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...]

DC therapy for cancer treatment could be used in Vietnam: scientist

Dr. Nguyen Duc Thai

VietNamNet Bridge - With Vietnamese scientists’ ability and existing facilities, the application of dendritic cells (DC) therapy in Vietnam is feasible, which will bring new opportunities to help treat cancer. Dr. Nguyen Duc Thai, scientific advisor and lecturer at the Laboratory for Researching and Applying Stem Cells, has said that there is high potential for applying DC therapy, a new achievement in world medicine, in Vietnam. DCs are unique antigen-producing cells capable of sensitizing T cells to both new and recall antigens. In fact, these cells are the most potent antigen-producing cells. The goal of DC based cancer immunotherapy is to use the cells to prime specific antitumor immunity through the generation of effector cells that attack and lyse tumors. T-cells are a type of lymphocyte which plays a central role in cell-mediated immunity. DCs have very high mobility and can go to many places in the body to catch and take away antigens to the T system, where DCs … [Read more...]

Investors bid for concessions to exploit highways

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VietNamNet Bridge - Investors, both foreign and Vietnamese, have expressed their willingness to obtain concessions to exploit highways, the Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC) has confirmed. VEC’s general director Mai Tuan Anh said the investors have asked for concessions for highway exploitation rights after the Ministry of Transport (MOT) said it would ‘sell some highways to get money to build new highways’. Bitexco and Sovico are the two Vietnamese names Anh mentioned in an interview to a local newspaper. Established in 1985 as a textile firm, Bitexco is better known in Vietnam as a big real estate development group. Since 2000, Bitexco has developed various high-profile projects in Hanoi and HCM City. Its best known project is Bitexco Financial Tower, a skyscraper in HCM City. With 68 floors and three basements, the building has a height of 262.5 meters (861 ft), making it the 124th tallest building in the world. Meanwhile, Sovico is a private … [Read more...]

Hue cuisine “conquers” travelers

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VietNamNet Bridge - Coming to the ancient capital city, visitors can admire the beauty of the system of royal tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty, and also enjoy the unique culinary and cultural history of this land.Where the sky and earth are in harmony According to researchers, Vietnam has about 3,000 different kinds of dishes, of which Hue accounts for over 1,700. Hue - the center of Dang Trong region under the Nguyen Lords – was the capital city in the 19th century. That required Hue people to not only be good at cooking rustic foods but also know how to prepare exquisite cuisine for the royal government. Today, though it is no longer an economic-political center of the country, Hue still maintains the shadow of an ancient dynasty with a golden age. And among the characteristics of Hue’s ancient culture, food has helped shape the culture and style of Hue. Hue cuisine is increasingly enriched by topography. For example, the Hen islet amid the Huong River is usually flooded … [Read more...]

Vietnam’s only vertical race scheduled in mid-April in Hanoi

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VietNamNet Bridge - Hanoi’s tallest building, Landmark 72, will host Vietnam’s only vertical race - the Hanoi Vertical Run Vertical Run on April 18. Runners will start at the tower’s ground-floor lobby and ascend 72 floors to the skydeck, totaling 350 meters, where they will see stunning views of Hanoi’s skyline. For the first time, the Hanoi Vertical Run will introduce the "Fun Climb" category to allow family and friends to experience a vertical run atmosphere in a more relaxed way. Runners will be climbing 38 floors, about half the distance of the "Challenge" category. "We believe that sport should be for everyone. Whatever your ability, the Fun Climb will allow more runners to participate with their friends and family members. We are looking forward enthusiastically to seeing these runners on Race Day and playing their part in spreading positive energy," said David Shin, from Sporting Republic, the race organizer. To reassure the participants, the … [Read more...]

Helping many children turn the page

Stacking them up: Young members of the Bookshelves for Entertainment and Education Project arrange donated books in their store. — Photos courtesy of Nguyen Thi Kim Thoa

VietNamNet Bridge – Disadvantaged children in remote mountainous areas are seeing new worlds open thanks to more than 160,000 books donated to a project called Bookshelves for Entertainment and Education. Luong Thu Huong has the story. Children from the remote mountainous provinces across Viet Nam are now able to access a new world of knowledge. This is thanks to the more than 160,000 books donated to a project entitled Tu sach Giai Tri va Giao duc (Bookshelves and Libraries for Entertainment and Education). Carrying the motto 'Our small contribution today will significantly change the lives of children tomorrow!', the project has established more than 800 libraries, including one in Ethiopia, for disadvantaged children in the past 15 years of its existence. 'Entertainment and Education Bookshelves' was initiated by Dr Ho Dac Duy and his friends, who were students of the Hue High School for the Gifted from 1961 to 1964. Duy recalls that he came up with the idea of the … [Read more...]

No to heavy workloads, yes to hard work

VietNamNet Bridge – After a double weekend Lunar New Year break, the mother of a first grader in a well-known primary school in Ha Noi, was aghast when the teacher told her that the kids had already forgotten what she'd taught them in the first semester. Poor mid-term test results proved her right. Half of the class, which has 40 pupils, failed it. "Please, can you send out a note in the class chat group, telling the parents to supervise the kids more closely at home?" the teacher requested. It was also my kid's class, so I began receiving text messages everyday, reminding me to make sure that my daughter learnt to recite a poem, wrote a few lines in her notebook or memorised a passage. Since the Ministry of Education and Training decided to ban primary school teachers from assigning homework, there has been an upsurge in complaints from the teachers who are concerned about the progress of their pupils. "Please help us steer your children in the right direction," I remember … [Read more...]

Building Long Thanh Airport is the best of all available options

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VietNamNet Bridge – Transport Minister Dinh La Thang explained to Lao Dong (Labour) why building a new airport instead of expanding the existing Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCM City makes more sense. Many people have argued that the construction of the Long Thanh Airport in Dong Nai Province is a very expensive proposition when Viet Nam's public debt has already reached $80 billion. They say upgrading the existing six airports in the south will solve the problem of overloading at the Tan Son Nhat Airport. How would you respond? It is projected that from 2017 onwards, the Tan Son Nhat Airport will be overloaded because it is only designed to handle 25 million passengers a year. There was a plan to increase the airport's capacity to cater to 40-50 million passengers a year during the 2025-2030 period. I don't think this plan is feasible. The proposal to upgrade the Bien Hoa military airport and turn it into a civilian airport is not feasible either, mainly because it does not … [Read more...]

Housing prices far above average incomes

Housing prices in Viet Nam are still too high in comparison with people's average income.

VietNamNet Bridge – Housing prices in Viet Nam are still too high in comparison with people's average income, said Tran Ngoc Quang, general secretary of the Viet Nam Real-Estate Association. Quang said this during a discussion on how to buy an apartment for less than VND2 billion (US$93,400) held in Ha Noi yesterday, March 24, adding that such a situation had arisen because housing prices had always increased more than people's incomes. In addition, the application of technology and science in reducing housing construction costs was limited. Property developers should enhance the application of science and technology, as well as improve effectiveness in management to save production costs at a maximum level, thus reducing selling prices. "The Government should have a transparent mechanism, which together with transparency from real-estate firms would reduce housing prices to their real value," he said. Responding to a question on real-estate investors and transaction … [Read more...]

Oil refinery super-projects ask for $1 billion from state budget

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VietNamNet Bridge - Local authorities have asked for state financial support of $1 billion for oil refinery projects, but the amount of money goes far beyond the state budget capability. The call for financial support has been made by local authorities in three provinces which have granted investment licenses to four mega-projects. The four projects include three oil refineries - the Vung Ro refinery in Nam Phu Yen EZ of Phu Yen Province, the Nhon Hoi Refinery in Nhon Hoi EZ in Binh Dinh Province, and the Dung Quat refinery expansion. The remaining is the thermal power plant Semcorp. The local authorities have successfully attracted big investors to their localities but now lack money for site clearance. According to MPI, local authorities have asked for financial support of trillions of dong for each project. Under the Prime Minister’s Decision No 126 in 2009, large projects with capital of over VND20 trillion in coastal EZs or difficult areas can receive financial … [Read more...]

Multi-million year-old fossil found in Quang Binh’s Dark Cave

The Dark Cave.

VietNamNet Bridge - Explorers have surveyed Toi cave in the central province of Quang Binh and discovered many fossils hundreds of millions of years old. Le Thanh Loi, director of the Centre for Phong Nha - Ke Bang Tourism, said after two days of survey the 6km Toi (Dark) Cave, many domestic and foreign explorers have discovered many ancient karst systems. In particular, the survey team has discovered many fossils hundreds of millions of years old with beautiful stalactite system. Put into operation in June 2011, the Dark Cave in Phong Nha - Ke Bang is a favourite destination of many tourists. During the war against America, the cave was used as a bomb shelter. In 1992, the British Royal Cave Exploration Association conducted surveys and concluded that the cave has a total length of 5.258m, 80m high, with thousands of stalactites of diverse shapes. The recent survey will help promote cave tourism in Phong Nha. The Phong Nha - Ke Bang Tourism Center is completing procedures to … [Read more...]

Educators, parents complain about entrance-exam ban at secondary schools

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VietNamNet Bridge - The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has prohibited secondary schools from organizing entrance exams for sixth-grade enrolment, but has not clarified what the schools should do to select students. The regulation will be applied throughout the country at both private and state--owned schools. In case the number of students getting registered in a school is higher than the seats available, the school would then have to formulate proper admission policies and submit the same to the local authorities for approval. MOET’s Deputy Minister Nguyen Vinh Hien also said there must not be classes for the gifted with intensive training curriculum in primary and secondary schools. This was done to reduce the workload of students. Meanwhile, educators said the new exam regulation does not propose any other enrollment method. "This is a question we cannot answer," said Van Nhu Cuong, deputy headmaster of Luong The Vinh Secondary School. Many secondary … [Read more...]

Weaker euro concerns Vietnamese exporters

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VietNamNet Bridge - The depreciation of the euro against the greenback amid a struggling European economy has begun to worry Vietnamese exporters. The euro has declined to a 12-year low. On March 16, one euro was equivalent to US$1.0451, with a loss of 25 percent of value over the last year. Like the other exporters specializing in exporting products to European markets, Vu Quang Thanh, director of the HCM City-based Thanh Hai Food Processing Company, complained that his company still had not signed contracts for the year because of euro price fluctuations. "We are still negotiating new contracts," Thanh said. "The European partners have been very slow in replying to our proposal. The euro price fluctuations could be a reason behind the tardiness." As Thanh is not sure if he can sign contracts with European partners, he is trying to look for new clients in the US, Japan, South Korea and the Middle East. Nguyen Thi Anh, chair of Song Tien Seafood, said the company’s … [Read more...]

Nam serves up a record double at ITF Junior Tennis Championship

Ly Hoang Nam (second left) and Lim Alberto of the Philippines (second right) pose with the men's doubles trophy at the 25th Sarawak Chief Minister's Cup (I) ITF Junior Tennis Championship (Grade 1) in Malaysia. — Photo tennishouse.com

VietNamNet Bridge – Top Vietnamese tennis player Ly Hoang Nam has emerged as both the men's singles and doubles champion of the 25th Sarawak Chief Minister's Cup (I) ITF Junior Tennis Championship (Grade 1) in Malaysia. This is the first time that a Vietnamese player won a Grade 1 international tournament. In the men's singles final yesterday (March 22), Nam, who holds the 46th position in world rankings, defeated South Korea's Oh Chan-yeong, who ranks number 31, two sets to none (6-3, 6-0). "I am very happy with this achievement. This marks a stage of great progress for my career," he was quoted as saying by online newspaper vnexpress.net. To prepare for the final match, Nam and his Swedish coach, Christian Brydniak, drew up a detailed plan, which paid off. To advance to the final, Nam, who is seeded No 4, bested 6th seed Soon Woo-kwon of South Korea in the men's singles semi-final. In addition, Nam and Lim Alberto of the Philippines won the men's doubles trophy after … [Read more...]

Liem moves to win HD Bank Cup

Le Quang Liem took the title at the HD Bank Cup International Open Chess tournament in HCM City yesterday.

VietNamNet Bridge – Viet Nam's top chess player, Le Quang Liem, took the title at the HD Bank Cup International Open Chess tournament in HCM City yesterday, March 22. Liem beat Indian Padmini Rout in the last and ninth round of the event. The two-time Aeroflot Open champion bested his rival in 50 moves. With 7.5 points after nine matches, the HCM City player finished first and received US$12,000 cash prize. Zhang Zhong and Li Chao of China came second and third, with seven and 6.5 points, respectively. Liem said the last match was very stressful so he had to compete with all his might. "My rival played very carefully, however she made an error and I took full advantage to win the event," he added. Last Sunday, Liem, the former world blitz champion, also took the FIDE World Chess Championships-Zone 3.3 held in HCM City. This gives him a berth for the world event to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, from September 10 to October 4. "Taking part in two big events in a row is a … [Read more...]

BKAV criticized for misleading advertising for smartphone

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VietNamNet Bridge - BKAV, a wholly owned Vietnamese enterprise, has promoted its BPhone smartphone as a super product, but the device remains a mystery. Related news BKAV to produce trully Made-in-Vietnam smartphones BPhone was first mentioned in the mass media after it unexpectedly turned up at a CES exhibition last year. BKAV said the smartphone model had a beautiful design. However, no one could see the smartphone because BKAV covered the product with a box. The statement then immediately stirred up the public as many did not believe that a Vietnamese company could manufacture smartphones. However, doubts raised by the public made the BPhone an even hotter item. "BPhone is one of the best designed smartphones, a high-end product with strong configuration, but the selling price is not overly high" Vu Thanh Thang, vice president of BKAV, said. "Our plant in Cau Giay District, Hanoi can manufacture tens of thousands of products each month. If we have positive feedback from the … [Read more...]

Ministries hinder ‘green’ campaign

Youth take part in tidying up grass and litter in HCM City's District 8. Experts said that lack of co-operation was hindering the implementation of Law on Environment Protection.

VietNamNet Bridge – Lack of co-operation at ministry level is hindering the implementation of last year's Law on Environment Protection. This was admitted by Dr Dong Thanh An from the Viet Nam Environment Administration (VEA) at a conference in Ha Noi last week to discuss the roles of organisations and communities in protecting the environment as well as to define and legalise their activities. Last year's Law on Environmental Protection stipulated that the Fatherland Front, the representative body of the country's numerous social groups and communities, was the main group charged with environmental protection. The law, which came into full effect on January 1, aims to establish a legal framework for organisations and communities to be a part of the decision making process and other roles, such as consulting, supervising and debating in matters related to the environment. Dr.An said the 2014 law had given citizens greater rights and influence in environmental … [Read more...]