related to undersea cables. Le Dang Dung, deputy CEO of Viettel, said in Thoi Bao Kinh Te Sai Gon that with the upgrade, Viettel would have an additional 750 Gbps of international internet connection capacity through the IA network, which is 15 times higher than the capacity Viettel has on its network. The total capacity of the IA network which connects Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan, with a length of 6,800 kilometers, is 320 … [Read more...]

Businesses complain about regulation on scrap imports


VietNamNet Bridge - The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE) are still asking enterprises to pay deposit for scrap imports 15 days in advance, ignoring businesses’ complaints about the requirement. Viet Y Steel Corporation imported 10,286 tons of scrap steel from Japan and a consignment of 200 tons of scrap from Costa Rica. It paid a deposit of VND10.5 billion for the imports and hoped to get customs clearance soon. However, the business was told to wait more days to get customs clearance because the current law stipulates that the deposit payment must be paid 15 days before the customs clearance time. A senior executive of Viet Y said the company has to pay $15,000 to leave the ships at the Hai Phong port. If it leaves the ships at port for 15 days, it would have to pay $225,000. Under the current regulation, scrap importers are required to pay a deposit for scrap imports to be sure that the importers take responsibility for dealing with risks and the … [Read more...]

Vietnam suffers from ‘university boom’: expert

Mr Nguyen Minh Thuyet

VietNamNet Bridge - Nguyen Minh Thuyet, an education expert, and former chair of the National Assembly’s Committee for Culture, Education, the Youth and Children, said the number of universities increased in Vietnam so significantly that some are at the point of closing. In describing the university boom in recent years, Thuyet compared Vietnamese universities with ancient streets in urban areas, which have houses that are only 2-3 meters wide. Iis impossible to abolish the houses because these are people’s assets. The development of universities is just like the development of the real estate market – in a badly programmed, haphazard way. Why did Vietnam try to open so many universities in recent years? Thuyet said this is because of the willingness to increase the number of Vietnamese who can access higher education. Prior to 2005, Vietnam had fewer than 200 universities (4-5 year training) and junior colleges (3-year training). With the limited number of … [Read more...]

Special economic zone to go up in HCM City

Illustrative image -- Photo: batdongsan.com

VietNamNet Bridge – The HCMC Institute for Development Studies has sent the city government a huge plan to develop a special economic zone (SEZ) nearly 890 square kilometers to drive growth here in the city. The institute completed the formulation of the plan months after HCMC chairman Le Hoang Quan urged relevant agencies to quickly improve a development plan for the SEZ to give a fresh boost to the city’s economic development and help the city unlock its potential, and boost production, business and import-export activities. Around 35.5 square kilometers of the SEZ would be in District 7, 48.49 square kilometers in Binh Hung, Phong Phu and Da Phuoc communes of Binh Chanh District, 100.56 square kilometers in Nha Be District and 704.22 square kilometers in Can Gio District. Most of the area planned for the SEZ is farming and thinly populated areas, according to the institute. It said the zone will be developed based on SEZ models in other parts of Vietnam and the … [Read more...]

Vietnam may withdraw overseas deposits to fund state budget


VietNamNet Bridge - The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) and the Ministry of Finance (MOF) are discussing a plan to withdraw overseas deposits of credit institutions to fund state investments. Deputy Governor of the State Bank Nguyen Dong Tien said at the government’s regular press conference on October 1 that state agencies, after considering investment estimates for transport and infrastructure projects, are planning to withdraw the money credit institutions had deposited at foreign banks to fund projects. "MOF is drawing up a plan to mobilize the capital," Tien said. "We believe that this is one of the most feasible capital mobilization solution, suitable to current economic conditions and bank operations." Vietnam needs huge capital for huge transport projects it is implementing. In 2014, it was not a big problem for investors to call for capital when many commercial banks agreed to provide loans to fund projects. However, the capital flow to transport projects has been … [Read more...]

Confidence decreases as CDS index rises


VietNamNet Bridge - The credit default swap (CDS), the index that measures the risk of holding government bonds, increased in the last two months of the third quarter of 2015, showing foreign investors’ concern about Vietnam’s public debt. The National Finance Supervision Council mentioned the CDS increase in its report about Vietnam’s economy at the September government meeting. The report pointed out that the 5-year CDS index by mid-September had reached 260 points, which is even higher than the 200-point earlier this year and is the highest level since January 2014. "This partially reflects foreign investors’ concern about Vietnam’s public debt," the report said, In August 2015, foreign investors sold more than bought VND4.6 trillion worth of government bonds. The drop in confidence will make it a challenge to implement the government’s bond plan issuance. Only 20.7 percent of the government bonds on offer were sold in September … [Read more...]

The smallest traveler in Vietnam


VietNamNet Bridge - Although only 1.2 meters tall, Cao Ngoc Canh has been a professional traveler for more than seven years. He has visited hundreds of tourist sites in Vietnam and other countries, which few people at his age have done. At the age of 29, Canh’s figure, face and voice are like a primary pupil. Born in 1986 in a middle class family on the island of Ly Son in the central province of Quang Ngai, Canh had a childhood that was not much different from other coastal kids. However, when he was 8 years old, he stopped growing. His height and appearance remained the same as an 8 year old while his mind developed normally. Canh’s parents brought him to many hospitals on the mainland, where doctors said that he was not ill, but just suffered from a pituitary hormone deficiency causing slow physical development. Since then Canh has had to gradually be accustomed to his small shape. He still attended school, and in daily life, he sometimes needed the support of … [Read more...]

Quality of contraceptives in VN comes into question

A health worker displays a leaflet on family planning and contraceptive products to women in Phuoc Dong Commune, Khanh Hoa Province. Many women use contraception without guidance from doctors, leading to improper use -- Photo: VNA/VNS

VietNamNet Bridge – While the free market for contraceptive products and reproductive health commodities in Viet Nam is growing to meet increasing demand, its safety and quality remains questionable. A19-year-old freshwoman at the Viet Nam National University, who asked to remain anonymous, said she had a bad experience with low-quality condoms. "My boyfriend and I once used a free condom offered at a hotel room, but after having sex, we discovered that there were many tiny holes on the surface of the condom," she said. "I was really in panic and immediately took emergency pills. It was so lucky that we had checked the condom. Otherwise I might have needed to get an abortion, which is so painful and unsafe." Nguyen Duc Vy, former director of the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said there had been cases of unintended pregnancy that resulted from the use of sub-par condoms that had been punctured or torn during sex. "I also had to give abortions to several … [Read more...]