Danang aims to attract Russian tourists
The central coastal city of Danang is striving to lure more Russian and European tourists in a bid to diversify international visitors, but it is facing some difficulties with weather conditions and air routes, which should be addressed to meet the target.
The leader of the Danang government, who is on a visit to Europe, is working with Russian travel firm ANEX Tour in Moscow City to discuss a plan on tourism promotion. The tour is scheduled to conclude on August 21.
Tourism experts noted that it is necessary to increase the number of Russian and European visitors to Danang City to diversify tourist sources, adding that certain factors, such as weather, may affect these efforts.
Russian tourists tend to travel to Danang City between October and February to avoid freezing weather in their country, but unfortunately, this is also the storm season in the city.
According to Nguyen Duc Quynh, deputy general director of Furama Resort Danang, many tour operators had earlier tried arranging tours for Russian tourists to Danang City on chartered flights. “But the city was facing bad weather at the time,” Quynh said, adding that the number of international tourists, mainly Russians, to the city has fallen due to bad weather.
Discussing the weather problem in Danang City, Nguyen Nhu Nam, general director of Vietnam TravelMart, said that the storm season in the city does not last as long as it used to, so tour operators should consider arranging tours for Russian tourists.
“Although the sea water is quite cold in the rainy season, the Russian tourists will find it comfortable,” Nam remarked.
Tran Luc, deputy director of Saigontourist’s Danang branch, proposed opening direct air routes connecting the city with Russia to increase the number of Russian tourists during the peak travel season or even in the off season. Currently, there are direct air routes from Asian countries to Danang City.
“As few Russian tourists travel in the off season, the city should offer incentive programs to encourage them to visit Danang City,” Luc said.
“Danang City should present solutions to attract international tourists from other potential markets, such as India and Australia,” noted Nguyen Ngoc Anh, director of Omega Tours.
Data from the General Statistics Office of Vietnam shows that the number of international tourists to Vietnam reached eight million in the first six months of this year, up by 27.2% year-on-year. Of this, the number of European visitors accounted for 1.1 million, rising by 11% year-on-year, with 350,000 Russian travelers.
Danang City has attracted international tourists from 13 major source markets – the Republic of Korea, China, Japan, the United States, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore, France and Hong Kong. Statistics indicate that the city welcomed 1.6 million foreign tourists during the first half of 2018, double the number in the same period last year.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 launched in VN
Samsung on Tuesday launched the Galaxy Note 9 in the Vietnamese market.
Available in two versions, 128GB and 512GB ROM, they are priced at VND22.99 million (US$1,008) and VND28.49 million ($1,249).
The phones would be sold starting on August 24 with free upgrades from the 128GB version to the 512GB version offered to the first buyers on the opening day, the company said.
This promotion will be available in HCM City, Ha Noi, Da Nang, Can Tho, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Binh Duong, and Kien Giang.
Samsung said customers can pre-order the phone from August 15 to get a free kit worth VND5 million containing a Dex HDMI cable, leather cover and wireless charger.
The Note 9 was launched globally on August 8, and comes with many new functions.
It has a stylus the company calls the S Pen, which offers users many functions including connecting with the camera.
Samsung said developers can even integrate the S Pen’s new, advanced bluetooth low-energy functionalities into their apps later this year.
The phone has a 4,000mAh battery, the largest ever on a flagship Galaxy phone.
On the same day Samsung Vina Electronics introduced the Samsung Pay Card, which offers free money transfer starting in September.
Samsung has tied up with Shinhan Bank for this new service, and transfers from accounts at the bank can be done for free.
Samsung Pay launched last year and now has 430,000 users.
It is installed in most Samsung phones.
Deputy PM takes measure to prevent pork speculation on local market
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has directed ministries, sectors and localities to take measures to stabilise the domestic pork market.
People’s committees of centrally-controlled provinces and cities have been tasked with coordinating State agencies to implement solutions to re-develop the production of pigs on a reasonable scale while preventing diseases.
The idea is to create favourable conditions for the industry and stop traders from holding on to supplies as they wait for higher prices.
The deputy PM has also directed the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) to coordinate relevant agencies to inspect and manage the local market. They would supervise activities of pork traders and major suppliers to reduce costs in circulation and retail distribution, leading to lower retail price of pork.
At the same time, the MoIT would coordinate State management agencies at borders to promote inspection and control of smuggling and trade frauds for pork, protecting consumers and farmers at home, reported the Nguoi lao dong (Labourer) newspaper.
According to the latest report by the MoIT’s Import-Export Department, in the first 10 days of August, the price of live pigs has soared on the domestic market. The price has reached VND57,000 per kilo in some provinces and cities in the North, which is the highest in many years and double that of the same period last year.
The Department of Livestock said that current pork supplies were down from the same period in 2017, but not by much. Pork output fell by 1.2 per cent in the first quarter compared to the same period last year, but recovered in the second quarter with a growth rate of about 0.4 per cent. Pork output is expected to increase by 1.5-2 per cent in the third and fourth quarters.
Chinese firms explore Mekong Delta for rice trade
A group of Chinese enterprises, led by the National Food Authority of China, is working with the business community in the Mekong Delta region, seeking opportunities in the rice trade.
The cooperation is expected to push up Vietnamese rice exports to the Chinese market.
Speaking at a meeting in Can Tho City on August 8, a representative of the group, Wang Zhi Xi, chairman of Guangdong-based Thai Luong Food Company in China, said the company specializes in food and that its products are sold in major supermarkets in Guangdong province.
“The company’s sales may reach up to 800 tons per day and an average of 300,000 tons per year,” he said.
Xi also expected to boost cooperation in the rice trade with Vietnamese firms due to the growing demand for rice in China.
According to Dao Viet Anh, commercial counselor of the Vietnamese Embassy in China, trade between Vietnam and China has expanded strongly in recent years.
Anh cited statistics from China Customs as saying as saying that in 2017, bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to some $121 billion, up by a staggering 23.4% year-on-year. “China has been Vietnam’s largest commercial partner in ASEAN for 14 consecutive years,” Anh added.
Statistics also show that China imported 3.99 million tons of rice in 2017, rising by 12.96% against 2016. Of this, Vietnamese rice amounted to 2.26 million tons, making up 56.72% of the total. China purchased 1.78 million tons of rice and cereals in the first six months of 2018, slipping by 2% year-on-year, with 850,000 tons of rice being imported from Vietnam.
A report released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development shows that the first seven months of this year saw Vietnamese rice exports amounting to 3.9 million tons, worth some US$2 billion, up by 12.2% in volume and a whopping 29.2% in value year-on-year.
Nguyen Minh Toai, director of the Can Tho Department of Industry and Trade, said Chinese firms have proactively entered the Mekong Delta region in Vietnam to research the region’s rice production, and its work with the rice business community proves that China’s demand for rice imports is rising sharply.
Can Tho City has only four enterprises that can meet the Chinese demand and that are permitted to directly export rice to the neighboring country, according to Toai, who added that the number of Vietnamese rice exporters was expected to increase over time.
However, Anh voiced concern over difficulties Vietnamese firms are likely to face in transporting rice to China in 2018 and the failure to maintain the momentum, even though China is a potential market, explaining that the country’s tax policies on rice imports were revised upward and came into force on July 1. He cited tough competition with other rice exporters as another challenge.
Anh suggested that the rice quality should be improved in line with the commitments on quarantine signed between the two countries, with the aim of strengthening rice exports to China.
Besides this, it is necessary to proactively find partners through trade activities and to build the national rice brand, Anh said. In addition to traditional forms of commerce, Anh noted ecommerce is popular and effective in China.
Vietnam to tighten tax management of online businesses
A draft law on tax management has added many regulations on ecommerce businesses that transact on Google and social media platforms, including building a database and launching e-taxation services such as e-tax declarations and e-invoices, heard attendees at a meeting held on August 7. The move is aimed at strictly monitoring online businesses, reported the local media.
The General Department of Taxation, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Vietnam Tax Consultants’ Association (VTCA) jointly organized the meeting to collect feedback on the draft Law on Tax Management.
The amendment to the law is set to deal with tax evasion by online account holders, as in a recent case in Quang Nam Province. An app developer, who had created an online game and received an astounding VND41 billion per month from Google, had reportedly not made any tax declarations or payments.
Addressing the meeting, Luu Duc Huy, head of the Tax Policy Department under the General Department of Taxation, proposed that the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) prepare periodic reports for tax agencies on big-ticket transactions related to ecommerce activities.
SBV has issued a circular, providing guidelines on payment methods, noting that transactions, for example, using Visa or MasterCard, must undergo inspection by the authorized agencies.Therefore, tax offices should leverage the given data from SBV to manage tax collection, stated Huy.
In addition, the draft law supplements the responsibilities of the relevant ministries and agencies in ecommerce tax administration, as the Ministry of Industry and Trade is only in charge of managing ecommerce websites using domain names ending “.vn.”
Notably, many regulations were discussed to control payment activities. Commercial banks need to deduct the arising taxes of ecommerce transactions conducted by foreign organizations engaged in businesses in Vietnam. This is considered a legal foundation for the Ministry of Finance and SBV to further instruct commercial banks and other related individuals and organizations to execute the next steps.
As for large-scale household businesses, their transactions are usually conducted through banks or e-wallets, so tax agencies can team with banks and financial institutions to inspect their revenue, suggested VTCA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Cuc. Besides this, the financial institutions need to provide all the necessary information on these transactions to the tax offices.
However, it is reportedly difficult to manage the revenue of individuals and organizations running online businesses on Facebook as most customers pay in cash. To deal with these cases, the tax agencies can cooperate with the Ministry of Information and Communications and banks to track databases, even when they are deleted, as these agencies have the right and expertise to recover them for the purpose of tax inspections, Cuc added.
Under prevailing regulations, individuals earning an income of VND100 million or more must fulfill their tax obligations. Personal income tax is regulated by Circular No.92 issued by the Finance Ministry. Of this, the service sector is liable to pay value-added tax of 5% and corporate income tax of 2%.Those who earn income from foreign social media platforms are subject to tax payments of 7% of their income.
Rising greenback value raises alarm over capital outflow
The upward trend of the US dollar in most markets and the ongoing interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve (Fed) have raised concerns over capital outflows from emerging countries, including Vietnam.
At a workshop on the July-December economic forecast and impact of the US-China trade war, held on August 8 in Hanoi, Tran Toan Thang from the National Center for Socioeconomic Information and Forecast stated that the greenback is expected to pick up even further because of the bright economic outlook of the United States and countries that are depreciating their currencies.
In addition, the Fed may continue to raise interest rates by a combined 1.25 percentage points going into 2019.
The Chinese yuan has slid significantly against the greenback over the past few months as a result of the capital withdrawal tendency of foreign investors.
As explained by Pham Sy Thanh, director of the Chinese Economic Studies Program, the era of China’s cheap exports to the United States has ended. As such, the domestic currency depreciation to aid exports is no longer significant.
In addition, China’s balance of payments surplus in the year’s first half was some US$250 billion and foreign reserves dropped by US$30-50 billion. This means approximately US$300 billion has flowed out of China.
“This stems from investors’ concern that prolonged US-China trade tensions will affect their operations in China,” Thanh said.
Besides the rising trend of the greenback, the United States’ tax reform bill has also contributed to capital flows back to the United States.
Thang noted that corporate income tax in the United States, which is also imposed on profits generated overseas, has dropped sharply to 21%. This will make US firms operating in Vietnam reconsider their strategies and potentially return to their home country instead of expanding their business operations.
The tax cuts may result in some countries acting to keep US firms on their soil, affecting the competitiveness of Vietnam’s investment environment. This is evidenced by China’s decision to exempt US firms from paying taxes to prevent them from taking profits out of China.
According to Nguyen Xuan Thanh from Fulbright University Vietnam, Vietnam experienced a current account surplus in January-June, particularly in imports and exports, incoming remittances, capital disbursement in the foreign direct investment (FDI) sector and disbursement of indirect capital in the stock market.
Thanh stated that greenback shortages in the coming period are not concerning.
Sharing this view, Andreas Hauskrecht, a professor of Indiana University, noted that a large proportion of foreign capital in Vietnam comes from FDI activities, which is a stable, long-term source of capital.
Meanwhile, hot money from foreign indirect investment (FII) can easily find its way out. FII capital inflows have not been noticed in the year to date, but some US$600 million of FII capital has been sent out of Vietnam, according to Hauskrecht.
However, this amount is not significant and does not cause much pressure on the exchange rate, Hauskrecht said. Even with good FDI disbursement results, the Vietnamese dong may appreciate if the central bank does not buy foreign currencies, he added.
According to Thanh, in the medium and long run, if the trade war escalates, China’s FDI capital will flow to Vietnam to avoid the United States’ sanctions. Disbursements of FDI capital in Vietnam will then be positive, and the pressure on the exchange rate will be minimal.
Online bidding helps save 9% of cost: experts
The savings accrued in online bidding is up to 9%, which is quite high compared to 6% of the cost savings if the bidding was conducted through the normal procedures, experts have said.
Economists and experts gathered at the first Vietnam E-Government Procurement Forum, which opened in Hanoi, on August 8, by the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
This is the first forum to be held after six years since the launch of the Vietnam National E-Procurement System (VNEPS) to discuss measures for improvement of the management, technology and operational policies of the system in the future.
According to the National Online Bidding Centre, in the first seven months of 2018, nearly 9,000 packages applied for online bidding, reaching a size of approximately VND20 trillion and the figure for the whole year is expected to reach roughly 15,000 packages.
During the six years of VNEPS implementation, a total of 23,000 bidding packages have been made online. The rate of online bidding also increased from 5% in 2016 to 11% in 2017 and 18% in the first half of this year.
Experts argued that the Vietnam e-government procurement system, the core platform through which the entire process from publishing the plan for contractor selection, sending bidding invitations, receiving bids and announcing the winners, helps to promote openness, transparency, competition, fairness and economic efficiency in the bidding.
In particular, online bidding can reduce negative behaviours such as cheating or interruptions occurring during the process. When participating in online bidding, information on the number and identity of bidders shall be kept confidential before the bid opening.
According to the online bidding schedule stipulated in Decision No. 1402/QÐ-TTg dated July 13, 2016 by the Prime Minister, by 2025, 100% of the bidding information must be publicly posted on the system; 100% of procurement activities must be conducted through online bidding and at least 70% of tender packages within the scope of the procurement law must be implemented on the national bidding network.
This is a difficult target to accomplish without the joint efforts from the ministries, sectors and localities concerned, as well as strong administrative measures. Until now, out of the 119 agencies and units that have to conduct online bidding, there are still 41 that have not implemented any package yet.
Vietnam M&A Forum 2018 award winners for 2017-2018 and the decade
The 10th Vietnam M&A Forum today unveiled the winners of the best deals and advisory firms in 2017-2018 and the decade between 2009 and 2018.
Since the inception of Vietnam M&A Forum in 2009, the annual awards has grown into one of the most prestigious platforms to celebrate excellence in deal making and the performance of industry advisors in an effort to encourage more M&A deals with even higher values.
For the first time in its 10-year history, Vietnam M&A Forum 2018 announced the top ten M&A deals of the decade from the list of the 100 largest M&A deals, the top ten firms with the best M&A strategy, as well as the best advisors of the decade.
Le Trong Minh, editor-in-chief of Vietnam Investment Review and head of the Organising Board, said that M&A has become a powerful tool to lead capital flows from low-efficiency sectors to more profitable fields during the past 10 years.
Between 2009 and 2018, the total deal value reached $48.8 billion, with thousands of transactions. In 2017 alone, the value of M&A deals stood at $10.2 billion, setting up a new record.
“The Organising Board hopes that the awards will prompt companies to be more active in their M&A strategies, while advisory firms will come up with further diverse means of supporting equitisation activities in particular and M&A activities in general,” he said.
The following list of the best deals and advisory firms will provide businesses and investors with a summary of the M&A activities that took place in Vietnam, including their quality and quantity.
THE BEST M&A DEALS AND ADVISORY FIRMS IN 2017-2018
The Best Acquisition Deal: ThaiBev and Sabeco
ThaiBev bought 53.59 per cent of Vietnam’s leading brewer Sabeco. The deal is valued at nearly $5 billion and was the largest M&A deal in 2017, as well as the largest deal ever in Vietnam’s history.
The Best Investment and Private Equity Deal in 2017-2018: GIC Private Limited and Vinhomes
In April 2018, Vinhomes signed a partnership agreement with Singapore’s sovereign investment fund GIC. GIC invested $1.3 billion into Vinhomes, owning shares and other debt-like instruments.
The Best IPO in 2017-2018: Vinhomes
Vinhomes raised $2 billion from its historic IPO in 2018. This was the largest IPO in recent years in Vietnam.
The Deal with the Best Information Disclosure in 2017-2018: Sojitz and Saigon Paper
Both the buyer and the seller provided transparent details online, as well as providing private letters to customers and partners.
The Best M&A Advisory Firms in 2017-2018:
The Best Securities Firms for M&A advisory: Viet Capital Securities, Bao Viet Securities
The Best Securities Firm for IPO and Private Placement: Saigon Securities Incorporation
The Best M&A Advisor: KPMG Vietnam
The Best M&A Law Firm: Allen & Overy
THE BEST M&A DEALS OF THE DECADE (2009-2018)
ThaiBev and Sabeco: ThaiBev acquired 53 per cent of Saigon Beverage Company valued at $4.8 billion. This was the biggest M&A in the history of Vietnam. The deal played a key role in developing and helping the Vietnamese M&A market exceed the $10 billion milestone in 2017.
GIC and Vinhomes: At the end of April 2018, Vinhomes and another Vingroup subsidiary signed agreements with Singaporean investment fund GIC Private Limited. Accordingly, GIC invested a total of $1.3 billion into Vinhomes by acquiring stakes and extend a debt-like instrument for Vinhomes to implement its projects.
Central Group and Big C: in 2016, Central Group from Thailand has overcome heavy competition to successfully acquire Big C Vietnam for more than $1 billion. This deal reaffirmed Central Group’s ambition in the Vietnamese retail market.
TCC Holdings and Metro Vietnam Cash & Carry: Also in 2016, Metro Cash & Carry Group announced transferring the Metro Cash & Carry supermarket chain in Vietnam to TCC Holdings from Thailand.
Singha and Masan: In 2015, Masan singed a strategic cooperation contract with Thailand’s Singha with the value of more than $1.1 billion, including new investment capital which permits Singha to own 25 per cent of Masan Consumer Holdings and 33.3 per cent of Masan Brewery.
Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFG and Vietinbank: In December 2012, Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank) announced that it had raised $743 million from a 20 per cent strategic stake sale to Bank of Tokyo-Mitubishi UFJ. This was the biggest M&A deal so far in the Vietnamese banking sector.
Mondelez and Kinh Do: To realise its goal of expanding to multiple sectors, KIDO Group decided to fully transfer its entire stake in its confectionary arm to foreign investor Modelez International for $380 million and used this sum to re-invest in new acquisition deals.
Mizuho and Vietcombank: In September 2011, Vietcombank, the nation’s largest listed bank by market value, has completed its four-year search for a strategic foreign investor by clinching a deal to sell a 15 per cent stake for $562 million to Japan’s Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd. Notably, Mizuho is not only the first partner of Vietcombank, but also the only foreign strategic partner of the bank.
F&N and SCIC’s holdings at Vinamilk: In December 2016, through the auction of Vinamilk’s stake held by SCIC, two subsidiaries of Singapore’s Fraser & Neave acquired 5.4 per cent valued at $500 million, increasing its ownership to 16.35 per cent.
Merging Vinpearl and Vincom to become Vingroup: in October 2010, the Management Board of Vinpearl and Vincom merged to centre their resources in Vingroup, Vietnam’s leading economic group today.
COMPANIES WITH THE BEST M&A STRATEGY OF THE DECADE
Vingroup: Creating breakthrough growth from the merger of Vinpearl and Vincom, then the group has attracted large capital investments in Vinhomes and VinRetail. It was also active in the deal of Vinfast acquiring GM Vietnam
Masan: Pioneering M&A in Vietnam with big deals to form one of the biggest multi-field business groups with a hand in finance, minerals, consumer goods, and agriculture
ThaiBev: Drawing up an M&A strategy to expand to Southeast Asia via acquiring the leading beer manufacturer in Vietnam
KIDO Group: Exemplary M&A deals, such as the acquisition of Walls, the merger of affiliates, transferring its confectionery arm to Mondelez International, and the acquisition of plant oil manufacturers to become today’s KIDO Group
TTC: Running a successful M&A strategy in the sugar sector, including the acquisition of Bourbon Tay Ninh Sugar Company, HAGL, the merger of Tay Ninh Sugar and Bien Hoa Sugar, and becoming a leading corporation in the sugar industry.
PAN Group: Forming the leading food and agricultural group thanks to the acquisition of leading companies in the industry like Bibica, NSC, SSC, and Fimex
SCG: Acquiring materials, cement, and chemicals companies in Vietnam to become a leading construction materials manufacturer in Vietnam and the region
FPT: Implementing a gradual M&A strategy via a range of activities such as merging three member companies, transferring its holding in FPT Trading, acquiring a software company in Slovakia, and acquiring Intellinet from the US for $30 million
Vinamilk: Implementing an M&A strategy to support its main industry activities. Successful M&A deals include the acquisition of Khanh Hoa Sugar Company, as well as raw materials and milk processing companies in New Zealand and the US
HDBank: Implementing M&A deals in the banking industry as well as acquiring finance companies and selling shares to Saison Group to become Credit Saison, merging with PGBank
THE BEST M&A ADVISORY FIRMS OF THE DECADE
Viet Capital Securities—M&A Security Advisor of the Decade: provided M&A consultancy to various firms, especially acquisition deals in 2009-2018
Bao Viet Securities JSC—M&A Security Advisor of the Decade: one of the first securities companies in Vietnam which has the longest history in consulting equitisation, divestment, and M&A deal
Baker & McKenzie—M&A Law Firm of the Decade: an international law firm that has been operating in Vietnam for 25 years. The company is categorised as a first tier law firm by IFLR
Vilaf—M&A Law Firm of the Decade: a Vietnamese law firm that has flourished over the years. The company is ranked as a first tier law firm by IFLR
KPMG—M&A Advisor of the Decade: As an international accounting and auditing firm, KPMG has conducted a number of M&A deals to help foreign investors approach the Vietnamese market
Deloitte Vietnam—M&A Advisor of the Decade: Being an international auditing and advisory firm, Deloitte has supported many M&A transactions in the Vietnamese market through financial review and financial advisory
Recof—The organisation that has done many efforts for pushing M&A activities between Vietnam and Japan: Over the past 10 years, Recof has made tireless efforts to promote M&A activities between Vietnam and Japan. The company has been supporting Japanese investors to find business and investment opportunities in Vietnam.
Building brand name for Vietnam’s coffee
Vietnam is one of the largest coffee producers in the world, earning more than 3 billion USD from the export of coffee bean each year, but the country mainly sells beans as material with low added value.
Director of the Rural Development Centre Dao Duc Huan has discussed with the Vietnam News Agency the building of brand name for Vietnamese coffee.
Huan said Vietnam should base its approach to brand building on its advantages and long-term vision. For example, it can exploit the advantage of specialty coffee growing areas such as Buon Ma Thuot or Son La to establish brand names in connection with geographic indication (GI).
At the same time, the brand building work should go in the direction of high-quality product, based on connections among cultivation-processing and the market.
According to the official, several ministries and local administrations have adopted policies and measures to establish brand names for specialty coffee through GI protection. At present, Vietnam has had two coffee products with GI, which are Buon Ma Thuot and Son La coffee.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has approved a framework national project on developing high-quality coffee. The project aims to develop a coffee industry from farming to processing. It will encourage the use of new coffee varieties and advanced farming and post-harvest techniques, mechanization and reorganization of production for higher productivity, better product quality, and climate change resilience.
Huan noted that brand building work is facing many difficulties in the context of the small scale and limited capacity of the local coffee industry.
He cited the lesson of the northern province of Son La in the field. The province has sought GI and origin protection for all local coffee products from raw beans to roasted and powdered coffee. The protection has provided a firm foundation for businesses to gain a foothold in the domestic market and increase exports.
Son La has been able to connect processors and growers in the coffee production chain, which facilitate the establishment of stable material growing zones and the application of quality-control standards such as 4C, UTZ in cultivation.
As a result, Son La coffee, though new to the domestic market, has received good response from the market, according to Huan.
Lam Dong province develops agritourism
A site selling local farm produce in Lam Dong (Photo: Vietnam Agriculture)
The Central Highlands province of Lam Dong is home to 35 agrotourism sites, a figure expected to rapidly increase in the years to come.
Visitors can experience various activities in the local farms.
For example, the Long Dinh Joint Stock Company in Lam Ha district welcomes 80-100 tourists per day to its organic tea farm, with 700 coming on some holidays.
Meanwhile, DL Nature farm tourism complex in Da Lat city provides visitors with services to explore local fruit and vegetable gardens, stores selling Da Lat specialties and cafes. Each day, it serves 150-200 visitors.
Kien Huy farm tourism company in Lac Duong district offers super fruits and vegetables grown using high technology.
Cau Dat company in Da Lat city allows sightseers to visit its 220 hectares of tea, a more than 100-year tea processing plant and a vegetable garden applying smart technology. Annually, the company serves more than 400,000 tourists.
Vinh Tien company in Da Lat city spent 23 billion VND (979,374 USD) building an artichoke tea processing and wine plant. It welcomes 400-500 visitors each day.
Da Lat vegetable hydroponic company is leading the country in the number of visitors and revenue in this type of tourism.
Its agritourism site covers 11 hectares with a hydroponic vegetable production area, a flower growing area, a super fruit growing area, a restaurant, and a showroom offering Da Lat specialties.
Total investment for this site was about 160 billion VND (6.8 million USD). It welcomes 3,000 tourists and earns about 90 million VND in revenue each day.
Agritourism has been developed in multiple countries from the 1980s.
Nations such as Sweden, Denmark, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Thailand, the UK, France, Germany, Austria and Italy have been encouraging the tourism model.
Many localities in Vietnam have advantages to develop agrotourism such as Hoi An city (Quang Nam province) and Tinh Bien district (An Giang province).
The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho and Vinh Long, Tien Giang and Ben Tre provinces along with Tan Phu (Dong Nai), Sa Pa (Lao Cai), Ba Vi (Hanoi), Hoc Mon and Binh Chanh (Ho Chi Minh City) have great potential to develop farm tourism, especially garden tourism.
For Lam Dong province, the tourism industry is a driving force to boost the local economy.
Lam Dong is the most popular destination in the Central Highlands, attracting 78.34 percent of total visitors to the region, according to the Steering Committee for the Central Highland Region.
It is home to the city of Da Lat, which has the typical natural and cultural features of the Central Highlands. The city, nestled at 1,500 metres above sea level, is quiet and pretty all year with mild climate and temperatures varying between 15 and 24 degree Celsius.
Lam Dong is also among the hi-tech agricultural production leaders nationwide, and it has been piloting agro-tourism villages, aiming to draw more domestic and international tourists to the province.
The province has about 1,300 accommodation establishments, 100 tourist attractions and 58 travel agencies, as well as thousands of collectives and individuals offering tourism services.
Besides agritourism, the province holds potential to develop other forms of tourisms such as resort tourism, sightseeing tourism, ecological tourism, cultural and historical tourism and spiritual tourism.
Bac Giang works to improve investment attraction
The northern province of Bac Giang will continue taking measures to improve the efficiency of investment attraction and better its business climate, according to Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Linh.
The province will issue policies to lure investment in several local tourist sites during 2017-2020, he said.
Departments and People’s Committees of Bac Giang city and districts should review land lots and actively make a list of locations with trade advantages for biddings to select investors in line with the Bidding Law, he added.
The province will increase inspection and review of projects which have got investment licences so as to remove difficulties for investors while urgently detecting and handling violations and revoking projects with low investment.
The provincial leader stated that to improve the efficiency of investment attraction and develop production and business activities, the People’s Committees of Bac Giang city and districts need to focus on site clearance compensation to speed up transport, urban and industrial zone infrastructure projects.
According to the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, Bac Giang has so far this year licensed 79 domestic investment projects with total registered capital of over 1 trillion VND (45.8 million USD) and 42 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects valued at 127 million USD. It also allowed 32 FDI projects to add nearly 314 million USD in capital.
The province is now home to 1,448 valid projects, including 1,088 domestic projects worth 79.4 trillion VND (3.45 billion USD) and 358 foreign-invested projects with total registered capital of over 4.18 billion USD.
Contest seeks startup initiatives in high-tech agriculture
An annual contest for innovative start-ups and projects in agriculture using hi-technology announced at a press conference in HCM City on August 15
An annual contest on innovation in agricultural production with high-tech for startups and innovative projects has been announced by the Centre for Business Incubation of Agricultural High Technology in Ho Chi Minh City (AHBI).
The contest, held for the first time last year, seeks to attract innovative ideas and projects that offer solutions to problems related to the economy and environment and work towards smart agriculture.
Individuals or groups of young people, lecturers and students from universities and colleges in Ho Chi Minh City and surrounding provinces like Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Tay Ninh, Long An, Ben Tre, Hau Giang and Dong Thap, and Can Tho city are eligible for the contest.
The contest features startup projects and initiatives on farming without soil in net houses, biotech for agriculture, plant selection, bio products for agriculture, processing and preserving farm produce, cultivation, flowers, bonsai trees and ornamental fish.
Nguyen Hai An, Director of the AHBI, said the contest encourages projects using advanced technologies applied in or renovated to suit conditions in Vietnam. The organising board will support initiatives with a view to turning them into commercial products, thus forming startups in agriculture applying high technology.
According to An, the organising board will support projects in activities such as training, building business plans, intellectual property, and field trips to some successful startup models.
The contest will be held in three rounds, and the final round is slated for October 12 with a grand prize of 30 million VND (1,293 USD).
Winners can also receive funding from investors and mentorship to commercialise their start-up ideas.
Last year there were 50 contestants.
This year the contest has received 30 applications so far, and the closing date is September 5.
Vietnam automaker THACO to invest US$1 billion in Hoang Anh Gia Lai
Truong Hai Auto Corporation (THACO) – one of the leading car manufacturers in Vietnam is expected to invest nearly US$1 billion in conglomerate Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group (HAGL), announced the latter on its website.
“The partnership between HAGL and THACO will create a new ecosystem for Vietnamese enterprises under the platform of applying technologies into corporate governance and production,” said Tran Ba Duong, chairman of THACO at the announcement on August 8.
Under the agreement signed on August 3, THACO is set to invest in two subsidiaries of HAGL, including HAGL Agricultural Company ( HAGL Agrico) and property developer HAGL Myanmar Center.
For HAGL Agrico, THACO is expected to spend VND3.8 trillion (US$163.5 million) buying convertible bonds in return for a 35% stake in the company.
Dai Quang Minh Real Estate Investment, a unit of THACO, will acquire a 51% stake in HAGL Myanmar Center, with a view of increasing the holding to 65% for a total investment capital of VND4 trillion (US$172.1 million).
Additionally, THACO will be responsible for restructuring HAGL Agrico with an additional investment capital of VND12 trillion (US$516.3 million).
THACO, through Dai Quang Minh, is expected to take over the second phase of the investment project HAGL Mynamar with investment capital of US$320 million and complete the project by 2020.
At the event, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc considered the partnership between THACO and HAGL as “a match made in heaven”, as both are Vietnam’s leading companies in industrial and agricultural sectors, repsectively.
The move is significant, especially when Vietnam is stepping up efforts to industrialize and modernize the agricultural sector, Phuc added.
THACO with its financial capabilities, expertise and technology will be vital for HAGL facilitating its agricultural projects in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, the prime minister said.
Shares of HAGL (coded HAG) jumped to the upper limit at 7,430 dong (US$0.31) each right after the open on August 9, with investors queuing to buy 10 million shares.