Vietnam exports first batch of lychee under EVFTA

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS JUNE 9

The first batch of Thanh Ha lychees was officially exported to Europe under the EU–Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) on June 7.

At the ceremony to export the first batch of lychee to the European Union, Vu Ba Phu, director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that in the next few days, lychee will be on store shelves of the Czech Republic, which has a large market and the largest Vietnamese community in the EU. This result comes from efforts to connect and promote consumption in the 2021 litchi crop.

Currently, the EU, a potential market of about 430 million people, is the fourth export market for Vietnamese vegetables and fruits. This advantage, as well as the import tax exemption and reduction as committed in the EVFTA, will help to increase the competitiveness of Vietnamese fruits compared to markets that do not have an FTA with the EU such as Thailand, China, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

It is expected that the export shipment will reach European consumers in the next 4-5 days. Apart from Thanh Ha lychee, a batch of Luc Ngan lychee (Bac Giang) will also set out to conquer this community of 27 fastidious countries in the next week.

Chung Tri Phong, general director of Pacific Foods, the company is in charge of exporting the lychee, revealed that the company has about three years of understanding and negotiating the procedures for the export of lychee to the EU.

“Right from the beginning of the season, the production management system and monitoring software of the litchi area must be checked by import partners. We also cooperate with many partners to preliminarily process and preserve lychees, ensuring the best condition this fruit reaches consumers in Europe,” shared Phong.

Le Ba Linh, chairman of the Board of Directors of Pacific Foods said that Vietnam’s agricultural products have great potential, especially tropical fruits such as lychee, dragon fruit, jackfruit, mango, longan, and grapefruit. He said that the EU market always wants to experience products from Vietnam as part of the speciality of the lower Mekong region. After litchi, this company will continue exporting jackfruit, dragon fruit, and rice to the EU.

Hai Duong province currently grows lychee on more than 9,000 hectares, of which Thanh Ha district has more than 3,300ha and Chi Linh town has more than 3,500ha with a total output of about 55,000 tonnes. The province currently has 45 litchi areas with a total area of 450ha planted according to GlobalGAP standards and 6,300ha planted according to VietGAP standards. Up to now, 1,000ha have been certified with VietGAP, GlobalGAP, and 8,000ha have been granted export planting area codes.

Industrial developers winning big from rising rentals

Industrial properties continue to be a “bright spot” in Vietnam’s real estate sector, with mounting rental enquiries and increased capital market activity.

2021 is forecast to be another bumper year for the sub-sector, with Vietnam continuing to scoop up global manufacturing relocations, and industrial developers with large land banks are looking forward to an even brighter future, according to the latest report from real estate consultants Savills Vietnam.

The report stated that average occupancy rates have increased significantly since 2018. In the north, average occupancies last year were up to 90 percent in Hanoi, 95 percent in Bac Ninh, 89 percent in Hung Yen, and 73 percent in Hai Phong. The rate in Ho Chi Minh City was 88 percent, Binh Duong 99 percent, Dong Nai 94 percent, Long An 84 percent, and Ba Ria-Vung Tau 79 percent.

Vietnam now has about 260 operational IPs and 75 others under construction. The national occupancy rate averages over 70 percent.

The sudden increase in rental enquires for land, ready-built factories, and warehousing has been accompanied by price escalations in IPs near major cities. In the north, prices in Hanoi of 129 USD per sq m were up 13.1 percent year-on-year, of 95 USD in Bac Ninh were up 9.2 percent, of 83 USD in Hung Yen were up 6.4 percent, and of 96 USD in Hai Phong were up 3.2 percent.

In 2020, HCM City saw rental prices of 147 USD per sq m, while in other southern industrial areas, the price in Binh Duong of 107 USD per sq m was up 4.9 percent year-on-year, of 98 USD in Dong Nai was up 6.5 percent, and of 65 USD in Ba Ria-Vung Tau was up 18.1 percent.

Rising demand for industrial properties gave a major push to overall performance by developers. The Kinh Bac City Development Holding Corp (KBC) reported revenue in excess of 2 trillion VND (87 million USD) in the first quarter of 2021, almost quadrupling the figure in the same period last year. Of this, over 1.9 trillion VND came from land rentals and property transfers, a three-fold increase year-on-year.

The Sonadezi Corporation’s revenue rose 14 percent from January-March to over 1.26 trillion VND, with more than 365 billion VND from industrial real estate, Savills said, adding that other developers such as the Tan Tao Group (ITA), the Becamex Infrastructure Development JSC (IJC), and the Nam Tan Uyen JSC (NTC) also saw high growth in profit during the period.

Vietnam has been drawing up plans since last year for the heavy investment being channelled into developing infrastructure and industrial parks to attract more companies in supply chains. Various incentives, including corporate tax exemptions, have been adopted to acquire a competitive advantage over rivals in the region./.

Budget revenue rises on robust banking, securities, real estate and automobile sectors

The budget revenue increased significantly in the first five months of this year thanks to recovery from 2020 and some sectors seeing strong growth, such as banking, securities, real estate and automobile industries, according to the General Department of Taxation.

Statistics showed that tax collection was estimated to total 575.6 trillion VND (24.85 billion USD) in January – May, equivalent to 51.6 percent of the plan and 114.5 percent of the same period last year.

The General Department of Taxation said that the budget revenue was quite good from the beginning of this year thanks to the fact that some sectors have benefited from the fiscal and monetary policies introduced in 2020 to aid the economy to overcome the COVID19-pandemic.

With good credit and deposit growth in 2020, which contributed significantly to boost the profit of commercial banks, the corporate income tax which banks paid to the State budget increased by 4.5 trillion VND.

The tax collection from transferring property projects also increased by around 6 trillion VND as the property market was robust in many localities nationwide.

Mergers and acquisitions became more robust in the first months of this year after the impacts of the virus in 2020, which pushed up tax revenue by 5-6 trillion VND.

The Government’s policy of reducing 50 percent of registration fees for domestically-produced and assembled automobiles till the end of 2020 also promoted car sales and the automobile production industry.

The development of the securities and real estate market from the beginning of this year also helped increase revenue from real estate registration fees, personal income tax from the transfer of securities and real estate assets.

According to the Vietnam Securities Depository, the number of new accounts opened in the first four months of this year totalled nearly 370,000, increasing by 90 percent against the whole of 2020, bringing the total number of accounts of individual investors to 3.12 million and organisational investors to 15,800.

Director of the General Department of Taxation Cao Anh Tuan said the outbreak of the fourth COVID-19 pandemic wave in Vietnam from late April might affect budget collection in the second half of this year.

Tuan asked for a close watch to be placed on the virus development to work out solutions for effective tax collection in the remaining months of this year.

At the same time, the department would study and propose measures to efficiently implement the Government’s policies extending the deadline for payment of value added tax, corporate income tax, individual income tax and land fees in 2021 to support enterprises to overcome the difficult time./.

Hanoi takes action to raise PCI ranking

The Hanoi People’s Committee recently issued a directive on improving the city’s Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) in 2021, given the fact that many of its sub-indexes have tended towards decline even though its overall position in the national rankings has remained unchanged in recent years.

For the third year in a row the capital city stood in ninth place among Vietnam’s 63 cities and provinces in the 2020 PCI rankings, with a total score of 66.93 points, up 1.13 points from 2019.

The rankings were unveiled earlier this year by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Among the 10 sub-indexes, the capital earned its highest score, 7.93 points, in the “time costs” index, followed by “labour and training” (7.85 points), “entry costs” (6.74 points), and “business support services” (6.68 points).

Hanoi has made efforts to reduce informal charges, promote fair competition, enhance transparency, and boost the proactivity of city leadership.

VCCI Chairman Vu Tien Loc described Hanoi’s continual presence in the top 10 as an encouraging result, according to the Nhan dan (People) newspaper, as the city is one of the two localities with the largest number of enterprises in Vietnam.

Its sustained position and higher score also indicates the city’s stable performance in administrative reform and improvements to its investment and business climate, he said.

Although Hanoi is viewed by many enterprises as having a good investment and business climate, the unchanged ninth place, with some sub-indexes falling, has stopped the city from reaching a higher position in the rankings, the newspaper pointed out.

For example, its “policy bias” sub-index rose from 5.39 points in 2019 to 6.06 points last year, but it ranked just 52nd among the 63 localities in this regard. “Proactivity of provincial leadership” increased only 0.1 percent to 6.06 points, putting the city at 44th place in this index.

Meanwhile, the city experienced a substantial fall in two important sub-indexes: “entry costs” (down 51 places to 61st) and “access to land” (down 15 places to 56th).

Even the “labour and training” sub-index fell slightly, by 0.06 percent to 7.85 points, ranking fourth nationwide, Nhan dan noted.

To raise the PCI ranking, the Hanoi People’s Committee has issued Directive No 14/CT-UBND on improving the city’s PCI performance in 2021.

The committee demanded that departments, sectors, and district-level authorities invest resources in dealing with the sub-indexes experiencing a downward trend and those ranking “low” or “mid-low” last year.

They were told to take drastic measures to raise the indexes of “entry costs” and “access to land”, which plunged last year.

In particular, they need to have all business registration dossiers handled online, ensure the settlement of business registration procedures completed on schedule or ahead of schedule, publicise such procedures, increase the training of civil servants to boost the quality of guidance provided to people and enterprises, and press on with streamlining land-related administrative procedures.

The northern province of Quang Ninh retained its top position in the 2020 PCI rankings, followed by the southern provinces of Dong Thap, Long An, and Binh Duong.

The PCI report has been published annually by the VCCI and the USAID since 2005 to assess the ease of doing business, economic governance, and administrative reform efforts by city and provincial governments to promote the development of the private sector.

Based on data collected from enterprises, the PCI is viewed as “the common voice” of the business community on the level of reform in various fields./.

Enterprises in Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, and Haiphong thirst for workers

Numerous enterprises such as Fuyu Precision Component Co., Ltd. and Silex Vietnam Co., Ltd. in Bac Giang and Bac Ninh provinces and Haiphong are lacking employees due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A quarter of the workforce of manufacturers in industrial zones (IZs) in Bac Giang are in isolation or are undergoing treatment for COVID-19.

Currently, there are 3,000 workers working at three manufacturing facilities of Foxconn in IZs in the two provinces. All of them are living in dormitories of the group and commute to the facilities by shuttle bus. Before the pandemic outbreak in the provinces, the company had 12,000 employees at these facilities.

Meanwhile, the representative of Fuyu Precision Component Co., Ltd. said that the company is in need of a large number of employees and has proposed the province to allow its employees in isolation to return to work under strict management. The leaders of the company committed to complying with all regulations to ensure safety for their employees.

Silex Vietnam in Quang Chau IZ is also struggling to maintain operations because its employees are afraid to come back to work until they receive confirmation from the districts and communes that they are are not COVID-19 positive and that it is safe to return to work.

As of now, 11 enterprises in IZs of Bac Giang (including two Foxconn facilities and Silex) have been allowed to resume operations with a total of 5,007 employees.

In Haiphong, Crystal Sweater Vietnam Co., Ltd. in Trang Due IZ said that the company has been receiving stable orders since the beginning of this year, however, 300 of the company’s workers are isolated, impacting production progress.

The shortage of workers is also a problem at Maple Co., Ltd, JASAN, Canadian Solar in VSIP, Primzen, Vinamode, and Yazaki Haiphong Vietnam in Trang Due IZ.

Pegatron to pour additional $101 million into Vietnam investment

The Taiwanese government has given the nod to Pegatron Corporation to pour an additional $101 million investment in Vietnam.

The news was announced by the Taiwanese Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Investment Commission, which is responsible for the approval of foreign investments by Taiwanese companies. Pegatron’s investment in Vietnam will specialise in th emanufacturing and trade of computers and peripheral equipment, communication equipment, and electronic components.

It was reported in last September that Pegatron Corporation, one of the world’s five largest electronic parts and component manufacturers, was seeking to invest $1 billion in Vietnam, and proposing to develop a plant in the northern region.

Petragon plans to manufacture computing, communications, and consumer electronics, in addition to moving its research and development centre from China to Vietnam, according to a source from the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

Pegatron is a key supplier to Apple, along with Taiwan’s Foxconn and Wistron Corporation. Petragon established local subsidiary Pegatron Vietnam Co., Ltd. in March last year. In October 2020, the company was awarded an investment certificate to develop a $481 million factory to produce gaming equipment, phone accessories, smart speakers, game controllers, and all kinds of computers in Haiphong.

Proposing urgent vaccination for retail workers

As workers at retail distribution establishments such as supermarkets, convenience stores, and traditional markets are easily exposed to the COVID-19 pandemic, they need to be given priority for vaccination. 

On June 4, Central Retail in Vietnam donated VND5 billion ($217,085) to source and procure vaccines for its employees. The amount is deducted from the donation of VND10 billion ($434,170) to the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee to respond to the government’s call for contributions to speed up the COVID-19 vaccination programme. Another donation of VND5 billion ($217,085) would be contributed to the National COVID-19 Vaccine Fund.

Olivier Bernard Langlet, CEO of Central Retail in Vietnam expressed that the donation commits to its vision of contributing to Vietnam’s prosperity and enhancing the quality of life of the people.

Do Thang Hai, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade has just signed Official Dispatch No.3150/CV-BCT recommending the prime minister to give priority to vaccination against COVID-19 for employees at the retail distribution system.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade said that adding retail workers to the priority list for vaccination would protect those at a high risk of infection. Because this is a group that has to deal with millions of customers every day while maintaining the supply of essential goods to serve people at all levels.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Industry and Trade requested the health sector to assist in sourcing vaccines, guide import procedures, and organise injections for workers at retail distribution businesses that need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 pandemic using the financial resources of the businesses.

Earlier, many associations and businesses in the manufacturing fields such as textiles, apparel, footwear, seafood, or electronics also wanted to be prioritised for vaccination because most of them are businesses with a large number of employees in industrial zones.

Le Tien Truong, chairman of Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) said that many textile and garment businesses have signed orders until the end of the year. If the company cannot guarantee workforce for production and delivery on time, businesses will be fined for cancelling orders, causing billions of dollars worth of damage to the whole industry. He highlighted the need for these employees to receive priority in accessing vaccines, especially businesses in high-risk localities such as Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, Ho Chi Minh City, and Hanoi.

“Vinatex businesses are willing to pay to vaccinate their workers. As calculated, businesses under Vinatex will spend VND100 to 200 billion ($4.35 to 8.7 million) to vaccinate their workers,” he added.

In a document recently sent to the prime minister, the Private Sector Development Research Board (IV Board) also proposed to allow businesses to organise COVID-19 vaccination for employees according to the instructions and safety requirements of the Ministry of Health (MoH).

The IV Board also proposed allowing private businesses and organisations to actively negotiate buying vaccines with global suppliers, based on the list of vaccines accepted by the Ministry of Health. Besides, the vaccination force should also be considered and expanded to meet the requirements of mass and large-scale vaccination by mobilising not only vaccination facilities but also qualified hospitals and medical centres according to the regulations of the MoH.

Merger could lead to “GoTo” app for all

The recent merger between Gojek and Tokopedia to create technology powerhouse GoTo Group is expected to heat up Vietnam’s digital platform market. 

Indonesian ride-hailing and payments firm Gojek and e-commerce leader Tokopedia has made a big splash in the market by merging to form multi-billion dollar firm GoTo. Backed by investment giants like Alibaba, Tencent, and Google parent company Alphabet, GoTo is poised to expedite the digital economy in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam.

Specifically, the new group features a wide range of services including ride-hailing, food delivery, e-commerce, logistics, and also financial services.

Gojek Vietnam under GoTo has offered ride-hailing, food delivery, and logistics. To expand its presence in the market, the group will roll out car-sharing and cashless payment services this year. By adding the two new services, Gojek Vietnam is expecting to gain a competitive edge over its rivals in the fast-growing market.

A representative of Gojek Vietnam told VIR that the company has already secured a licence for 4-wheel riding hailing service GoCar in Ho Chi Minh City. The company will be launching GoCar in the next few months, with Hanoi in its sights after Ho Chi Minh City.

After Gojek Vietnam has built a strong foundation there, the company expects to expand to other cities. Meanwhile, cashless payments will also be launched within this year.

Following the GoTo deal, Gojek has more resources and capital to implement expansion plans in Vietnam. According to Ralf Matthaes, managing director of technology-driven market research company Infocus Mekong Research, the key to all online platforms is growing their customer base and offering, thus the new merger should aid in this pursuit.

“Specifically, it will allow its present customer base more services and also erode competitor services, if it can perform well across more new services. For the consumer this is great news, as it should start a price war, at least temporarily, and also force the likes of Grab to up its game in Vietnam,” Matthaes added.

The Gojek and Tokopedia merger may provide food for thought for key platforms in Vietnam. It is not only a ride-sharing and food delivery battle but also an e-commerce game as GoTo is combining Gojek’s on-demand services and Tokopedia’s e-commerce expertise. As Gojek Vietnam is introducing most key services here, there is likelihood that it will add e-commerce into the market at some point in the future.

Commenting on this, Matthaes said that both Lazada and Shopee are rather entrenched in Vietnam, so GoTo may require more time to penetrate the e-commerce space than ride sharing.

Meanwhile, Peh Quan Yao, research analyst of services and payments at Euromonitor International, told VIR that both Gojek and Tokopedia plan to operate separately but leverage each other’s complementary strengths. There is scope for an end-to-end e-commerce solution that leverages an existing tried-and-tested platform in Tokopedia, and Gojek’s last-mile delivery fleet and digital wallet capabilities.

However, Yao noted that the competitive landscape is unlikely to change much for ride-hailing in Vietnam, given Gojek and Grab’s dominant positions. For e-commerce, it is too early to tell. GoTo will be a new entrant with no large-scale operating experience outside of Indonesia. In the near term, challenges like customer and merchant acquisition, optimising delivery and fulfilment operations, and adapting to consumer preferences such as cash-on-delivery and live-streaming need to be addressed to compete with incumbents such as Shopee and Tiki, which have already done well in the market.

According to Euromonitor International, e-commerce made up for just 3 per cent of Vietnam’s retail market in 2020, the lowest amount in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, the country’s digital economy is forecast to grow to $52 billion by 2025, an annual 29 per cent increase from 2020, according to a study by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company.

KIDO to open a thousand Chuk Chuk coffee and milk tea shops

KIDO Group today announced its plan to launch its own coffee and milk tea brand Chuk Chuk with the goal of opening 1,000 outlets by 2025.

The stores will serve ice cream, tea, milk tea, coffee and other beverages under TTV Trading Investment JSC – a member of KIDO Group. With a total investment capital of VND100 billion ($4.35 million), KIDO will hold 61 per cent of the controlling stake at the chain to inject investment capital and scale up operations in the future.

At the same time, Chuk Chuk will team up with foreign partners to extend its reach to the Asian market between 2021 and 2023. Tran Tuyet Van, one of the three daughters of Tran Le Nguyen is the general director of Chuk Chuk.

Chuk Chuk will be developed with a variety of business models including a system of stores, trolleys, and kiosks deployed on main roads and in commercial centres.

2021 will be a crucial year for Chuk Chuk to develop a system of stores, kiosks, and trolleys in Ho Chi Minh City with the goal of developing 58 stores by the end of the year.

Accordingly, the first Chuk Chuk stores in Ho Chi Minh City will open in June, while the kiosk and trolley system is expected to launch a month later. In the next 2-3 years, Chuk Chuk will make its debut in Hanoi and other big cities in Vietnam.

In addition to beverages, Chuk Chuk also sells fresh bakery under KIDO’s Bakery brand, as well as tea and coffee packages, glasses, and souvenirs.

Leflair rumored to get new owner after bankruptcy filling

The e-commerce market is heating up following the news of e-commerce brand Leflair making a return under the wings of a new investor. 

It is said that the investor behind Leflair is a US tech firm that has been operating in Vietnam for three years now with a track record of many successful mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals involving local small and mid-sized tech firms.

Leflair is an e-commerce platform that provides genuine branded products at a discount. The e-commerce platform official debuted in 2015 and quickly left an impression in the market with its business model of an inventory business rather than a marketplace. Specifically, Leflair keeps products from suppliers in its warehouses. To ensure the quality of the products, it developed two warehouses in Singapore and Hong Kong (China) with a strict inspection and management system.

In Vietnam, Leflair has become a reputable shopping site for luxury brands among middle-class customers. Following its inception in Vietnam in 2015, Leflair entered into partnerships with 2,500 brands and extended its reach to Singapore and the Philippines. By 2019, the e-commerce platform served over 120,000 customers a year, posting net revenues of up to dozens of million dollars per year with the highest average order value in Vietnam’s e-commerce market.

The startup bringing Leflair to Vietnam quickly achieved success and easily raised capital thanks to its strong business model built on flash sales. In its first few years, Leflair made a big splash in the local e-commerce market before filing for bankruptcy in May 2020. In March 2021, bankruptcy proceedings were opened, confirmed by the court’s approval of bankruptcy proposal.

While Leflair has yet to make an official announcement regarding its new owner, customers are excited about rumours of their once beloved e-commerce platform returning to the market. Meanwhile, old partners looking for partnership opportunities are also wondering what the return would bring: even as Leflair’s sudden bankruptcy declaration was a source of various difficulties, its return may open up new opportunities.

The startup owning Leflair filed for bankruptcy in May 2020 and then received legal approval. So far, Leflair has transferred the ownership of its trade name and intangible assets associated with the Leflair trademark to a new investor in accordance with international law.

This M&A deal is made between the new investor from the United States and the owner of the Leflair brand, a corporation headquartered in Hong Kong. It is known that the new investor will soon launch the Leflair brand in the market with a view to make full use of the familiarity of the brand to revive the Leflair e-commerce platform. The new investor also focuses on investment and business activities by combining the new platform and operating system as well as selecting suppliers with high-quality and genuine products to offer customers professional service.

Leflair is a familiar name but it has been fully acquired and is now operated by a new owner who is not legally responsibly for any activities by the previous owner whose bankruptcy proceedings were approved by the law.

PM approves 2021-2023 public debt management programme

The Prime Minister has recently approved a public debt management programme for the 2021-2023 period.
Under the programme, the total borrowing over the next three years will be VND1,738.4 trillion (US$75.8 billion), of which VND1,604 trillion (US$70 billion) will go to the central budget.

The local budget spending deficit is limited at 0.2% of GDP, as stipulated in the 2015 Law on State Budget, and the debt repayment obligation of local governments is approximately VND18.4 trillion (US$801.8 million).

With regards to foreign commercial loans by enterprises and credit institutions, the growth rate for short-term credit is capped at 18-20% per year and the net maximum medium-term and long-term loans are around US$6.35-7 billion per year.

For 2021, the government is expected to borrow VND624.221 trillion (US$27.2 billion), including VND527.357 trillion (US$23 billion) from domestic sources and VND96.864 trillion (US$4.2 billion) from foreign lenders.

Of this figure, VND579.772 trillion (US$25.3 billion) will be used to balance the central budget while the remaining VND44.449 trillion (US$1.9 billion) will be spent on lending to other borrowers.

The government is expected to repay debts of VND394.506 trillion (US$17.2 billion) in 2021.

Vietnamese tourists increasingly favour sustainable tourism

Vietnamese tourists have expressed their wish to choose ecotourism (59% of participants), limit single-use plastic on flights/at lodges (57%) and encourage financial rewards for accommodation facilities that maximise energy efficiency (40%) towards more sustainable tourism in the post-COVID-19 period.

This is part of the results of a survey on Sustainable Tourism Trends just released by Agoda on the occasion of the World Environment Day (June 5).

Agoda, a digital travel platform offering a global network of 2 million properties across more than 200 countries and territories around the world, conducted a survey on sustainable tourism and pointed out the leading solutions for the sustainable development of the tourism sector.

According to this survey, the top measures consist of the provision of more eco-friendly travel options, the reduction of single-use plastics and the offering of monetary rewards to accommodation providers who use energy-saving measures. In the rankings of positive solutions to make tourism more sustainable, many other useful methods, such as the establishment of nature reserves to limit tourist numbers and the elimination of disposable bathroom products, were highlighted.

The top concerns in Vietnam were overcrowding (28%) and deforestation for tourism (24%). Survey respondents said that many Vietnamese people expressed their hope that hotels and other accommodation providers will switch to using water and renewable energy sources and reduce their reliance on single-use plastic products.

The current trend of Vietnamese tourists is to give preference to pristine and little-known attractions as well believing the Government and travel agencies need to share the responsibility in ensuring sustainable tourism.

Along with Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and China, Vietnam is also a top tourism market committed to cleaning up beaches. 

Similarly, actual statistics from many countries around the world show that people believe the Government should take the main responsibility for creating positive change in respect of the environment and tourism activities, followed by agencies and enterprises and then individuals. Up to 36% of people in Indonesia and the UK, 33% of Chinese people and 28% of Australians share this view.

On the other hand, other people around the world believe individuals must play the most important role in promoting the sustainable development of tourism.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all answer, people worldwide affirmed that actions contributing to enhancing sustainable or eco-friendly tourism will protect the environment more effectively in the near future.

Regarding the commitment to help tourism sector develop better during post COVID-19 period, almost all survey respondents answered that the management of single-use plastic is a top commitment, followed by turning off air conditioners and lights when not in use and developing eco-friendly accommodation.

CEO of Agoda John Brown said that simple measures to promote sustainable tourism such as turning off lights and air conditioners when leaving the room and reducing waste by limiting the use of single-use plastics are now favoured by tourists around the world.

Despite the many different interpretations of eco-friendly activities and sustainable tourism, most travelers want to choose eco-friendly accommodation and make smart choices for their travels.

Local firms boost processed mango exports to U.S.

Due to difficulties in exporting Vietnam’s fresh mangoes, many firms have invested in processing to boost the consumption of processed mangoes in foreign markets, mainly the United States.

In the first three months of the year, Vietnam was the United States’ 13th largest mango supplier, according to the Import-Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

During the three-month period, the U.S. increased its import of dried mangoes and mango juice from Vietnam. Vietnam shipped 97 tons of mango juice worth US$102,600 to the American market, skyrocketing by 340% in volume and 160.5% in value year-on-year. The country’s export of dried mangoes to the United States reached 68 tons worth US$83,000.

Despite the modest volume, fostering the export of processed products is a growth trend for Vietnamese mango, said many firms.

Nguyen Dinh Tung, general director of Vina T&T Group, told the Saigon Times that the export of fresh fruits, including mango, had faced multiple difficulties due to high transport costs and the prolonged transportation time, while fresh fruits also have a short shelf life. Besides, many countries have erected technical barriers to fresh fruits to protect local products and customers, he said.

Taking the U.S. market as an example, he said that in the past, it took 20-23 days to ship goods by sea from Vietnam to the market, but now, the transport time is 30-35 days. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s preservation technology keeps mangoes fresh for a mere 30 days.

“Sometimes, the fresh mangoes arrived in the U.S. market, but reached the expiration date and were not sold to customers,” Tung said.

Dang Phuc Nguyen, general secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables Association, said that since 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic emerged, many fruit exporters have sought ways to adapt to the new market situation.

Due to high transport costs and the shortage of containers, many firms which specialize in exporting fresh products have shifted to processed products for shipments.

“Processed mangoes have a longer shelf life than fresh ones and do not face severe competition from the products of other countries,” Nguyen said.

Statistics indicated that in 2020, Vietnam shipped some US$800 million worth of processed vegetables and fruits to the United States, accounting for 25% of the total value of veggie and fruit exports, while the proportion was 10%-15% in 2019.

In addition, Europe and other countries are raising their consumption of Vietnam’s processed fruit, mainly dried mangoes and mango juice, urging many local exporters to upgrade and improve their machines and technology and expand production to ramp up the capacity of processing fruits and meet demands.

“This year, Vietnam’s export of processed fruits, including mangoes, is expected to soar by 30% against last year,” said Nguyen.

Vietnam shipped an estimated US$400 million of vegetables and fruits to foreign countries in May, up 48.3% year-on-year, sending the country’s export value of these products in the first five months of the year to US$1.77 billion, up 18% year-on-year.

In 2020, Vietnam exported 2,100 tons of mangoes worth US$4.6 million to America, up 66% in volume and 70% in value against 2019, while the latter bought 1,150 tons of frozen mangoes from Vietnam, up 38% from the 2019 figure.

Vietnam’s insurance market growing rapidly

Vietnam’s insurance market has grown significantly faster than other countries in the region and the world. The growth rate is maintained for a long time, regardless of the world financial crisis or other damaging impacts.

According to the Government’s report on the revised Insurance Business Law project which the Ministry of Justice has been appraising, Vietnam’s insurance market has grown significantly faster than other countries in the region and the world from 2000 to 2020. The growth rate is maintained for a long time, regardless of the world financial crisis or other negative impacts.

Currently, about 72 insurance enterprises are operating in Vietnam. Among 72, some are non-life insurers while others are insurance brokers and reinsurance companies.

Total assets of the whole market grew by an average of 24 percent annually, reaching VND573,233 billion (US$25 billion) in 2020, of which assets of non-life insurance enterprises reached VND99,340 billion while life insurance enterprises reached VND 473,893 billion.

Total money insurance companies investing in other sectors grew at an average of 24 percent a year, reaching VND468,125 billion in 2020. Of the funds, non-life insurers have poured VND 52,278 billion into other sectors while life insurance enterprises poured VND415,847 billion.

In addition, insurance premium revenue averagely increased by 19 percent a year, reaching VND87,211 billion in 2020. Of these, premium revenue from non-life insurance enterprises reached VND 56,654 billion, and life insurance enterprises reached VND130,557 billion.

Equity of insurance enterprises roughly increased by 38 percent a year, reaching VND127,842 billion in 2020. Of the amount, equity of non-life insurance enterprises reached VND33,516 billion and insurance enterprises for life expectancy reached VND94,326 billion.

By the end of 2020, the insurance market has offered nearly 1,000,000 jobs with stable income. Moreover, employees are trained in finance and insurance. According to statistics of insurance companies, the total insured value is VND11.7 quadrillion.

Currently, about 11.9 million Vietnamese people are buying in life insurance, equivalent to more than 10 percent of the country’s population. Four million people have bought health insurance and short-term health insurance while 12 million students have participated in accident and health care insurance.

Additionally, 18 million passengers and 12 million passengers are insured by aviation and railway accidents while 1,620 million passengers are covered by road accident insurance companies.

Telefilm goes virtual for 2021 edition

Vietnam International Exhibition on Film and Television Technology – Telefilm 2021 have been held online from June 7-30 due to the Covid-19 outbreak. 

The virtual exhibition attracts more than 100 local and international enterprises specialized in fields of media, audio visual (films, photos), graphics, telecommunications, data processing, computer, advanced technology, materials, composite R&D ( research and development ) from 11 countries and territories, such as Japan, South Korea, Turkey and others.

Exhibits include Content Production Program, TV advertising, TV formats, technology and equipment in the broadcast industry as well as related services and products.

The exhibition is also an opportunity for insiders to exchange and share experiences and seek partners as well as promote Vietnamese Film and Television industry to international visitors.

Deal signed to promote farm produce sale via digital platforms

A memorandum of understanding was signed in Hanoi on June 8 to carry out a programme on facilitating digital transformation and assisting small- and medium-sized enterprises, cooperatives and business households in the consumption of farm produce in the country.

Signatories were the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MoPI)’s Agency of Enterprise Development, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Agro Processing and Market Development Authority, the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance’s Centre for Trade Promotion and Investment, and Grab Vietnam.

In the immediate future, the programme will help with farm produce sale via digital platforms in localities hit by COVID-19 or those under lockdown, including experimenting on Grab.

Practical activities will be also held to raise awareness of digital transformation among businesses, cooperatives, business households and farmers.

The activity is also part of the programme to assist firms in digital transformation for the 2021-2025 period launched by the MoPI.

Earlier, Grab announced the GrabConnect project to connect farmers with consumers nationwide to consume farm produce and safe local specialties.

GrabConnect also launched the first scheme to help consume 300 tonnes of Luc Ngan lychees in Bac Giang province via Grab’s ecological system./.

Northern mountainous region should turn disadvantages into development advantages: Official

Tran Tuan Anh, Politburo member and Chairman of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission, on June 8 urged northern midland and mountainous provinces to turn their disadvantages into advantages to serve development.

Speaking at a conference in Hanoi, Anh highlighted the northern midland and mountainous region’s strategic location in economy, social affairs, national defence-security, and foreign relations of the whole country.

Aware of its important role, the Politburo issued Resolution No. 37-NQ/TW dated July 1, 2004 and Conclusion No. 26-KL/TW dated August 2, 2012, to promote socio-economic development and ensure national defence and security in the region, he said.

Over the past two decades or so, the region has achieved notable socio-economic achievements.

However, it still remains the country’s poorest and most disadvantaged region, he went on, with low per capita income and high poverty rates, especially in ethnic minority areas.

Anh asked ministries, agencies, and localities to analyse the advantages and challenges, especially in the new context, during the implementation of the above-mentioned resolution.

Comprehensive tasks and solutions are needed to create momentum for the localities to move ahead, he stressed.

Participants suggested issuing a new resolution on socio-economic development and national defence and security in the region by 2030 with a vision towards 2045 in the new setting.

They cited development orientations for the region as set out in the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress, focusing on forest protection and restoration, mining, the border economy, inter-regional connectivity, and community-based and eco-tourism./.

Teleconference discusses consumption of Bac Giang lychees

A teleconference linking 29 locations at home and abroad was held on June 8 to discuss lychee consumption this year.

The gathering was co-organised by the Bac Giang provincial People’s Committee, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Addressing the conference, Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien hailed Bac Giang for selling lychees via e-commerce platforms, saying this is the right approach amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bac Giang lychee trademark is currently protected in eight countries: China, the US, Japan, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Laos, and Cambodia.

Earlier, in March, it became the first Vietnamese farm produce to receive geographical indication protection in Japan, paving the way for it to navigate other promising markets.

Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Anh Duong said Bac Giang has identified three scenarios for selling lychees this year while working closely with foreign partners and cities, provinces, and merchants to sell other farm produce.

Over 1,500 trucks together with workers are ready to transport and sell lychees, he went on. Sales have proceeded smoothly so far.

Bac Giang’s lychee output is estimated at 180,000 tonnes this year. As of June 7, more than 53,000 tonnes had been sold at home and abroad.

On the occasion, a ceremony was also held to announce a certificate of geographical indication from Japan for Luc Ngan lychees, while stalls selling local lychees were also launched on domestic and foreign e-commerce platforms./.

Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS JUNE 8

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS JUNE 8

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