A considerable majority of respondents, 75 per cent, desired State intervention to stabilise prices of essential goods, up 7 per cent from 2011. — Photo phunuonline
HA NOI (VNS) — Vietnamese citizens were pegging hopes on a faster transition into a full-fledged market economy, a majority saying that they vigorously supported the country's market economy model in a survey published yesterday.
The Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the World Bank Group's report, Changing Attitudes toward Market and State 2014, found that 89 per cent of 1,600 participants said they strongly support the market economy model in Viet Nam, 71 per cent support private ownership and 94 per cent want transparency in policymaking and enforcement.
The strong support for the economic transition left 36 per cent of respondents feeling that the economic transition over the past five years wasn't fast enough, 29 per cent, however, felt that it was rapid.
The survey revealed that a modest 19 per cent said they were satisfied with the country's current economic situation, indicating that greater efforts are required to hasten economic reforms. Though, low approval rates are to be expected in times of major transitions.
A considerable majority of respondents, 75 per cent, desired State intervention to stabilise prices of essential goods, up 7 per cent from 2011.
In regards to several public services, however, 99 per cent agreed that the State should allow the private sector to provide public services such as health, education, notary and public transport.
According to Nguyen Dinh Cung, director of the Central Institution for Economic Management (CIEM), Viet Nam should hasten institutional reforms in order to push forward the transition into a full-fledged market economy.
VCCI Director Vu Tien Loc expects the survey's results will serve as a base for policymakers to drive the national economy in the right direction and improve Vietnamese citizens' living conditions.
He added that the survey was merely a reflection of a diverse array of groups, including the business community's feelings and perceptions of the country's transition towards a market economy. — VNS
British billionaire Sir Richard Branson, a universal symbol of entrepreneurship, will be in Ho Chi Minh City on September 12 to deliver a keynote speech at a workshop and share his philosophy towards living life creatively.
Branson, a man who may never have had a small idea, has lived his life pursuing audacious ventures and believes true audaciousness comes for those who have the pluck and the courage to say, "Screw it; let's do it."
Along with Branson, the two-day workshop is expected to attract a slew of wealthy magnates including Singaporean millionaire Adam Khoo, the US millionaire Kane Minkus, and Chinese Astrology expert Joey Yap.
Born on July 19, 1950, Richard Branson is an English investor, billionaire and businessman. World renowned as the owner of the Virgin Group that has more than 400 companies, Branson is most famous for his adventurous lifestyle.
With a net worth of about US$4.9 billion, he has been listed by Forbes as the seventh richest citizen in the UK.
“Screw It, Let’s Do It” is the title of an amazing book about his personal experience and tells the story of how he dealt with life’s adversities.
VietNamNet Bridge – Investors raced to win the title “the highest building in Vietnam” but these works have had a hard lot.
Bitexco Financial Tower in HCM City.
In 2010, Bitexco Financial Tower in HCM City was recognized as Vietnam's tallest tower. However, it was usurped by the 72-storey, 336m Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower. Keangnam Group spent about $1 billion to build the tower, to serve office, housing, and commercial centers.
Lotte Center Hanoi Tower is also noted for its huge investment. With 65 floors and a height of 267 meters, Lotte Center Hanoi is considered the second highest tower in Vietnam and the second tallest in the North.
About 7m shorter than Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower, the Lotte Center Hanoi’s construction cost was less. The Korean investors spent about $500 million on this work.
Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower is Vietnam's tallest tower, but this title has been given several times to other works.
Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower.
The first is the PVN tower. In 2011, the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) announced to build PVN Tower, the tallest building in Vietnam and the second highest in Asia. The building will be a complex of offices, apartments and shopping centers.
The project is expected to commence in early 2011 and be completed after 2.5 - 3 years. However, after four years this project has not been implemented. The estimated funding for this work is up to $1.2 billion.
The building was recently proposed to lower the height to 79 floors and cut investment cost to $600 million, with a new name and new investor.
Most recently, the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee granted an investment licence to the Empire City project worth $1.2 billion inside Thu Thiem urban zone.
Covering 14.5 hectares, the complex will include a trade centre, five-star hotel, office building, apartment building and underground parking lot. The highlight of the project will be an 86-storey skyscraper, developed to be an observatory tower and the tallest building of Vietnam.
Construction on the project is expected to begin within this year and be completed in 2022 through four phases.
Lotte Center Hanoi.
Most of the tallest towers in Vietnam have a hard lot, especially the Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower.
When the project was announced, an unprecedented bet worth VND100 billion ($5 million) was made, related to whether the investor can complete the project at the committed pace or not.
After that a series of incidents occurred. The public complained that the investor had sold around 40% of the apartments of the two 48-storey buildings when the construction of the basement just began. Worse, many workers died in accidents at work.
In 2011, the local media heated up with disputes between Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower management board and local residents on the service charges.
Besides, Keangnam Hanoi Landmark was also suspected of transfer pricing and tax evasion. Most recently, the parent company in Korea offered it for sale.
For Lotte Center Hanoi, not long after its inauguration, an elevator accident was reported. The customers threatened to boycott the shopping malls here because of discrimination.
Meanwhile, PVN Tower is still fallow after more than 4 years, after the change of the investor and lowering of the height.
Will the Empire City project will be implemented smoothly?
The revenue of local telecommunications firms grew in the first half of the year, to an estimated VND177.761 trillion ($8.15 billion), excluding Viettel’s business in foreign countries.
On July 17 the Ministry of Information and Communication held a preliminarily conference on State administration in the first half of the year and the direction for the second half, where the telecommunication firms presented their business results for the first six months.
According to Mr. Hoang Son, Deputy General Director of Viettel Corporation, its revenue in Vietnam in the first half was VND115 trillion ($5.27 billion), 26 per cent higher than in the first half of last year. Profit before tax was VND22.244 trillion ($1.02 billion) and State budget contributions were VND9.4 trillion ($430.8 million). It had 3.6 million new subscribers, of which 1.2 million were in its Vietnam operations.
Mr. Tran Manh Hung, General Director of VNPT, said total revenue in the first half represented 49.9 per cent the annual plan. Total profit was equal to 55.6 per cent of the annual plan and 30 per cent higher than in the same period last year. It had 1.3 million new subscribers.
For MobiFone, Mr. Le Nam Tra, Chairman of its Board of Management, reported that revenue and new subscribers increased by 7.85 per cent and 67.5, respectively compared to the first half of last year. Its value-added services, meanwhile, rose by 17 per cent.
Ms. Chu Thi Thanh Ha, Chairman of FPT’s Board of Directors, said its revenue for the first half was VND2.4 trillion ($110 billion), a 34 per cent increase year-on-year. Total profit was VND418 billion ($19.16 million), a mere 5 per cent increase due to its major investment in changing from copper cable to optical cable.
The figures are good news for the domestic telecommunications industry. In the first half telecommunications network infrastructure continued to develop and enterprises accelerated their network investment and service delivery, as promised.
VietNamNet Bridge - Da Nang Chairman Huynh Duc Tho has asked the branch of Coca-Cola Vietnam Beverages Ltd. to strictly implement regulations on environmental protection, reported Tuoi Tre Newspaper.
In his dispatch to the Da Nang branch of Coca-Cola Vietnam, Tho asked the branch to check and direct its divisions to seriously comply with legal provisions relating to environmental protection, its commitments in environmental records, a wastewater discharge permit and environmental treatment measures.
If the company does not comply, the city will strictly handle and withdraw the operation license of the firm in accordance with law, the document says.
According to Da Nang Chair, the city has received many complaints through the hotlines of the local People’s Council and his own email about the Da Nang Coca-Cola branch’s discharge of untreated wastewater to the environment, affecting the lives of local people.
Danang authorities have assigned the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, in coordination with the police and relevant units, to regularly check the implementation of environmental protection measures during operation by Coca-Cola Da Nang.
A man checks a receipt after withdrawing money from an automated teller machine in Ha Noi. Many banks currently collect several additional charges, which make card holders dissatisfied. — VNS Photo Truong Vi
HCM CITY (VNS) — Tran Anh Tuan of HCM City's Tan Binh District, who has a Dong A Bank ATM card, recently had to pay VND5,500 for making an internal funds transfer.
He said before July he did not have to pay for such a transaction.
Card holders accuse not only Dong A Bank but also many others of collecting several additional charges.
ATM card holders have to pay 20 kinds of fees on average, Nguoi Lao Dong (Labourer) newspaper reported, while some banks reportedly even collect 30 different fees.
Asia Commercial Bank, for instance, collects an annual fee besides fees for membership, duplicate statements, card replacement, and credit balance transfer.
Market observers said banks have to collect a fee for ATM card services since they are in business and need to make profits.
Besides, they have to inject large sums of money into setting up infrastructure and train personnel to provide ATM card services, they pointed out.
But they admitted that collecting so many kinds of fees as the banks are doing now is inadvisable, especially since the Government is seeking to encourage people to give up their habit of using cash and switch to cards.
SBV not amused
Faced with banks arbitrarily collecting ATM card fees, the State Bank of Viet Nam has stepped in, ordering banks to fully implement Circular 35/2012-NHNN that regulates fees.
The rationale for this circular which took effect on March 1, 2012, was to create a legal framework for the fees charged by banks for using cards, especially at ATMs.
Its goals include ensuring fee collection is in line with the law, harmonising the interests of customers and banks and ensuring proper fee levels so that banks have an incentive to continue investing in their services and improving their quality.
In its recent letter, the central bank reminded banks that they are only permitted to collect fees as regulated in the circular.
Banks' advertisements for cards need to carry their list of service charges as well as interest rates for card transactions, it said.
The SBV also instructed card issuers to resolve in time complaints and technical problems faced by card holders and reply to queries, and pay compensation as prescribed by law for losses caused to customers due to their fault.
Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the central bank's HCM City office, also revealed that the SBV is reviewing legal provisions related to the collection of fees from card holders to minimise them. — VNS
The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) took over Global Petrol Bank yesterday, after the bank failed to meet a deadline to have secured legal capital requirements.
As part of the take over, the SBV acquired all of the equity of the joint stock bank at a price of zero dong per share, converting it into a one-member limited company with a charter capital of more than VND3 trillion (US$142.86 million).
The Global Petrol Bank, or GP.Bank, has been listed among the nation's weaker lenders that need to be managed for three years, after a national plan was put in place to restructure the nation's banking system.
The bank has now been placed under special government supervision, following its inability to assure a minimum bank equity of VND3 trillion (US$138.24 million), as stipulated by the law.
GP.Bank held its third irregular shareholders meeting this year on July 2, in an effort to seek approval from shareholders for a charter capital supplement by July 4, following the order by the SBV.
The majority of shareholders, however, rejected the capital increase proposal of the bank's management board.
Further, SBV officials said the takeover would enable the central bank to become more active in restructuring GP.Bank, as well as assuring the security and stability of the nation's banking sector.
The acquisition terminated all statuses, including the rights and interests of existing shareholders in GP.Bank. But all legal rights and interests of existing depositors at the bank will be guaranteed, officials confirmed.
Major lender Viet Nam Bank for Industry and Trade, or VietinBank, is to take part in the management of GP.Bank.
Additionally, the former head of Vietinbank's supervisory board, Tran Thi Le Nga, was appointed chairwoman of GP.Bank's management board.
On July 2, audited financial reports revealed that GP.Bank suffered a cumulative loss of VND12.28 trillion ($584.76 million) and its ownership capital was some minus VND9.20 trillion ($438.10 million), as of early April.
Further, the bank's bad debt ratio was at a record high of 45.37 per cent, while its outstanding loans totalled only VND6.67 trillion ($317.62 million).
This year, the SBV also acquired Viet Nam Construction Bank and Ocean Bank due to violations of having a lack of required capital.
Clothes being produced at Hue Textile Garment Company at Phu Bai Industrial Zone in Thua Thien Hue Province. The province drew investments worth more than VND2.8 trillion (US$128.4 million) to its industrial zones during the past six months. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam
THUA THIEN-HUE (VNS) — The central province of Thua Thien-Hue drew invest-ments worth more than VND2.8 trillion (US$128.4 million) to industrial zones in the past six months.
This is equivalent to 112 per cent of the yearly target.
Industrial zones in the province have so far attracted 97 investment projects, including 23 foreign-invested projects, with total investment capital of over VND22 trillion ($1.01 billion).
The positive results can be attributed to the province's investment attraction activities, including the conferences to promote investments in industrial zones that was held at some southern localities in late May this year, with the participation of businesses, associations, and potential investors in HCM City, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
One of the key industrial zones is Phu Bai IZ, where Baosteel Can Making Hue Ltd. Co.'s plant with a capacity to produce 700 million steel cans per year was inaugurated recently. The 5.6-ha project has $74.8 million total capital. It is expected to be put into operation by April next year.
Businesses at industrial zones in the province have been operating effectively, creating a wide range of products in sectors such as food, cement, garments and textiles, as well as agro-forestry and fisheries processing.
In the first six months of this year, businesses at industrial zones recorded a total revenue of more than VND7.3 trillion ($334.8 million), a year-on-year increase of 31.4 per cent. Their export value reached more than $238 million, up 30 per cent. — VNS
The Korean Chamber of Business (Korcham) wants to build a large wholesale market to connect local producers with buyers in Seoul and other cities in northeast Asia, including Tokyo and Beijing.
A wholesale market in HCM City.
Hong Sun, the secretary general of Korcham in Vietnam, said the market will cover 300ha and provide information and technology to promote international sales by auction. It will also have hotels and a retail trade centre.
Total capital is estimated to be USD1bn, rising to USD2bn, funded by the governments of South Korea and Vietnam, and private companies. The main trading centre is estimated to cost USD200-400m and is expected to be completed within three years.
Sun said a better distribution system will improve Vietnam's competitiveness.
He said logistical costs in Vietnam are high, accounting for an average 20 percent of costs, which has hindered development in the agriculture sector.
VietNamNet Bridge - Businesses are now gearing up with their production plans, preparing for the year-end high sales season, anticipating an increase in purchasing power.
ANZ Bank has released a report showing that Vietnamese consumer confidence index in June increased by 2.9 points to a record high of 143.1 points.
The bank said that the index rise reflected the strong recovery of Vietnam’s national economy.
The General Statistics Office’s reports also showed a strong recovery of purchasing power.
In HCM City, total sales of goods and services reached VND323.232 trillion in June, representing a 10.9 percent increase compared with the same period last year.
Large retailers in HCM City are optimistic about the increased demand.
Vo Hoang Anh, marketing director of Co-op Mart, noted that the retailer’s survey also has found that market demand is increasing.
Tran Pham Phuc Nguyen, marketing director of Lotte Mart Vietnam, also noted that the demand for essential goods has been increasing slightly compared with the same period in 2014.
Meanwhile, manufacturers noted that demand remains stable though it is now the low sale season.
“Consumers have begun spending money. I hope the purchase demand will recover well by the year end,” said Le Thanh Lam, deputy director of SG Food.
Analysts noted that the market’s health would be seen most clearly in the last six months of the year.
Meanwhile, the competition among retailers is getting stiffer with more retail chains and shops opening recently.
Retailers are trying every possible way to attract buyers. Big sales promotions launched by retailers have helped stimulate demand.
Hoang Anh Hoa, a housewife in Cau Giay District, said she tends to spend more money now when going shopping.
“My husband, a real estate broker, now can earn more money as the property market has warmed up and apartments are selling better. Buyers now have numerous choices as all retail chains are running sales promotions,” Hoa said.
“My neighbors in the same residential quarters also tend to spend more on food. They say the national economy is warming up,” she added.
Businesses have been advised to expand their production in anticipation of the high year-end sales season.
“I think purchasing power would increase in the upcoming months, especially from now to August, when people prioritize buying things for their children’s new academic year,” an analyst said.
According to the Domestic Market Management Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, total retail turnover in the first six months of the year increased by 9 percent, the highest growth rate in four years, which was attributed to lower inflation.