Cell phone buying energy not as strong as expected

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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...]

BUSINESS IN BRIEF 26/1

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...]

BUSINESS IN BRIEF 23/1

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...]

VED proposes reform measures for higher education in Vietnam

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VietNamNet Bridge - An 8,000-word petition has been sent by the Vietnam Education Dialogue (VED) Group headed by Professor Ngo Bao Chau, a mathematician and Fields medal winner, to education and training leaders. The requests made by the group on five major issues were made after thorough research to discover ways to reform Vietnam’s higher education conducted over three years. The general viewpoint of the group is that Vietnam’s university education needs to undergo fundamental and deep reform, from principles to organizational rules, and the reshuffling will be a long process. VED has recommended decentralizing local authorities and ministries to govern universities. It has also suggested giving autonomy to universities, which will set the enrollment numbers, tuition, curricula and training quality. Meanwhile, the state controls higher education through two important tools – examining training quality and making public information about schools’ … [Read more...]

HCM City wants to borrow $900 million to build sewage treatment plants

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VietNamNet Bridge - HCM City will have 12 sewage treatment plants by 2020, up from its current two. The city wants to borrow nearly $900 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to build four more plants. HCM City plans to have 12 sewage treatment plants, which will be built in the basin of the canals of Nhieu Loc - Thi Nghe, Tau Hu - Ben Nghe, Tan Hoa - Lo Gom, and Tham Luong - Ben Cat. These plants will be built in the 2016-2020 period, including West Saigon Plant, with a daily capacity of 150,000 m3 and a loan of $513 million; North Saigon Plant, with a daily capacity of 170,000 m3 and a loan of $81 million; Binh Tan, with 180,000 m3 and $225 million; and Tan Hoa-Lo Gom with 300,000 m3 and over $67 million. Currently, Vietnam’s biggest city has only two wastewater treatment plants: Binh Hung, with a daily capacity of 141,000 m3 and Binh Hung Hoa with a daily capacity of 30,000 m3. These plants can treat just 13% of the total wastewater discharged of 2 million m3 … [Read more...]

Seven world-famous caves of Vietnam

The cave was discovered in 1991 by a local man named Ho Khanh. However, until 2006 the discovery of this cave was announced. Photo: Oxalis.

VietNamNet Bridge – The caves of Huong Tich, Tam Coc, Dau Go and others make for colorful stalactites of various shapes. There are many stalactites with strange shapes in the cave. They are named based on the shapes, such as Bau Sua Me (Mother’s Breast), Hoa Phien Nao (Sorrow Flower), Dun Gao (Rice Dune), Dun Tien (Money Dune), Cay Vang (Gold Tree), Cay Bac (Silver Tree). There is also the "road to heaven" and the "road to hell ". Photo: Mytour. Thach Dong has two main entrances. The wood-made Tien Son Temple is inside the cave. It was built in 1790 and rebuilt in 2003. Photo: Luaviet. The case is associated with the Vietnamese fairytale "Thach Sanh" so it attracts a lot of tourists. Photo: Luaviet. Pha Le … [Read more...]

The consequences of US lifting the embargo against Vietnam in 1995

The Vietnam-US Bilateral Trade Agreement signing ceremony

VietNamNet Bridge - At the historic moment when US President Bill Clinton lifted the embargo against Vietnam, at 5 am on February 4, 1994, Hanoi time, Vietnamese wondered at the time how it would affect the country. The American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam in an outlook report that it posted on its website in late 2014 that the trade between Viet Nam and the US continues to expand in spite of domestic and international economic difficulties. According to the report, bilateral trade may reach US$34.9 billion after hitting $24.9 billion in 2012 and $29.7 billion in 2013, a healthy increase of nearly 20 per cent for two years in a row. In 2014, Viet Nam's exports to the US will likely reach $29.4 billion, a 19-per cent year-on-year increase, and its imports from the US will likely reach $5.5 billion, a 10-per cent year-on-year increase. The US has become Vietnam’s leading trade partner and investor. Vietnamese and US business celebrate Sixteen months later, on July 11, … [Read more...]

The French taste in Saigon

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VietNamNet Bridge – French people who have settled in HCM City have brought their cuisine to the city. Trois Gourmands restaurant. For Mr. Gils Brault, French cuisine is his joy, passion and life. He was attached to restaurants in France when he was a teenager and now is well-known as the owner of a French restaurant in Vietnam. Gils sold his house in France to open the Trois Gourmands restaurant in Tan Binh in 2005 and then he moved to Thao Dien in District 2 (39 Tran Ngoc Dien). Quality food and friendly service has quickly helped this restaurant become a favorite destination for those who love dishes from Gaulois in HCM City. The menu of Trois Gourmands is quite varied because Gils always offers new dishes, which are the combination of several Vietnamese ingredients with French flavor. He uses Vietnamese fish sauce to make some kinds of sauces and is very proud of his own cuisine – spring rolls with foie gras, combining the two famous dishes of Vietnam and … [Read more...]

The odd jobs

Transgenders sing at a funeral in HCM City.

VietNamNet Bridge – Some people are earning a living by crying or singing and dancing at funerals. When I approached Mr. Huu, 41, a mourner at funerals with almost 10 years experience, to learn about his special job, he said: "I have nothing to say about my job in your newspaper. I don’t want to be sneered at by others." Then, a few days later, my phone rang and it was Huu. "I think I should tell people about my job. Yesterday, I just cried at a funeral but then I was beaten by a local group of mourners. This profession is both shameful and miserable!" Huu said. Huu was tired when he met me. He said he had undergone a lot of bitterness and humiliation. He came to Saigon as a construction worker. After a motorcycle accident, his leg was injured and he could not do difficult jobs so he became a mourner. Huu said all members in his group were ill because their everyday work is with the dead. When asked why he doesn’t look for another job, he said: "This profession … [Read more...]

Vietnamese smartphone market still fastest-growing in SE Asia

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VietNamNet Bridge - Smartphone sales will continue to increase for at least the next five years in Vietnam, according to a survey conducted by the IDC firm. Though sales are slowing, Vietnam remains the fastest-growing smartphone market in South East Asia. In August 2014, Wiko, a French smartphone brand officially joined the Vietnamese market with products priced under VND6 million. Alcatel, which visited Vietnam a year before, has focused on mid-tier products. Huawei, a Chinese brand, had an impressive product launch earlier this year. However, the largest smartphone distribution networks such as The Gioi Di Dong, Vien Thong A and FPT Shop all reported that purchasing power was weak. A senior executive of Lenovo Vietnam noted that it was very difficult for newcomers to sell products above VND6 million. Vietnamese users would rather buy used Apple, Samsung or Sony products than brand-new products bearing unfamiliar brands. Therefore, the opportunities for newcomers can only … [Read more...]

Vietnamese sell fewer litchis than China to the US

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VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam has received permission to export litchis to the US and Australian markets, but exports remain very modest. Nguyen Thanh Lap, former general director of An Phu Radiation JSC, noted that Vietnam’s litchis were less competitive than China’s in oversea markets because of higher selling prices. China buys Vietnamese litchis to export to other countries, but it still sells them at lower prices. Vietnamese farmers sell litchis to Chinese merchants in large quantities and for low prices, about VND10,000 per kilo. Meanwhile, Vietnamese merchants exporting litchis to the US buy litchis from farmers at prices VND5,000-10,000 higher per kilo. As such, there exists a big gap in the input material prices at which Vietnamese and Chinese businesses buy from Vietnamese farmers. In general, Chinese buy litchis in large quantities to enjoy good prices. For every 1,000 tons they buy, they can select 300 tons of the best quality and re-export to the US and … [Read more...]

Vietnamese products bear highest taxes, fees in ASEAN

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VietNamNet Bridge - In Vietnam, a car bears three kinds of tax and dozens of fees. Rice reportedly has more fees that any other product or service. The Ministry of Finance (MOF) recently released a draft circular on collecting emission testing fees on road vehicles, fuel consumption testing fees, and energy labeling certification fees on cars with seven seaters and less. Under the draft circular, petrol-run vehicles would be charged VND16 million for every test, and diesel-run vehicles VND16.5 million. The Ministry of Finance also plans to collect VND100,000 per energy label certificate. According to Autodaily, cars bear a car part import tariff of 10-30 percent, CBU (complete built unit) import tariff of 50-70 percent, luxury tax of 40-60 percent, VAT of 10 percent and corporate income tax of 22 percent. A car has a registration tax of 10-15 percent, an examination fee, number plate granting fee, and technical safety fee. Car owners also have to pay road maintenance fees, pay … [Read more...]

Chinese traders suddenly stop buying VN litchis

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VietNamNet Bridge – The price for Bac Giang litchis dropped to VND3,000-VND15,000 per kilo after Chinese traders unexpectedly stopped purchasing litchis in Bac Giang province. Farmers in Luc Ngan District, the major litchi growing area of Bac Giang and Vietnam, are very worried right now. To sell nearly 500 kg of litchis on the morning of June 30, at the price of VND12,000/kg ($0.5), Mr. Phung Tran Hoat had to see several litchi traders. "Most of the points to collect litchis for Chinese traders in Luc Ngan have closed. The purchasing power of domestic businesses is moderate. I’m very lucky today to sell this volume of litchi," he said. Local farmers said in previous years Chinese traders did not halt purchasing litchi until the end of the season, but this year they stopped buying when the litchi season was two-thirds finished. This is also the main reason for the the price fall by 50-70% in the past few days. Ms. Nguyen Thi Loan was not as lucky as Mr. Hoat because … [Read more...]

Japanese pouring more money into Vietnam real estate

Part 1: Vietnamese market attractive to Japan

VietNamNet Bridge - Have the Japanese been too slow to invest in Vietnamese real estate market? The current merger & acquisition (M&A) wave indicates ‘no’. More Japanese real estate firms have shown their interest in Vietnam. Toshin Development, for example, has suggested building an underground shopping mall in HCM City. The project is expected to be developed in the Ben Thanh Market area and connect to the Ben Thanh-SuoiTien subway station. Toshin Development plans a huge amount of investment capital of VND6.4 trillion for the project, while suggesting the PPP (private public partnership) mode with the capital contribution ratio of 67-33 percent. The underground shopping mall would comprise two public and commercial areas. The Vietnamese partner will build public areas with the Japanese, while the Japanese firm would develop the shopping mall. Toshin Development is a subsidiary of Takashimaya, a shopping mall development group. If the project gets approval … [Read more...]

Bahnar, Jrai music to be performed in Finland

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VietNamNet Bridge – A group of folk musicians from Bahnar and Jrai ethnic groups from Gia Lai Province in the Central Highlands will perform at festivals in Finland from now to July 9. The troupe includes RCham Tih and Cham Nguich from Jrai; Dinh Plih and Dinh Len from Bahnar ethnic group; flutist Nguyen Duc Thao; and music researcher Kieu Trung Son. The festival is part of Finland-Viet Nam Cultural Bridge and the programme has been organised by Juminkeko, an information centre specialising in Finnish national epos, and Viet Nam Folk Culture and Arts Association. The group will also attend the 10th Sommelo Ethno Music Festival in Kuhmo and the Words and Music in Kajaani. The eastern Finnish town of Kajaani hosts Finland's longest-running and largest family-friendly festival dedicated to poetry, recitation, and small-scale theatre. Musicians will perform the traditional tunes and folk songs of their own people with the accompaniment of traditional instruments. They will … [Read more...]

Vietnam Airlines prepares to become 4-star airline

PM Nguyen Tan Dung on Vietnam Airlines' first Airbus 350-900 aircraft on July 2.

VietNamNet Bridge - Investing heavily in new-generation aircraft and concentrating on upgrading the quality of services are part of Vietnam Airlines' efforts to upgrade its position in global airline rankings. Earlier this week, Airbus delivered to Vietnam Airlines the first A350 XWB aircraft put into commercial exploitation. According to sources from Airbus, Vietnam will be the second country in the world using this model, with four units to be delivered in 2015. These aircraft will be operated on routes from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, Seoul (South Korea) and Hanoi/HCM City to Paris (France). Along with the A350, in the second half this year Vietnam Airlines will receive four Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. This is considered a step in the plan to replace the entire fleet of widebody aircraft with 33 units in the period from now until 2019. The national carrier will also launch the new brand identity, with new logo, stewardess uniforms, interior - exterior design, lounge, instruments and … [Read more...]

US billionaire amazed at Vietnam’s economic change

Billionaire Wilbur L. Ross. Photo Bloomberg

VietNamNet Bridge - Foreign investors see Vietnam as a safe country and an attractive destination of international capital flows, especially in the field of manufacturing and real estate. Speaking at an investment promotion conference themed "My Vietnam- your investment destination", held in New York on July 1, billionaire Wilbur L. Ross said Vietnam is an attractive destination of international capital flows. "I went to Vietnam for the first time in 2001. At that time, many families still drove bicycles. Recently, I visited Vietnam and I saw them owning cars and even big hotels. Obviously, Vietnam has had impressive economic growth and I personally think that this is the safest country in the world," he said. This investor has assets of about $3 billion and is the 603rd richest person in the world, according to Forbes. He praised the business environment in Vietnam, for its efforts to reform the economy, including tax policy reform and the loosening of ownership of shares for … [Read more...]

Image: Vietnam’s fourth submarine enters Cam Ranh Military Port

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VietNamNet Bridge – Experts completed technical inspections of the fourth Kilo-submarine named HQ-185 Da Nang at noon on July 2. The submarine safely docked at the military port of Cam Ranh in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa. The submarine was carried to Khanh Hoa on June 30 by heavy lift vessel Rolldock Storm. HQ-185 Da Nang submarine was built by the Admiralty Verfi Shipyards in Saint Petersburg, Russia. After it was launched on March 28, 2014 it conducted pilot journeys at the Baltic Sea and began a voyage to Vietnam on May 14. HQ-185 Da Nang is the fourth 636 Kilo-class submarine that Russia has built for Vietnam under the US$2 billion contract signed in 2009. Three submarines – HQ-182 Ha Noi, HQ-183 Ho Chi Minh City and HQ-184 Hai Phong -- had already arrived at Cam Ranh Port. All these three submarines are managed by the Vietnam People’s Navy. … [Read more...]

Photos: Three injured in Saigon thunderstorm

At the same time, a number of trees on Mac Thi Buoi Road in District 1, Quang Trung Road in Go Vap District, and Nguyen Tat Thanh Street in District 4 were also uprooted by strong winds. Fortunately, there were no casualties.

VietNamNet Bridge – On July 1 late afternoon, a thunderstorm swept through HCM City. Many old trees were uprooted, crashing into cars and walls. At least seven motorcycles were destroyed and two people were injured. At 6pm, taxi driver Le Xuan Nghia, 52, stopped his car on Dinh Tien Hoang Street, opposite the HCM City University of Social Sciences and Humanities in District 1 to release four foreign passengers. Incidentally, an old tree with a trunk the diameter of nearly one meter was uprooted and fell on a car. "At that time it suddenly began to rain hard, accompanied by very strong winds. Just when the passengers left the car, I heard a big sound right on my head. I did not know what happened until others broke the car door and pulled me out. Fortunately, I was only mildly injured," driver Nghia said. VNE/VNN … [Read more...]