Citi has new CEO for Asia-Pacific
Citigroup has appointed Mr. Peter Babej as its new chief executive for Asia-Pacific. Mr. Babej joined the bank in 2010 and has been head of Citi’s financial institutions group for the past two years, based in New York.
“Under Mr. Babej’s leadership, the group has participated in some of the most significant transactions in the sector, including several Asia-driven mergers and acquisitions,” said Mr. Michael Corbat, Citi Chief Executive. He also highlighted that the bank continues to see significant business opportunities in Asia, “including fast-growing digital adoption.”
Asia-Pacific is an increasingly important region for Citi, which is seeking to grow its presence in mainland China and ASEAN. The region is one of its strongest performing businesses, representing about a fifth of revenues and about a third of net income.
In its third-quarter results announced recently, Citi reported Asia-Pacific revenues of $4 billion, for growth of 6 per cent year-on-year.
The bank has more than 90 per cent of the Fortune 500 companies in the Asia-Pacific region as clients and operates sizeable wealth management and consumer banking businesses in the region.
On October 2 and 3, Citi organized two special client events in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to celebrate its 25th anniversary in Vietnam. Citi opened a representative office in Hanoi in 1993, and one year later became the first US financial institution licensed to open a full branch, in the capital. And in 1998 it opened a second branch in Ho Chi Minh City.
Citi has retained its leadership in technology, providing an extensive platform across online and mobile banking. With these comprehensive digital capabilities, Citi Vietnam became the first globally to accomplish the milestone of 100 per cent penetration of e-statements for clients.
Robert Walters: ‘Potential-based recruitment’ a new approach
Specialist professional recruitment firm Robert Walters released a guide entitled “Grow Your Talent, Hire Based on Potential” on October 23. As Vietnam’s economy advances and jobs are rapidly evolving, there is a shortage of professionals equipped to fill new roles.
Rather than vying for talent within this already-limited pool, the report shows the benefits of hiring based on potential, giving pointers on how to identify high-potential candidates and then hire and empower them to fulfil their potential. This will not only help companies meet the demands of today but also build a strong pipeline for the future and rein in growing costs and salaries.
Knowledge-based hiring has always been the safer choice and works well where expectations are well-defined: when one knows the scope of the role, key deliverables, and the skills required. Across the region, hiring managers would prefer candidates who can hit the ground running, with the technical nature of the roles and the difficulty to assess the person’s potential being reasons for not hiring high-potential professionals.
Today, fewer than half of employers have hired based on potential even though 94 per cent of those who have said their potential-based hires have become a valuable part of their teams. The findings presented in the guide are based on insights derived from extensive research as well as interviews. The statistics are based on a survey of 3,500 professionals and 1,200 hiring managers across Southeast Asia.
Potential difference: A way for Vietnamese firms to maximize resources
As Vietnam’s economy hurtles forward and the demand for professionals who can constantly adapt and respond to rapid technological advances grows, potential-based hiring becomes imperative. Many of the top roles in the digital age will rely on continual skills development as even the most traditional roles are being transformed by new technology. Employers are investing more in training staff, which is an indication that companies are focusing on building future talent.
Finding the “ideal” candidate in a knowledge/experience-based hire comes at a premium in terms of resources. In Vietnam, 89 per cent of companies take more than a month to fill a position, yet a whopping 40 per cent of those hires are unsuccessful, and it takes a month to a year to reach a mutual decision that the employee was not the right fit.
Tellingly, only 20 per cent of hires fail because of a lack of knowledge or expertise. The remaining 80 per cent fail for reasons ranging from a mismatch in culture, attitude, and ethics, which support the case for potential-based hiring.
The challenge of the new economy is acknowledged by the professionals themselves, 55 per cent of whom have said they valued learning and growth opportunities more than salaries. This attitude to salary is a significant departure from companies seeking a perfect match. The scarcity of talent has driven up salaries of those considered ideal for a role. Hiring-for-potential can address the issues of both time as well as that of higher costs associated with knowledge-based hires, as a bigger pool of candidates will tilt the balance to the supply side.
Hiring based on potential can benefit businesses as candidates hired from diverse fields bring fresh perspectives and new approaches to problem solving. “High potential employees typically demonstrate more grit, loyalty, and enthusiasm for having been given the opportunity,” said Ms. Linh Pham, Manager of Legal & HR at Robert Walters Vietnam. “The challenge of the unknown and the excitement of acquiring new skills keep them motivated and engaged and helps retain them for longer.”
KPMG to kick-off Vietnam Tax and Legal Institute 2019
Back by popular demand, KPMG in Vietnam will organise its annual event Vietnam Tax and Legal Institute 2019 in the country’s three major cities – Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Danang – from October 28 to November 1.
This one of the biggest tax forums, where KPMG’s leading partners and directors discuss the impact of recent regulatory updates and trends and provide expert insights on the issues businesses should be thinking about regarding taxation, and tax policy, and regulation.
Key topics to be covered include an update and review of new tax regulations, notable trends such as Vietnam tax landscape, global developments – digital goods and services, tax and legal update, and transfer pricing update, to name but a few.
Key topics to be covered include an update and review of new tax regulations, notable trends such as Vietnam tax landscape, global developments – digital goods and services, tax and legal update and transfer pricing update, to name but a few.
This year, Vietnam Tax and Legal Institute will welcome guest speaker Nguyen Van Phung, director of the Department of Tax Administration at Large Enterprises from the General Department of Taxation, who will share some observations from the General Department of Tax Administration about tax policy and tax audit trends.
This year, the event is slated to first arrive in Ho Chi Minh City on October 28 at the GEM Centre and is expected to attract 550 guests. It will take place in Hanoi two days later on October 30, slated to feature 400 guests, before landing in Danang city on November 1 at Hilton Hotel with the attendance of about 100 guests.
Keynote speaker at Vietnam Tax and Legal Institute 2019 will be Warrick Cleine, chairman and CEO of KPMG in Vietnam and Cambodia and other speakers who are Tax and Legal partners at KPMG in Vietnam.
The event is expected to attract organisation leaders, business executives, and heads of finance and accounting departments, among others.
By invitation only, the event offers free entrance (two guests per company maximally), plus English-Vietnamese cabin translation.
Aviva Vietnam announces new appointed actuary
Upon approval by the Ministry of Finance, Aviva Vietnam Life Insurance Co., Ltd. (Aviva Vietnam) has appointed Zhen Chen as its new appointed actuary. The appointment came into effect on October 8, 2019.
Zhen Chen is a qualified actuary of the Society of Actuaries with 14 years of experience as an insurance professional in reputable global insurance organisations across various markets. He held many senior roles such as vice president, chief pricing actuary at Maiden Reinsurance Global (Bermuda, USA), senior pricing actuary (Member of Management) at Partner Reinsurance (Zurich, Switzerland), senior ERM project manager at AIG Group ERM and Analytics (Shanghai and Hongkong, China). With this appointment, Zhen Chen will play a key role in managing the financial KPIs and sustainable business growth of Aviva Vietnam.
On this occasion, Paul George Nguyen, CEO of Aviva Vietnam, said, “I strongly believe that with his in-depth knowledge, action-oriented mindset, and enthusiasm, Zhen Chen will accompany and lead his team to accomplish important missions and to contribute significantly to the ongoing success of the company.”
Aviva is a leading insurer in the UK with over 320 years of experience in Europe, Asia, and North America. Aviva specialises in life, non-life, healthcare, and property insurance products. It currently serves over 33 million customers all over the world.
In Vietnam, Aviva established an exclusive long-term partnership with VietinBank with the mission of bringing premium financial solutions to customers. Aviva Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing life insurers in the market and posted a growth rate of 56 per cent in 2018. In 2019, the company has launched 12 new sales offices all over the country to better support its sales force, and to support the development of Vietnam’s life insurance industry.
Workthere platform opens for flexible office spaces in Vietnam
Going along with the boom of flexible spaces in Vietnam, Workthere, a website listing platform and brokerage service that helps businesses find flexible coworking and serviced office space, was officially opened in Vietnam on October 23.
Workthere will provide listing service for flexible workspaces in Vietnam and leasing services for landlords, operators, and occupiers. Workthere’s current coverage includes 50 locations in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Danang and is set to further expand with the rapid growth of Vietnam’s flexible office market.
Originally launched in the UK in February 2017 through Savills consultants, Workthere has since expanded to eight countries globally with local teams in Singapore, Germany, France, Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands, the US, and now Vietnam.
Yann Deschamps, head of Workthere Asia-Pacific, commented that demand for flexible office space in Vietnam will continue to be driven by freelancers, local and international startups, and small corporates.
International startups, digital nomads, and freelancers seeking affordable workplaces could also consider relocating to Vietnam to grow their businesses.
“This growing demand both from domestic and overseas occupiers called for a more advanced solution than traditional leasing services, which explains the introduction of Workthere in Vietnam,” said Deschamps.
Cal Lee, founder and global head of Workthere, also shared that the company is delighted to see its market coverage expand in the APAC where the co-working realm is evolving faster than in other regions in the world.
“Vietnam has seen phenomenal growth in the flexible workspace sector, with many new venues coming to the market. At the same time, demand for flexible workspace continues to grow as more businesses, including startups, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and even larger corporate companies, are seeing the benefits of flexible workspace over a more traditional lease,” Lee said.
Since the concept was first introduced in Vietnam in 2012, co-working space has expanded rapidly across the country. Between 2018 and 2019 Savills reported that the supply of coworking space has increased by 64 per cent.
In the same period, 57 per cent of the total scale of office transactions in Vietnam came from the real estate industry, 85 per cent of which was from co-working space. The rise in the number of coworking locations across Vietnam has been driven by the growth of startups and the need for cost-effective spaces. Amid strong expansion by both local and international operators, co-working is primed for further rapid growth in Vietnam in the coming years.
Existing co-working providers in Vietnam such as Toong, Dreamplex, Up, and Regus with their branded co-working spaces are set to open more venues as they seek to achieve economies of scale, establish their networks, and gain market share.
The entry of international operators in the Vietnamese market is expected to usher in a period of consolidation and partnership agreements, a trend that is already occurring in other markets throughout the Asia-Pacific.
WeWork plan to cut 4,000 jobs worldwide
US giant co-working space provider WeWork is planning to do a worldwide overhaul by cutting approximately 4,000 jobs as part of an aggressive turnaround plan put in place by SoftBank after it took control of the co-working business this week.
According to industry insiders, WeWork’s job cuts will amount to just under 30 per cent of its 14,000 employees around the world. One-fourth of the cut, as reported by FT, will be outsourced, including manual jobs such as cleaning staff.
The news comes as WeWork employees and investors digested a $9.5 billion rescue plan backed by SoftBank in a bid to help the company avoid bankruptcy and included terms that will hand up to $1.7 billion to WeWork CEO Adam Neumann.
Last month, WeWork witnessed an abrupt drop in its valuation to just a third of the $47 billion it was valued at a January funding round.
As VIR previously reported, the future development strategy of WeWork in Vietnam remains uncertain after it had to postpone its IPO in the US stock exchange.
Sharlene Lee, lead of public affairs for WeWork Southeast Asia, confirmed to VIR that company’s business remains as usual, but its development plan were not disclosed.
“The fundamentals of our business remain strong in Vietnam and we remain committed to the continued success locally. As we enter our next phase, we’re confident in our ability to continue delivering an unparalleled experience for all of our members,” Lee answered VIR’s question in an email query.
However, Lee declined to release anything on the future plan whether WeWork had planned to expand in Vietnam or not.
wework plans to cut 4000 jobs worldwide
In March this year, WeWork opened its first Vietnamese location in E. Town Central in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 4.
A few months later, WeWork opened for lease two other space offices in Lim Tower 3 and Sonatus, both in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City.
BSA launches Clean Up to the Countdown to legalise corporate software assets
By launching Clean Up to the Countdown, BSA seeks to team up with Vietnamese authorities and CEOs to make substantial reductions in the corporate use of illegal software through the end of 2019.
An increasing number of corporations in Vietnam use only legal software in their operations, thanks in part to continuous efforts by the Vietnamese government to enforce compliance with copyright laws.
However, close to three-quarters of corporations in Vietnam still use unlicensed software, putting data at risk nationwide and creating significant gaps in Vietnam’s cybersecurity defences.
BSA | The Software Alliance (BSA) believes that solving this problem will require CEOs to make serious efforts to eliminate unauthorised software in their companies. To this end, BSA’s Clean Up to the Countdown campaign seeks to encourage CEOs to legalise their corporate software assets to comply with criminal law, copyright law, and the 2019 Cyber Security Law before the new years eve countdown at midnight, December 31, 2019.
The Clean Up to the Countdown campaign targets 10,000 companies across Vietnam that are thought to be at-risk of using illegal software. This includes corporations in a variety of business sectors, such as manufacturing, construction, banking and finance, engineering, architecture, media, design, IT, and healthcare. Many of these companies are known users of software but lack license agreements from software providers.
“The Vietnamese government is doing a great job of inspecting and taking action against corporations which continue to use illegal software, and we hope they build on current efforts to legalise even more companies,” said Tarun Sawney, BSA senior director for APAC. “But the largest improvement should come from the companies themselves. CEOs need to proactively ensure their companies are compliant and send the message that the use of illegal software is not acceptable and in fact puts themselves and their customers at serious risk.”
The solution, according to the software industry, involves both the stronger enforcement of existing international copyright laws and proactive behaviour on the part of the Vietnamese business community. Examples of intensified enforcement include expanded investigations of companies using illegal software. Since January 2018, copyright infringement is a criminal offense in Vietnam, with a monetary punishment of up to VND3 billion ($129,634) or a two-year suspension of business license for commercial entities.
“Vietnamese companies can avoid negative consequences by thoroughly and voluntarily auditing software on their computers to ensure it is all appropriately licensed,” said Sawney. “Doing so will require hands-on effort from CEOs and C-suite leadership, who have vested interests in protecting their clients’ data, their corporate digital assets, their reputation, and their companies’ financial wellbeing. That is the idea behind this campaign.”
According to BSA, the Vietnamese government has become a leader in the Asia-Pacific at taking steps to create a legal and safe digital environment. So far, in 2019, relevant departments have conducted dozens of investigations and company inspections in pursuit of this goal, with an estimated 80-100 by the end of the year.
Failure to fully consider risk management from an IT perspective puts company, employee, and customer data at risk of theft via malware, which is often hidden in illegal software, or which exploits weaknesses in software that is out-of-date due to being unlicensed.
To help motivate executives to act, BSA is preparing to launch a CEO Software Risk Calculator with which businesses can simply determine the fines they face if they fail to control illegal software use. The calculator will be a voluntary tool designed for the mutual benefit of businesses and software creators, and it will not request or store any specific company data.
Opening way for digital payments
With the meteoric rise of non-cash payments in Vietnam, more and more banks and financial institutions are turning towards digital, subscribing to software providers like OpenWay that are working to unite the market – under their own name.
As new technologies roll out in the financial and banking sector utilising fintech, cloud computing, big data, and the Internet of Things, banks are adjusting their course towards digital banking and non-cash payments.
The Payment Summit 2019, themed “Building a digital payment ecosystem” and organised by the Vietnam Banks Association and OpenWay Group, drew the participation of hundreds of experts on October 16.
At the event, Pham Tien Dung, director general of the Payment System Department at the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), confirmed that the non-cash payment ecosystem has already drawn great demand to cover diverse payment needs.
“At present, we are no longer bothered by bill collectors who used to knock on our doors while we were having dinner with our family. In addition to bills, we can pay for a lot of different costs via phone apps like internet, cable TV subscription, tuition fees, and shopping,” said Dung.
In 2017, as much as 87.57 per cent of total power revenue was conducted via banks or e-wallet apps. Over the past years, banking services have become popular. As of August 2019, the number of individual bank accounts has increased to 83.9 million from 69 million in 2017 and 60.2 million in 2015, while the proportion of adults holding a bank account rose to 63.7 per cent in 2018, from 52 per cent in 2015.
In public services, digital payment is also growing stronger with the participation of 50 banks. As of now, 95 per cent of total customs revenue flows in via bank transfer, while 99 per cent of businesses register to pay taxes online. To date, there are 32 units licensed by the SBV, 28 of which provide payment portal services and 29 of which provide e-wallet services. “Money transfers via mobile banking have already surpassed automated teller machines,” Dung said.
In fact, the number of internet and mobile banking transactions was 204 and 170 million in the second quarter of this year, rising by 60.6 and 109.5 per cent, respectively, over the same period last year, and the value of transactions also increased remarkably.
“Mobile payment is a trend that supports new technologies like QR codes, near field communication, tokenisation, and biometric authentication,” added Dung.
However, the proportion of cash payments against total payments in Vietnam is still 11 per cent, although the government set the goal of reducing this figure to 10 per cent by 2020 and 8 per cent by 2025. In order to reach the target, it is necessary to synchronise payment options and units providing goods and services, as well as improve the IT system of banks.
Talking to VIR, Maria Vinogradova, OpenWay Group director of strategy and market intelligence, said that preparation between banks should be improved. “We can see some e-wallet projects here, but every company is trying to launch their own mobile applications and their own e-wallet solution,” she said. “In other regions, several banks use the same wallet platform to operate on, which is more efficient and more people start using them because they can be integrated into a lot of mobile phone applications. It is better to have one or two apps that are available everywhere.”
As the highest-ranked digital payment processing software by Gartner since 2009 and the leader in digital wallet software by Ovum since 2016, OpenWay is the top choice for banks and financial organisations to provide card and digital payment solutions.
The WAY4 application developed by OpenWay – a single platform to launch classic and highly innovative payment services alike – has been applied by 135 banks, financial organisations, payment intermediaries, switching companies, and telecoms groups across the globe.
In Vietnam, 14 banks and financial organisations have already set up WAY4, including Military Bank, MSB (the former Maritime Bank), ACB, VP Bank, SeAbank, Lotte Finance Vietnam, SmartPay from FE Credit, and ACS Vietnam from AEON.
“The digital payment ecosystem based on modern software for card and other payments enables customers to make transactions in half a minute. Most important is that the digital payment ecosystem optimises the experience for customers and enables them to change their payment behaviour,” said Nguyen Manh Ha, OpenWay Vietnam’s country director.
A representative of MSB, which has been using OpenWay for nearly a decade, said that it has been the best platform on the market since they adopted it.
“We chose the solutions of OpenWay for their high flexibility and customisability. The platform is easy to use and develop in the long term, and outshines other platforms used by other banks,” the MSB representative told VIR. “Moreover, with a team of local and overseas experts, OpenWay has been able to provide great support for MSB in the process of digital transformation.”
As Industry 4.0 unfolds and new technology permeates the economy, banks and businesses are hard-pressed to choose optimal solutions for their digital transformation, catching up with consumption trends and pioneering the segment.
Pace of business climate reforms slows in East Asia and Pacific region
Economies in the East Asia and Pacific region carried out 33 business-climate-enhancing reforms during the past year, and while many economies in the region make doing business easy for small and medium-sized entrepreneurs by global standards, the overall pace of reforms slowed, the World Bank Group’s latest Doing Business 2020 study says.
The number of reforms in the region fell by ten over the 12-month period to May 1 and reforms were implemented in fewer than half of its economies (12 out of 25). Even so, five East Asia and Pacific economies are among the top 25 global performers, including Singapore (2nd), Hong Kong SAR, China (3rd); Malaysia (12th); Taiwan, China (15th); and Thailand (21st). China is among the top 10 improvers for a second consecutive year.
“The reform impetus in the East Asia and Pacific region continues, with significant improvements made by some economies, such as China,” said Rita Ramalho, Senior Manager of the World Bank’s Global Indicators Group, which produces the study. “Sustained progress is key to improving the domestic business climate and enabling private enterprises.”
With eight reforms, China improved regulation in most areas measured by Doing Business and implemented the most reforms in the region. Beijing simplified requirements for low-risk construction and streamlined processes to obtain water and drainage connections, cutting the wait for all required permits by 44 days. Construction is also now safer due to stricter qualification requirements for professionals in charge of technical inspections.
Authorities improved the application process for connecting a new warehouse to the electrical grid and made electricity fees more transparent. China helped small and medium-sized enterprises access international markets by implementing advance cargo declaration, upgrading port infrastructure, optimizing customs administration, and publishing fee schedules.
Indonesia and Myanmar carried out five reforms each – most involving the use of information and communication technologies. For instance, Indonesia introduced an online filing and payment system for major taxes and an electronic case management system for judges. Further, authorities enhanced online processing of export customs declarations, reducing border compliance time for exporting by seven hours.
Myanmar strengthened construction quality control, improved water and sanitation infrastructure and made the building permitting process more efficient, advancing the country to 46th place on the dealing with construction permits indicator. In addition, Myanmar started publishing performance measurement reports to ease contract enforcement and introduced an online platform for company registration.
With three reforms in the past year, the Philippines continued its reform momentum. Among other changes, the Philippines eliminated the minimum capital requirement for domestic firms. The country also streamlined the process for obtaining an occupancy certificate.
Brunei Darussalam, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam each carried out two reforms. Brunei Darussalam started publishing reports measuring the performance of the Bandar Seri Begawan Intermediate Court.
Among other initiatives, Lao PDR made getting electricity easier by deploying an automated Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system for outage monitoring and service restoration. Vietnam upgraded the information technology infrastructure used by the General Department of Taxation, making the process of paying taxes easier for entrepreneurs.
Overall, the region’s economies focused reform efforts on improvements in the areas of dealing with construction permits and starting a business with seven and five reforms, respectively.
The region’s economies perform well in the areas of getting credit, getting electricity, and dealing with construction permits. Connecting a newly built warehouse to the electrical grid takes 63 days in the region, almost 12 days fewer than the average among OECD high-income economies. Likewise, getting a construction permit in the region takes 20 days fewer than among OECD high-income economies.
At the same time, the region still underperforms in several areas, such as contract enforcement, where there is need for more widespread adoption of international best practices including alternative dispute resolution systems and the creation of specialized commercial courts.
Resolving a commercial dispute through a local first-instance court costs on average 47.2% of the claim value, more than twice the average of 21.5% among OECD high-income economies.
Shrimp exports to EU suffer steep decline
Vietnam exported US$2.4 billion worth of shrimp during the first nine months of the year, down 7 per cent against the same period last year, whilst shrimp exports to the EU dipped 20.8 per cent, according to statistics released by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers.
This steep drop is attributable to the falling price of raw shrimp, coupled with factors such as high inventories in various markets and the rise in the supply source of shrimp from other countries, resulting in low prices of imported shrimp in markets compared to last year.
In September, shrimp exports to the EU have dropped sharply by 23 per cent to more than US$61 million against last year’s corresponding period.
The UK, the Netherlands, and Germany also faced declines of 37 per cent, 32 per cent, and 9 per cent, respectively.
Throughout the reviewed period, shrimp exports to the EU reached US$513.4 million, down 20.8 per cent on-year. The average import price at these markets has plummeted by US$1 per kilo in comparison to last year.
The EU accounts for approximately 31 per cent of the world’s shrimp imports and holds 21 per cent of the nation’s shrimp exports. If Vietnam can tap into the advantages of the preferential tariffs presented from the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and apply the rules of origin, then the country’s shrimp exports to the EU will likely grow since 2020.
Elsewhere, shrimp exports to the United States enjoyed a 1 per cent rise to US$476.9 million against the same period last year, while exports to the Japanese market suffered a 1.9 per cent drop to only US$444.7 million during the nine-month period.
In the Chinese market, shrimp exports recorded positive signs of growth with a 7.2 per cent increase, touching US$382.3 million during the reviewed period.
Cancel contracts with 20 foreigners, Nha Trang property developer told
Central Khanh Hoa Province has ordered a real estate developer to terminate 20 contracts selling apartments to foreigners, saying the sale was unauthorized.
The cancellation order was issued Thursday by the provincial construction department to real estate company Cat Tiger Khareal, developer of the 40-storey Napoleon Castle apartment complex in the province’s Nha Trang Town.
The company, which is also based in Nha Trang, had not obtained the local government’s permission to allow foreign ownership in the project, the department said.
The real estate developer has been directed to report cancellation of the contracts to the department next month. The department will consult relevant agencies to assess if the project is part of a “national security area” where foreign ownership is not allowed.
Napoleon Castle will have 1,000 apartments on an area of 3,000 square meters, located 550 meters away from the Nha Trang coastline.
Although the project is still undergoing construction, the investor has handed over 200 apartments to residents, which violates safety regulations. The company has been fined VND55 million ($2,375) for the violation.
Vietnam allows foreigners to buy property, except land and not more than 30 percent of a residential quarters or apartment project. However no foreigner is allowed to own property in areas deemed vital to national security.
Vietnam enjoys surge in export of gems and precious metals
Vietnam’s export of gems and precious metals reached US$320 million in September, bringing the total export value during the nine-month period to US$1.88 billion, representing an annual increase of 442.7 per cent.
These statistics were revealed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The United States was the largest buyer of Vietnamese gems and precious metals, recording turnover of US$305.89 million, a rise of 8.77 per cent on-year.
The US were followed by Japan as the second largest market, with an import value of US$43.69 million. Hong Kong (China) holds the country’s third largest importer of gems and precious metals, purchasing a total of US$41.85 million, up 66.32 per cent from last year’s figure.
Most notably, exports of gems and precious metals to the UAE enjoyed a steep rise of 206.13 per cent to US$8.42 million.
EVN warns over water shortage at power plants
The Electricity Group is seeking for more energy sources as hydropower plants are facing water shortages.
According to EVN, the water levels at many reservoirs were still much lower than in previous years. By the end of October, the total amount of water in all of their reservoirs was 19.67 billion cubic metres, 7.67 billion cubic metres lower than the same period last year. This amount equal to a loss of 2 billion kWh of electricity.
In early 2019, hydropower plants only produced 51.98 billion kWh, 18.3% lower than last year.
Thermal power plants worked at high capacity in the first nine months of 2019 to meet market demands but there are also problems with coal supply.
Hoa Binh is one of the largest reservoirs in Vietnam but this year, the water level is 10 metres lower than in previous years.
Nguyen Van Minh, director of Hoa Binh Hydropower Company, said the amount of water they received during the flood season was at its lowest for 30 years. As of October 22, the water level at Hoa Binh Reservoir was 106.7 metres. The company’s electricity output will not meet the goal of 9.575 billion kWh set at the start of the year.
The output in 20 days of October was 13.2 billion kWh but EVN said they had to buy 178 million kWh of oil-generated electricity. The price was VND5,000 (22 US cents) per kWh so the last three months of 2019 will be a huge challenge to the group’s financial management.
Capital city hosts Vietfood & Beverage – Propack 2019
Covering a total area of 4,500sq.m, the upcoming expo will showcase agro-forestry-fisheries products, processed foods, nutritional food, supplements, food additives, beverages and pharmaceutical ingredients.
It will also display food processing machinery, packaging and preservation machines into 250 booths, the Viet Nam National Trade Fair & Advertising Co (Vinexad) – the event’s organiser said in a statement.
Business matching events and a VIP Buyer programme which aims to help exhibitors meet potential buyers will be also held, Vinexad said.
The exhibition will take place at the Ha Noi International Exhibition Centre and run from November 6-9. It is expected to welcome 15,000 visitors.
A similar event, held in HCM City on August, lured 550 enterprises from 20 countries and territories with about 650 booths.
According to a report by the market research firm Euromonitor, Viet Nam’s food and beverage industry is attracting foreign investors as the country holds numerous advantages like a stable political system, a young population, abundant raw materials, and a dynamic consumption market.
VinFast cars get five-star safety rating
Its small car Fadil received a four-star rating, a high level for that segment, the company said.
The Lux SA2.0 scored 84.46 points out of 100 and the Lux A2.0, 88.15.
In the adult occupant protection category, the former scored 46.45 out of 50 points thanks to its four airbags and head protection technology.
All vehicles also rated highly in the child occupant protection category, with the test for children aged 18 months to three years in rear seats scoring full points.
They also scored high for safety assist technologies thanks to electronic stability control and supplemental restraint system for rear seats.
The three cars are now on display at the Vietnam Motor Show 2019 at HCM City’s Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre.
At its booth, VinFast is also offering visitors some fun experiences. They can go on a tour of the company’s plant in Hai Phong through virtual reality technology, learn about components and technologies using the X-ray scan technology and experience the F1 Viet Nam racing track on the unique simulator racing game.
VinFast is offering promotions to buyers including a vacation at Vinpearl Nha Trang or Vinpearl Phu Quoc for five people and three years of free parking at all Vincom trade centres and Vinhomes across the entire country.
VinFast is a subsidiary of Vingroup, the largest private company in the country.
FE Credit kicks off fintech startup accelerator program
Vietnamese lender FE Credit announced investment opportunities for fintech startups in Vietnam and globally through the launch of FE Xcelerate, an enterprise accelerator program, on October 22.
With cooperation from Medici, a multinational company that acts as a bridge between startups and investors, the accelerator program aims to support and mentor both domestic and foreign fintech (financial technology) startups and provide them with the opportunity to co-create business solutions that can be scaled into commercial products.
Vietnam ranks second in Southeast Asia in terms of the development of its startup ecosystem, according to Ernst & Young’s latest research. A survey on financial sector technology conducted by the Vietnam National University – Ho Chi Minh (VNUHCM-IBT) found that more than 154 companies are operating in the fintech field in Vietnam and 70 per cent of them have raised funds from investors in developed countries such as the US, the UK, France, and Japan. A record $117 million was raised in 2018; the most investment in Vietnamese startups to date.
Vietnam provides the necessary infrastructure for fintech services, even in remote areas, due to having one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in Southeast Asia. With the majority of the population being young (between 18 and 35) and its significant exposure to the outside world, the foundation for growth in the local fintech industry is solid.
“Our mission is to provide the best platform for startups and assist them with extensive guidance on moving from concept-to-product-to-market,” said Mr. Basker Rangachari, CMO of FE Credit. “With this, they can have enough resources to develop their technologies and turn them into viable commercial solutions for the financial sector in the most comprehensive way. Startups will also have an opportunity to quickly expand their business by offering their solutions to FE Credit’s large and diverse customer base.”
“We would be delighted to have all fintech startups in Vietnam participate in the program. They should not miss this unique opportunity to become an integral partner in this accelerator program. The program offers the opportunity to work with FE Credit’s experienced leaders and expert teams and develop innovative technological products with our guidance and support.”
Early-stage or mature startups with disruptive solutions for a pre-defined need can apply for the program. Startups must have been “operational” for at least one year and the deadline for applications is November 27.
The Top 20-25 shortlisted startups will be invited to “pitch” in the second week of December, where they can showcase their product in front of a panel of judges.
Those shortlisted on pitch day will get the opportunity to work closely with FE Credit for 12 weeks as a part of their accelerator program. Startups can take advantage of continued engagement with industry experts and global investors, via one-on-one interactions, for the entire duration of the program.
Bao Viet Insurance launches smart insurance products
Bao Viet Insurance launched its new Travel and E-cargo Insurance Policy products developed on the digital platform on October 23 in Hanoi.
Through online software, customers can buy, register, manage, and follow their insurance policies. Claims are also easier and faster, as all procedures can be carried on the new platform.
The Travel Insurance product helps customers enjoy a safe trip and be covered from risks such as flight delays, passport loss, or sickness. The process of purchasing, monitoring, and managing the insurance is quick, flexible, and safe.
For the Flight Easy Insurance product, customers immediately receive compensation when receiving notifications from the system and submitting information into the online system to complete the process.
Another new product in Travel Insurance is Gadget Easy for electronic devices, which helps customers not be concerned about their devices while traveling. They can quickly receive compensation to repair any damaged devices.
The E-cargo Policy for goods freight meets demand for businesses on the 4.0 technology platform. Freight transport is an essential stage in the production and business process. Loss or damage to goods during transportation is inevitable, and in many cases can seriously affect the company. With comprehensive cargo insurance solutions, Bao Viet Insurance has for many years provided financial security for businesses against risks in the process of transporting commercial goods. Customers can now actively prepare, print, and issue applications and manage contracts through a secure online system in three simple steps. Along with reducing cumbersome administrative procedures, insurance certificates are issued anytime, anywhere through online software with flexible coverage, meeting the requirements of each shipment.
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