Vietnam Update: June 14, 2018

Vietnam Update | June 14, 2018
Authors: Matt Solomon, Hai Pham, Ella Duangkaew, Samantha Pryor, Ryan DelGaudio
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

June 25: FLC Group USA Roadshow & Seminar 2018
The Council would like to forward an invitation to interested Vietnam Committee members for a Vietnam Investment Potential & Opportunities Roadshow & Seminar hosted by FLC Group. The event will take place on Monday, June 25 at 2:00 - 5:00 PM at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. For more information on the event and agenda, please click here

July 11: 2018 Food & Agriculture Industry Mission to Vietnam
The Council is registering members for its Food & Agriculture Industry Mission to Vietnam on July 11-12, 2018. The sector-focused mission will offer members an opportunity to engage key public and private sector stakeholders which make up Vietnam’s domestic agriculture ecosystem. To register, please click here. Deadline for receipt of registration and mission materials is Friday, June 22. For questions, please contact Sunita Kapoor (skapoor@usasean.org) and Hai Pham (hpham@usasean.org).

July 12: Roundtable with the Incoming Economic Team, U.S. Embassy Vietnam
Please join the Council for a roundtable with the incoming group of Commercial Officers who are headed to Vietnam in late July / early August. The officers include: 

  1. Eric Hsu, Senior Commercial Officer, U.S. Embassy, Hanoi [Replacing Stuart Schaag]
  2. Jim Curtis, Commercial Officer, U.S. Embassy, Hanoi [Replacing Tim Cannon]
  3. Ryan Hollowell, Commercial Officer, U.S. Consulate, Ho Chi Minh City [Replacing Josh Liebowitz]

To register for this event, please click here. Please contact Hai Pham (hpham@usasean.org) if you have any questions.

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

SEZ Law and Anti-China Protests 
On June 11, the National Assembly (NA) postponed voting until October on a controversial bill that would create three new special economic zones (SEZs). These SEZs – proposed to be located in the coastal districts of Van Don in the northern province of Quang Ninh, Bac Van Phong in the central province of Khanh Hoa, and Phu Quoc Island – are presented as creating economic growth within the country, in the face of resource scarcity and political and social complexities. A provision within the measure also allows for 99-year leases within the three new economic zones.

While the goal of this bill is to increase Vietnam's economic competitiveness within the region, dissent is stemming from lawmakers and government officials, as well as from local civil society organizations, who are warning that the bill will do more harm to the economy than good. The 99-year lease provision within this new measure has also been highly scrutinized. Critics fear that the leases will open the Vietnamese economy up to foreign encroachment, particularly from Chinese investors. While the bill did not mention any specific countries, it is speculated that China, Vietnam's top trade partner, would monopolize the incoming investments in the three new SEZs. In opposition to the government's drafting of the bill, protests erupted in Hanoi, Hai Duong, Nghe An, Da Nang, Dak Lak, Binh Thuan, Khanh Hoa, Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong, Tien Giang, and other locations. With popular Vietnamese anger simmering over China's claims in the South China Sea, officials fear an even more explosive anti-China response if the bill were to be passed. Following mounting pressure from the public to drop this bill, the National Assembly voted overwhelmingly (over 85%) to postpone the vote on the bill to the next session in October.   

Vietnam at the G7 Summit 
At the 44th G7 Summit, Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc praised member nations for supporting the stance of ASEAN countries in disputes in the South China Sea. Prime Minister Phuc and other ASEAN leaders have been calling for increased cooperation in ensuring freedom of navigation and aviation, safety, and security. On the basis of respect for international law, namely the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS), ASEAN has also requested the peaceful settlement of disputes in the South China Sea. Furthermore, ASEAN has emphasized the need to respect the diplomatic and legal processes that promote peace, stability and cooperation in the region and the world.   

At the G7 Outreach Summit, Prime Minister Phuc supported summit-host Canada's stance on the environmental protection of oceans and proposed an expanded cooperation forum. The goal of this proposed forum, to include members of the G7 Summit and coastal nations, is to increase dialogue and exchange experiences between invested countries, to transfer technologies, and to raise funds for climate change adaptation. Prime Minister Phuc further asserted that the goal of maintaining a clean maritime environment can only be achieved through the preservation of peace, stability, and cooperation among partners. Finally, Prime Minister Phuc called for support from the G7 members to assist Vietnam in building capacity to monitor climate change, adapt to rising sea levels, and develop new measures to support the sustainable utilization of the Mekong River's resources. 

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Vietnam’s Law on Cybersecurity 
On June 12, Vietnam’s National Assembly passed its controversial Law on Cybersecurity with an 86% majority. The approved version (Draft 18) includes slight revisions to the provisions specifying what types of enterprises will be required to store user data within Vietnam. For more information, view the Council’s June 11 update here. The Vietnamese Government will need to issue a unilateral decree for its implementation, which may take six to eight months to draft and finalize, before the Law comes into effect on January 1, 2019. 

For the past 10 months, the US-ASEAN Business Council and its partner associations have undertaken a targeted advocacy campaign to address the potential negative impacts of the Law. Draft 18 (found here in English—this document does not include the most recent changes, and is not the final version) contains provisions that criminalize a variety of potentially unintended and non-malicious actions, expand content restrictions, transfer the onus of policing Vietnamese cyberspace violations to corporations and web platforms, and further broadens data localization requirements for foreign and domestic businesses. The Council drafted five formal submissions to the Ministry of Public Security, the National Assembly, and other key governmental stakeholders (please click here to access the Council’s submissions). 

The Council plans to continue its multifaceted engagement with the Government of Vietnam over the course of the Law’s implementation, and will continue to seek clarity on the Law’s vague provisions. For example, Article 26 mandates that data must be stored locally, but does not specify that data cannot be stored outside of Vietnam. The clause may then be interpreted as requiring companies to maintain the availability of data in Vietnam for a duration to be specified by the government. Indeed, the vague wording of certain provisions leaves significant room for the Council and the Government of Vietnam to negotiate implementing regulations that minimizes the burden placed on businesses operating in Vietnam and mitigates other potential impacts. Please contact Ella Duangkaew (eduangkaew@usasean.org) and Matt Solomon (msolomon@usasean.org) with any questions. 

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 

Regional Affairs
PM stresses int’l co-operation at G7 Outreach Summit
Vietnamese, Cuban businesses ink trade agreements
World Highways - Plans for Laos-Vietnam highway

National Affairs
Vincom Retail appoints new chairwoman
The price of the special economic zone
VPBank officially launches the project for female entrepreneurs
Vietnam Parliament passes cyber law denounced in street protests
Vietnam to host English League Cup draw
Vietnam arrests amid anti-China economic zone protests turn violent
Vietnam Says ‘Anti-State’ Groups Incited Nationwide Protests
Vietnamese human rights lawyer freed, flies to Germany
Vietnam bets on success of SEZs
Vietnam court rejects appeal by airport bomb plotters

ASEAN
Vietnam cheers G7 for backing ASEAN on South China Sea dispute

Defense & Security
New law to scale down military-owned businesses
U.S. urges delay in vote on Vietnam's cybersecurity bill
What’s Next for EU-Vietnam Defense Ties?
India-Vietnam Defense Ties in the Spotlight With Naval Exercise

Economics
Việt Nam commits to stable business community
Tag accountability to property tax, Vietnam advised
Vietnam runs nearly US$45 billion trade surplus with G7
World Bank raises 2018 growth forecast for Vietnam

Energy
Binh Dinh approves US$63-million solar power project
MPIC unit completes deal for Vietnam water firm
Việt Nam spent $3.6 million on petrol imports
Quảng Trị gets one more wind power plant
Coal consumption surges in Vietnam
Vietnam needs just one, not 26 coal power plants
Vietnam launches design for clean energy future
Inflation Bogeyman Prompts Fuel Subsidies Across Southeast Asia
Vietnam sets out green ambitions with bold targets for solar, rare earth

Financial Services
VN stocks up but worries remain
HCM City earns US$2bn in remittance
Seafood exports face barriers
Kiên Giang targets US$9.5 billion for socio-economic development by 2020
FastGo joins Viet Nam’s ride-hailing market
Vietnam targets US$200 bn garment, textile exports by 2035
Vietnam spends US$3.6 million on petrol imports
SBV continues net cash injections to support liquidity
Prudential commits long-term investment in Vietnam
Two "bottlenecks" in Fintech development in Vietnam
Vietnam bank loans up 6.16 pct at May 31 from end of 2017
Vietnam raises reference exchange rate - Xinhua
New decree clarifies PPP projects
Import restrictions ripple across Southeast Asia
Samsung Pay Expands Partnership With Banks: Customers Win
Vietnam's Techcombank shares drop 20 pct on debut

Food & Agriculture
Collectivize, industrialize, Vietnam farmers urged
Vietnamese coffee prices keep dipping
Technology can raise quality of agricultural products
Thailand, not Vietnam, is exporting 'pho' to the US

Health & Life Sciences
VCSC downgrade local pharmacy firm
Medical tourism in HCMC
Việt Nam begins testing HIV through saliva
No new health insurance cards next year
Early testing needed to minimize mother-to-child HIV transmission
Drastic plastic: Vietnam beach awash with tide of blue waste
Communication workshop held in response to immunization week
Dak Lak patient infected with A/H1N1 discharged from hospital
Vietnam improves capacity in non-communicable disease treatment
Lao drug traffickers arrested near border with Vietnam
Vietnam welcomes environmentally friendly waste treatment technologies
Turned off in Asia
Three A/H1N1 flu patients in Tien Giang discharged from hospital
Vietnam, Cambodia trimmed health spending

ICT
NA passes Cybersecurity Law
Internet streaming one up on traditional TV in Vietnam
Vietnam poised to build on IT outsourcing gains
Introducing the ChatWork platform for Vietnamese businesses
VTV intensifies co-operation with Cuban partners

Manufacturing
Sales of domestically-assembled cars overwhelm imported vehicles
As plastic sector booms, Vietnamese firms are easy prey
Heat on Vietnam car barriers rises

Travel & Tourism
There are still many 'land' for hotel investors
Tourism keeps Vietnam's ancient water puppets afloat

 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

PM stresses int’l co-operation at G7 Outreach Summit vietnamnews.vn 11th Jun 2018
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has proposed establishing an expanded co-operation forum between the Group of Seven (G7) and coastal nations in combating climate change and sea level rise, and protecting marine ecology. The forum aims to establish collaboration, share experience, transfer technologies and mobilise resources for climate change adaptation and response, the Vietnamese leader explained.

Vietnamese, Cuban businesses ink trade agreements VOV 8th Jun 2018
Vietnamese and Cuban businesses have signed five trade deals within the framework of Ho Chi Minh City’s Investment, Trade and Tourism Promotion Conference in Havana. The agreements aim to encourage the exchange of business delegations, create favourable conditions for the promotion of Vietnamese products in Cuba, assist each other in organising events, share information about consumers’ consumption trends and habits, and boost import-export.

National Affairs

Vincom Retail appoints new chairwoman vietnamnews.vn 13th Jun 2018
The Vincom Retail Joint Stock Corporation, a member of property developer Vingroup, has appointed Thái Thị Thanh Hải as its new chairwoman, starting on June 7. The appointment was made on Tuesday during the first meeting of the company’s board of directors (BOD) for the 2018-23 period.

The price of the special economic zone Saigon Times 12th Jun 2018
According to National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, the formation of Van Don, Van Van and Phu Quoc Special Administrative - Administrative Units Law (hereinafter referred to as the Special Law) is inevitable. can not rule out ". However, between the law and the establishment, successful operation of special economic zones still have many issues to clarify. This issue will focus on analyzing experiences from China and other countries in the establishment and operation of special zones, thus reflecting on Vietnam's situation.

VPBank officially launches the project for female entrepreneurs Saigon Times 12th Jun 2018
Recently, Small and Medium Enterprise Bank of Vietnam (VPBank SME) officially organized the launching ceremony of the project of "Providing support for female business owners". female leaders for more than 300 business women in Hanoi. The event is expected to bring new opportunities for capital, trading networks and multi-dimensional knowledge for women entrepreneurs.

Vietnam Parliament passes cyber law denounced in street protests The Straits Times 12th Jun 2018
Vietnam's National Assembly has passed a cyber security law requiring companies such as Alphabet Inc's Google and Facebook Inc to store all data of Vietnam-based users in the country and open local offices. The measure has drawn rare dissent from some lawmakers and government leaders as well as local tech groups, who sent a petition to the legislature that warned it would hurt the economy. Demonstrators on Sunday (June 10) protested nationwide against the Bill, saying it would limit free speech.

Vietnam to host English League Cup draw VnExpress International 12th Jun 2018
Vietnam will stage the draw for the first round of next season's English League Cup on Friday. The League Cup, won by Manchester City in February, is sponsored by a Thai energy drinks firm and two rounds of last year's tournament were also drawn in Asia in Bangkok and Beijing.

Vietnam protesters clash with police over economic zones law Washington Post 11th Jun 2018
Vietnamese protesters clashed with police over a proposed law on special economic zones they fear will be dominated by Chinese investors, while the National Assembly on Monday to put the legislation on hold for several months. State media reported that police in the south central province of Binh Thuan on Sunday night used tear gas and water cannons but failed to prevent protesters from entering a government building they later vandalized. A provincial government official said authorities dispersed the crowd shortly after midnight. The law would set regulations for the special economic zones of Van Don, Bac Van Phong and Phu Quoc. It was originally scheduled to be passed this week, but the government said over the weekend that the law which was designed to give a “boost to development and institutional experiments” to the regions would be delayed to allow more research. The National Assembly voted Monday to delay the law passage until the next session in October.

Vietnam arrests amid anti-China economic zone protests turn violent BBC News 11th Jun 2018
Scores of people have been detained by Vietnamese police amid protests against plans for special economic zones (SEZs) that many fear will be dominated by Chinese investors. Molotov cocktails and rocks were lobbed at the People's Committee Headquarters in south-eastern Binh Thuan province, where police said 102 people were held. The proposed law would give foreign investors 99-year leases on SEZ land. MPs had been set to vote on it this week but this has been delayed. The decision to postpone the vote in an attempt to defuse the protests was seen as a major concession by the ruling communist party in response to large-scale street demonstrations.

Vietnam Says ‘Anti-State’ Groups Incited Nationwide Protests Bloomberg.com 11th Jun 2018
Vietnam said the groups behind Sunday’s protestsagainst proposed laws demonstrators view as curbing Internet freedom and favoring Chinese investors were trying to damage the country’s image, after the rare display of public activism reportedly turned violent. Thousands of demonstrators from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City rallied against draft cyber and economic-zone laws being considered by the National Assembly that some view as curbing Internet freedom and favoring Chinese investors. Protesters in the southeast coastal province of Binh Thuan attacked the local People’s Committee with rocks and Molotov cocktails, setting ablaze motorbikes late in the evening, according to local media.

Vietnamese human rights lawyer freed, flies to Germany The Straits Times 8th Jun 2018
Vietnamese human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai has been freed from prison and flown to Germany, activists and a diplomat said on Friday (June 8), two months after he was convicted of attempting to overthrow the state and given a 15-year jail sentence. Mr Dai, founder of the group "Brotherhood for Democracy", was released from prison late on Thursday along with another group member, Ms Le Thu Ha, who was serving a nine-year prison sentence, the US-based human rights group Viet Tan said.

Vietnam bets on success of SEZs The Straits Times 6th Jun 2018
Although being late and facing many challenges, Vietnam must dare to play and bet on the success of special economic zones. Vietnam's Government has demonstrated its willpower to develop special economic zones (SEZs) which it hopes will spearhead the country's growth.

Vietnam court rejects appeal by airport bomb plotters The Straits Times 5th Jun 2018
A court in Vietnam has upheld prison sentences against 15 people it said are guilty of plotting to bomb the country's largest airport in Ho Chi Minh City last April, state media reported on Tuesday (June 5). Dang Hoang Thien, the leader of the group, was charged with"terrorism against the people's administration" in December last year and given a 16-year prison sentence. His associates were given 18 months' probation to 14 years in prison.

ASEAN

Vietnam cheers G7 for backing ASEAN on South China Sea dispute VnExpress International 10th Jun 2018
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has lauded G7 members for supporting the stance of ASEAN countries on disputes in the South China Sea, commonly known as the East Sea in Vietnam. ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, has said it is necessary to strengthen cooperation in ensuring security, safety, freedom of navigation and aviation, and called for peaceful settlement of disputes in the waters on the basis of respect for international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS). ASEAN countries also want concerned parties to respect diplomatic and legal processes that promote peace, stability and cooperation in the region and the world, Phuc told the expanded G7 Summit in Canada on Saturday.

Defense & Security

New law to scale down military-owned businesses vietnamnews.vn 11th Jun 2018
The National Assembly passed an amended Law on National Defense on Friday morning. A highlight in the amended law is to level the playing field between civilian businesses and those that were set up by the army, many of which came under fire during recent years. “There have been calls by lawmakers to draw a clear line between national defence and economic objectives for those businesses,” said head of the NA’s National Defence and Security Commission Võ Trọng Việt. The Ministry of Defence is working on a process to restructure such businesses with a goal to reduce their number from 88 to 17.

U.S. urges delay in vote on Vietnam's cybersecurity bill U.S. 8th Jun 2018
The United States has urged Vietnam to delay a vote on a proposed cybersecurity law, the U.S. Embassy said on Friday, amid widespread concern the law would cause economic harm and stifle online dissent in the communist-ruled country. Vietnamese lawmakers are set to vote on the proposed cybersecurity legislation this month. It aims to impose new legal requirements on internet companies and intensifies policing of online dissent. If passed, the law would require social media companies in Vietnam to remove offending content from their platforms within one day of receiving a request from the Ministry of Information and Communications, and Vietnam’s Ministry of Security, the government body tasked with dealing with dissent.

What’s Next for EU-Vietnam Defense Ties? The Diplomat 4th Jun 2018
Last week, Vietnam’s deputy defense minister led a high-ranking delegation for a security engagement with the European Union. The trip highlighted ongoing attempts by Hanoi to bolster collaboration with the EU in the defense realm despite the lingering challenges in advancing ties on this front. Though Vietnam has long had ties with select European states, Hanoi and the EU as a bloc have been expanding their ties over the past few years, with the framework for relations set out in the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PAC) that governs overall ties between the two parties that was signed in 2012 and took effect in 2016. But attention has tended to be primarily in the economic aspects of ties, particularly with the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement.

India-Vietnam Defense Ties in the Spotlight With Naval Exercise The Diplomat 4th Jun 2018
On May 21, three Indian naval ships began a five-day visit to the Vietnamese city of Da Nang, which is expected to culminate in a naval exercise between the two sides. Though this is just one of a series of scheduled defense engagements by the two sides expected in 2018, it has nonetheless once again put the spotlight on the growing security ties between the two Asian powers, including in the maritime realm. Vietnam and India have looked to advance their existing defense relationship as part of their wider ties, which were elevated to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2016. Both sides want to take advantage of opportunities in bilateral ties as well as address a series of shared challenges, including China’s growing maritime assertiveness. Defense ties have grown in recent years to include not just the traditional components in this realm of ties like exchanges and port calls but also the training of personnel, capacity-building funding and equipment, coast guard collaboration, and pacts on areas such as white shipping and outer space.

Economics

Việt Nam commits to stable business community vietnamnews.vn 12th Jun 2018
Việt Nam is committed to maintaining a stable environment to ensure the rights and interests of foreign businesses investing in the country, said Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình at the 24th International Conference on the Future of Asia in Tokyo on Monday. He said the Government would continue to work on the legal system and policies related to investment in a consistent and transparent manner. The Government would also strive to improve law enforcement, strengthening and focusing on solving problems for investors.

Deputy PM fields lawmakers’ concerns on SEZs, cryptocurrency: NA vietnamnews.vn 11th Jun 2018
Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ yesterday took the floor to answer National Assembly (NA) deputies’ questions on several socio-economic issues. For special economic zones, Vân Đồn, Bắc Vân Phong and Phú Quốc received particular attention from lawmakers, with questions ranging from human resources development, leadership selection, implications on the planning of seven economic regions and national security. Regarding cryptocurrencies, deputies asked Deputy PM Huệ on the Government’s plans for managing virtual currency, to which he said the State Bank has announced bitcoin as an illegitimate currency in Việt Nam. However, Deputy PM admitted there is a “robust market” for bitcoin transactions in the country, therefore ministries and agencies must study international practices to implement reasonable policies

Tag accountability to property tax, Vietnam advised VnExpress International 9th Jun 2018
Vietnam’s proposed property tax should be accompanied by accountability in the use of funds collected, World Bank officials say. In a meeting with government officials on Thursday, they also said that under the proposed regime, poorer families will end up paying a higher proportion of their properties’ value. The draft law proposed by the Ministry of Finance in April will have owners of an apartment, house or land worth VND700 million ($30,500) or more to pay an annual property tax of 0.4 percent of the amount over VND700 million. 1.8 million Vietnamese households will be affected by the tax, accounting for 7.2 percent of total number of households in Vietnam, World Bank representatives said.

Vietnam runs nearly US$45 billion trade surplus with G7 VOV - VOV Online Newspaper 9th Jun 2018
Vietnam recorded a trade surplus of US$44.95 billion with the G7 (France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the US and Canada) last year, according to the latest statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs. Bilateral trade between Vietnam and the G7 nations hit US$113 billion last year, a year-on-year rise of 9.5%, accounting for more than a quarter of the country’s total trade value. Of that figure, Vietnam’s exports to the G7 were US$78.98 billion, up 8.4% against the previous year, accounting for 36.7% of the country’s total exports, while imports reached US$34.03 billion, up 12.3% and holding 16% of the country’s import value.

World Bank raises 2018 growth forecast for Vietnam VnExpress International 9th Jun 2018
Vietnam’s economy might expand by 6.8 percent this year, the World Bank (WB) says in a new report, revising upwards its previous forecast of 6.5 percent in April. It estimates GDP at 6.6 percent in 2019 and 6.5 percent in 2020. The bank explained its upward revision on better prospects for the expansion of agriculture and production for exports, continued inflow of foreign direct investment thanks to bright economic prospects. If the actual growth rate matches projection, it will be the same as last year, which was the highest in a decade.

Energy

Binh Dinh approves US$63-million solar power project VOV 13th Jun 2018
Chairman of the People’s Committee of the south central province of Binh Dinh Ho Quoc Dung on June 12 approved a proposal of a solar power project worth VND1.44 trillion (US$63.36 million) in Tra O lagoon in My Chau commune, Phu My district. Invested by the Vietnam Renewable Energy JSC, the project uses 60 hectares of water surface and 0.6 hectares of land.

MPIC unit completes deal for Vietnam water firm BusinessWorld 12th Jun 2018
A UNIT of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) has completed the acquisition of a 49% stake in Vietnamese company that will allow its expansion into the Southeast Asian country’s industrial water concessions, the listed company told the stock exchange on Monday. MetroPac Water Investments Corp. (MPW) bought the shares in Tuan Loc Water Resources Investment Joint Stock Co. (TLW) for 865.6-billion Vietnamese dong, or equivalent to P2 billion. The company made the payment in cash.

Việt Nam spent $3.6 million on petrol imports vietnamnews.vn 12th Jun 2018
Việt Nam imported more than 5.56 million tonnes of oil and petroleum products worth nearly US$3.6 billion in the first five months of the year. The information was revealed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT). The figures showed year-on-year rises of 9.1 per cent and 38.2 per cent in terms of quantity and value, respectively. Petrol imports in May alone rose by 12.3 per cent. However, its value increased by 49.4 per cent compared to the same period last year due to the rise of the world oil prices.

Quảng Trị gets one more wind power plant vietnamnews.vn 11th Jun 2018
The central province of Quảng Trị is getting another wind power plant, thanks to a total investment of US$68 million from a domestic company. The province’s People’s Committee has approved an investment proposal by the Tân Hoàn Cầu Joint-Stock Company to build a wind power plant in the province’s mountainous Đakrông District. It will be the fifth wind power plant built in the province.

Coal consumption surges in Vietnam VnExpress International 9th Jun 2018
The Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) has topped its business goal for the first five months of the year with coal consumption reaching 17.6 million tons. This figure was 2.8 million tons over the same period last year. The nation’s consumption of 4.2 million tons of coal last month was the highest recorded in years, according to Vinacomin. High demand from power plants, fertilizer and cement makers are behind the surge in coal consumption, the government portal says. Increasing growth of electric generators, minerals and industrial explosive materials has also contributed. Vinacomin has reported a 22 percent year-on-year increase in revenue for the first five months at over VND52 trillion. It has contributed over VND5.9 trillion to the state budget.

Vietnam needs just one, not 26 coal power plants VnExpress International 7th Jun 2018
Vietnam needs just one, not 26 coal power plants Vietnamese environmental non-profit GreenID said Vietnam only needs to build one new coal power plant after 2020. Vietnam should remove 25 coal power plants from its post-2020 energy master plan, prevent massive environmental pollution and save a lot of money, experts say. At a conference on energy conservation held in Hanoi on Tuesday, they said that the coal power plants were not needed to sustain the national grid.

Vietnam launches design for clean energy future VOV 5th Jun 2018
Nguy Thi Khanh, Executive Director of the Green Innovation and Development Centre (GreenID), said the design is the result of a GreenID study on development scenarios for electricity sources in Vietnam. With criteria focusing on health benefit, feasible cost, and national energy security, the research showed Vietnam might not need to build coal-fired thermal power plants but still archive energy security at affordable prices. Nghiem Vu Khai, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA), said green energy is a smart move for Vietnam in response to climate change, as the country hold potential in solar and wind power.

Inflation Bogeyman Prompts Fuel Subsidies Across Southeast Asia Bloomberg.com 5th Jun 2018
Oil-fired inflation that threatens to shoot ever higher is prompting governments across Southeast Asia to give some relief to pinched consumers. From fuel subsidies to tax incentives, governments are exploring ways to put a lid on rising prices -- for fear that consumers will revolt at the ballot box, or pull back on spending. Central banks in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines have already raised interest rates this year to fight inflation and stabilize currencies as the U.S. tightens monetary policy. Elections loom in Thailand and Indonesia, and a new government in Malaysia is trying to boost support. Vietnam and the Philippines, too, are undertaking measures to control inflation across industries. “Oil prices are 50 percent higher than a year ago and in many countries in the region, core inflation is on the rise,” said Tamara Henderson, an economist at Bloomberg Economics in Singapore. “Consumption may be hampered in 2018 by weaker spending power, although government measures to support disposable incomes may contain the damage.”

Vietnam sets out green ambitions with bold targets for solar, rare earth Free Malaysia Today 4th Jun 2018
Vietnam plans to more than triple the amount of electricity it produces from renewable sources and push for a 26% increase in household solar energy usage by 2030, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc told Reuters in an interview. Speaking ahead of Vietnam’s participation in the expanded G7 summit that will be held in Canada from June 8 to 9, Phuc also said he hopes the country can utilise its roughly 20 million tonnes of rare earth reserves, which he said are the world’s third-largest, in building new energy technologies.

Financial Services

VN stocks up but worries remain vietnamnews.vn 13th Jun 2018
Vietnamese shares advanced on Wednesday on the back of large-caps but trading liquidity remained low to prove cautious investor sentiment and signal volatile sessions to come. The benchmark VN Index on the HCM Stock Exchange gained 0.96 per cent to end at 1,030.53 points, recovering from a slim fall made earlier in the day. The southern market index dropped 1.76 per cent on Tuesday.

HCM City earns US$2bn in remittance vietnamnews.vn 13th Jun 2018
Remittance inflows to HCM City in the first five months of this year reached US$2 billion, almost double compared to the first quarter of 2018. According to Nguyễn Hoàng Minh, deputy director of State Bank of Việt Nam’s HCM City branch, most of the remittance was invested in production and business instead of being poured into real estate, securities or savings as earlier.

Seafood exports face barriers vietnamnews.vn 13th Jun 2018
The seafood companies should work closer with various ministries such as trade and industry and foreign affairs to overcome trade barriers that hinder Vietnamese seafood exports, a top agriculture official said. Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Trần Thanh Nam, speaking at the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Việt Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) in HCM City yesterday, praised its efforts in the last two decades to apprise seafood producers about the market situation, advocate favourable policies for them and help exporters overcome technical barriers in major markets like the US and EU.

Kiên Giang targets US$9.5 billion for socio-economic development by 2020 vietnamnews.vn 13th Jun 2018
The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Kiên Giang aims to mobilise VNĐ215 trillion (US$ 9.5 billion) for socio-economic development by 2020 and VNĐ 1,000 trillion (US$ 45 billion) by 2030. The adjusted target was recently approved by the PM as part of a master plan to 2020 and towards 2030 for the province.

FastGo joins Viet Nam’s ride-hailing market vietnamnews.vn 13th Jun 2018
FastGo Việt Nam Company Limited under the NextTech Group launched its ride-hailing service, “FastGo,” here on Tuesday after three years of development. This is the first ride-hailing app to offer insurance to customers for all trips, not charge drivers for discounted rates and provide driver partners with many benefits.

Vietnam targets US$200 bn garment, textile exports by 2035 VOV 13th Jun 2018
With import tax cuts presented by free trade agreements (FTAs) to which, Vietnam is a member, increasing automation in production and quite favourable factors in the world market, the country’s garment and textile exports are forecast to hit US$200 billion by 2035. Vu Duc Giang, president of Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), says the US remains Vietnam’s largest garment importer, trailed by the EU and member countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Vietnam spends US$3.6 million on petrol imports VOV 13th Jun 2018
Vietnam imported more than 5.56 million tonnes of oil and petroleum products worth nearly 3.6 billion USD in the first five months of the year. The information was revealed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT). The figures showed year-on-year rises of 9.1% and 38.2% in terms of quantity and value, respectively.

SBV continues net cash injections to support liquidity vietnamnews.vn 13th Jun 2018
The State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) has continued net cash injections into the monetary market for three consecutive weeks to support the liquidity of the banking system. According to the latest report of the Bảo Việt Securities Company (BVSC) on the bond market, VNĐ36.74 trillion (US$1.61 billion) were continuously pumped into the market last week. In the two previous weeks, the central bank also pumped VNĐ3.4 trillion into the market.

Prudential commits long-term investment in Vietnam VOV - VOV Online Newspaper 12th Jun 2018
Prudential Vietnam has got approval from the Ministry of Finance to increase its chartered capital to VND4,128 billion (around US$181.8 million). The move affirmed the company’s commitment to make long-term investment in the Vietnamese market. Besides strengthening the company’s financial capacity, the additional capital will also enable Prudential Vietnam to further improve its products and services and expanding its reach across the country. In recent years, Prudential Vietnam has actively expanded its business activities and recorded strong growth. In 2017, it reported revenues of VND16,019 billion (some US$705.7 million), an increase of 20% year on year.

SE Asia Stocks-Vietnam snaps 8 sessions of gains, investors eye U.S. fed meeting Reuters 12th Jun 2018
Most Southeast Asian stock markets ended lower on Tuesday, with Vietnam shares snapping eight sessions of gains to close weaker, as investors took a cautious stance ahead of an expected interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Two "bottlenecks" in Fintech development in Vietnam Saigon Times 12th Jun 2018
The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) supports innovation, cooperation between commercial banks and Fintech. However, to balance the interests of consumers and promote innovation, government agencies also have difficulty in management, especially the two network security knots and data management.

The stock market rises Saigon Times 12th Jun 2018
The stock market on June 12 was in the red color from the beginning and despite the increase again but ended the trading session, both the floor fell, meaning that, The market has rallied up after some continuous gains. Selling pressure increased strongly at the beginning of the session has made the market sink in the red. Large capitalization stocks such as GAS, BVH, VIC, VHM, VJC ... along with BID, CTG, HDB, VPB, VCB ... fell sharply. In the morning session, VN-Index dropped 29.03 points (-2.79%) to 1,009.99 points. HNX-Index decreased 3.13 points (-2.64%) to 115.32 points.

Vietnam bank loans up 6.16 pct at May 31 from end of 2017 Reuters 11th Jun 2018
Vietnamese banks’ total loans at the end of May were 6.16 percent larger than at the end of 2017, the State Bank of Vietnam said on Monday. Bad debts accounted for 2.18 percent of total lending at the end of the first quarter, it said in a statement. Vietnam aims to keep toxic debts ratio under 3 percent of total loans, while the central bank has said it targets credit growth at 17 percent this year.

Vietnam raises reference exchange rate - Xinhua | English.news.cn Xinhua 11th Jun 2018
Source: Xinhua| 2018-06-11 11:57:01|Editor: zh HANOI, June 11 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam's central bank on Monday adjusted up its reference exchange rate between Vietnamese dong and U.S. dollar by nine Vietnamese dong to 22,567 Vietnamese dong per U.S. dollar.

New decree clarifies PPP projects vietnamnews.vn 6th Jun 2018
HÀ NỘI — The Government will abolish administrative procedures for issuing investment registration certificates for Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) projects, according to the new governmental Decree 63.

Vietnam considers blanket ban on import of cryptocurrency mining rigs VnExpress International 5th Jun 2018
Vietnam’s Finance Ministry wants a complete ban on the import of cryptocurrency mining rigs, saying many of them are being used to launch new virtual currencies and forms of payment. Such operations are very difficult to regulate, the ministry says. The proposal for a blanket ban was made on Monday, with the ministry saying that the rigs were being used to try and create new currencies and forms of payment that were difficult to regulate. It referred to the fraud that happened in Saigon in April, when 32,000 people lost VND1.5 trillion after investing in a company mining iFan and Pincoin coins.

Vietnam, Malaysia stocks post biggest falls in Asia-Pacific Reuters 5th Jun 2018
Asian stocks declined in May as political uncertainties in Italy added to the woes of regional markets, already hit by a surge in the dollar and concerns about U.S. protectionist trade policies. However, the index is up nearly 2 percent since the start of June as Italy’s anti-establishment parties formed a coalition government at the end of last week, helping to avert potentially destabilising snap elections that could have turned into a referendum on the country’s membership of the European Union. Vietnamese stocks, which hit a record high in April, were the biggest losers in the region in May as foreign interest waned. Overseas investors sold Vietnamese equities in 19 out of 22 sessions in May, according to exchange data. A heavy sell-off in emerging markets last month saw foreigners dump a combined $12.3 billion of bonds and stocks, figures from the Institute of International Finance showed on Tuesday. New Zealand, India and Vietnam stocks have the highest price-earnings ratio based on 12-month forward earnings in the region, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon data.

Import restrictions ripple across Southeast Asia Resource Recycling News 5th Jun 2018
Months after China ramped up restrictions on scrap imports, countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam are initiating similar, if less extensive, policies as officials try to get a handle on massive increases in shipments and improper use of permits.

Most SE Asian stocks gain; Singapore, Indonesia up nearly 1 percent VnExpress International 4th Jun 2018
Most SE Asian stocks gain; Singapore, Indonesia up nearly 1 percent Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Monday Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Monday, with Singapore gaining nearly 1 percent as upbeat sentiment following positive U.S. jobs data pushed global equities higher. Vietnam stocks rose as much as 0.9 percent, as materials and industrials extended gains from last week. Vietjet Aviation climbed nearly 7 percent while Vietcombank rose as much as 2.5 percent.

Samsung Pay Expands Partnership With Banks: Customers Win vietnamnews.vn 4th Jun 2018
Recently, Samsung has announced three brand new features on Samsung Pay: availability of the service on Gear S3, ATM cash withdrawals, and a Loyalty Card. By gently tapping the Samsung Gear S3 on POS terminals, users can confirm all purchases for movie tickets, coffee, and other goods, within only 15 seconds. ATM card holders of Shinhan Bank can also take advantage of the new features by withdrawing cash conveniently through Samsung Pay at ATM stations without the need for a physical card. They can also free themselves from the abundance of membership cards, royalty cards, and promotional vouchers with Samsung Pay’s capability to add and manage cards.

Vietnam's Techcombank shares drop 20 pct on debut VnExpress International 4th Jun 2018
Vietnam’s Techcombank saw its shares fall as much as 20 percent from their reference price on Monday, hitting the lowest trading limit allowed on a stock’s maiden day of trading. Techcombank, formally known as Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank, raised $922 million in April in one of Vietnam’s biggest offerings, aiming to expand aggressively into retail banking to capitalise on booming demand for an array of financial services. The shares are allowed to move 20 percent higher or lower than the reference price on the first day of listing, according to exchange trading rules. In morning trade, Techcombank hit a low of 102,400 dong ($4.49), falling from its 128,000 dong reference price.

SE Asia Stocks-Most markets end higher; Vietnam climbs 2 pct Reuters 4th Jun 2018
Most southeast Asian stock markets ended higher on Monday, with Vietnam and Singapore leading the gains, as robust U.S. jobs data pushed global equities higher and offset concerns of a trade war between the United States and the rest of the world. Vietnam stocks closed 2.1 percent higher to mark a third consecutive session of gains, bolstered by material and industrial shares. Vietjet Aviation closed nearly 7 percent higher and Vietcombank ended up about 4 percent.

Food & Agriculture

Collectivize, industrialize, Vietnam farmers urged VnExpress International 10th Jun 2018
Instead of working individually, Vietnamese farmers should band together and become “industrial workers,” an expert says. Dang Kim Son, former director of research with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said at the Vietnam Economic Forum on Tuesday that farmers need to join forces to take Vietnamese agriculture to the next level, applying advanced technology and engaging in large scale production. He said farmers need to work together under a co-operative system where their combined produce is sold by one representative organization, which will give them greater control over both input and output, Son said. Vietnam also needs to establish a research institute that provides data helping farmers to focus on cultivating the most productive fruits, he added.

Vietnamese coffee prices keep dipping VnExpress International 9th Jun 2018
Coffee price in Vietnam won't likely to climb in June 2018. Photo Coffee prices in the Central Highlands have been decreasing since the beginning of the year, and are not likely to recover any time soon, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The price stands at VND35,100–35,500 ($1.55-1.56) per kilogram, down VND400–600 from the end of last year. This is the lowest price in the last two months and Vietnamese farmers are holding on to their stock without selling, a ministry report said. It attributed the price to favorable weather in Brazil, the world’s top coffee exporter; and the start of a new season in Indonesia, another major producer and exporter.

Technology can raise quality of agricultural products VOV 6th Jun 2018
New technologies are key to advancing the agriculture sector in Vietnam, as they can boost products’ value to make them more competitive on the global market. Experts and specialists told a Vietnam Economic Forum conference yesterday that advanced technologies, including blockchain, could help companies, organisations and households in the agricultural sector raise productivity, save costs and create higher quality products.

Thailand, not Vietnam, is exporting 'pho' to the US VnExpress International 6th Jun 2018
Thailand, not Vietnam, is exporting 'pho' to the US Pho, the fragrant flat rice noodles soup served with beef or chicken, has given Vietnamese cuisine an iconic status. But the company making money by exporting an instant version of the soup to the US is based in Thailand. A representative of Charoen Pokphan Foods Plc (CPF) said at a recent meeting with Vietnamese businesses that the company’s Authentic Asian Chicken Pho Noodle Soup is enjoying great sales in the US. The number of restaurants that serve Vietnamese pho in the U.S. reached 8,900 in 2014 and is increasing, the CPF representative said, citing a study by the Institute for Immigration Research.

Health & Life Sciences

VCSC downgrade local pharmacy firm vietnamnews.vn 12th Jun 2018
The Việt Dragon Securities Company (VCSC) has forecast a bleak outlook on sluggish sales and rising input costs for Hậu Giang Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company (DHG). The company has downgraded the potential growth of DHG to 'Underperform', VCSC said in its report. VCSC predicts that the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of DHG’s after-tax profit in the 2017-2020 period would stand at only 3 per cent per year.

Medical tourism in HCMC Saigon Times 12th Jun 2018
Travel combined with medical care is emerging as a preferred tourist trend in the world. Department of Tourism and Health Department of Ho Chi Minh City has recently released the Travel Health Guide, introducing the basic information on the medical tourism system in the city for domestic and foreign visitors. According to the Department of Health, there are now 114 public and private hospitals in HCMC; 318 clinics, 196 polyclinics, nearly 6,000 private clinics. However, this first edition of the manual only introduces 14 hospitals voluntarily register to participate in medical tourism services, meeting the criteria of the medical and tourism services on the price of the basis material, medical examination and treatment services for foreigners.

Việt Nam begins testing HIV through saliva vietnamnews.vn 11th Jun 2018
The oral HIV quick test method will be launched in Việt Nam for the first time, an official of Ministry of Health’s (MoH) Việt Nam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC) said. The MoH will be conducting 80,000 tests in Hanoi, HCM City, and in the Thái Nguyên Province, Cần Thơ City and Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province.

No new health insurance cards next year: VSI vietnamnews.vn 6th Jun 2018
Nguyen Hoang Phuong, deputy director of the Information Technology Centre at VSI, said at a press conference on Wednesday that the VSI system would continue to update participants’ data without the need to change the card every year as in the past. The social insurance agency will renew the validity of the cards in the system and send the list to card holders’ management units, Phương said, adding that the cards provided to insurers in 2017 and 2018 will continue to be used in the following years. Individuals and organisations can look up information, such as the participation process, validity of the card and health insurance agents, by visiting https://baohiemxahoi.gov.vn or calling the operator directly at 1900-96.96.68 for consultation. Based on information available on the system, the insured person can decide the time and where to apply for health insurance.

Early testing needed to minimise mother-to-child HIV transmission VOV 5th Jun 2018
This is the main message of the action month to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission in June 2018. The purpose of the action month is to promote the involvement of the entire political system and people in reducing the rate of mother-to-child HIV transmission to below 2% by 2020. It also aims to raise the awareness of people from all walks of life, especially pregnant women and spouses of people with HIV, of the benefits of early HIV testing. Activities held during the month also look to reduce discriminations against HIV-infected pregnant women and their children.

Drastic plastic: Vietnam beach awash with tide of blue waste The Straits Times 4th Jun 2018
here's almost more plastic than sand on this long, tree-lined beach in Vietnam: Plastic helmets, plastic furniture and the plastic leg of a shop mannequin all jut out of an ocean of blue plastic bags. Just south of the capital Hanoi, the once-peaceful and clean beach of Da Loc in Vietnam's Thanh Hoa province, has been slowly suffocating under the weight of plastic waste for decades. "Plastic bags have been waste here since the first day we started using them," said Pham Thi Lai, 60, a local seafood processor.

Communication workshop held in response to immunisation week VOV 12th Jun 2018
A communication workshop was held in Hanoi on June 12 in response to the immunisation week. Director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) Dang Duc Anh said the week is carried out this month with a view to increasing the effective implementation of the national expanded vaccination against infectious diseases. This is a practical activity to raise public awareness of the importance of vaccination and call for the involvement and investment of authorities at levels and domestic and foreign organisations, he added. According to the NIHE, the coverage of immunisation in the first three months of 2018 was in progress. Specifically, the rate of infants receiving hepatitis B vaccines within the first 24 hours after birth was 16.9%, higher than the same period last year (16.2%).

Dak Lak patient infected with A/H1N1 discharged from hospital VOV 12th Jun 2018
A female patient infected with A/H1N1 flu has been discharged from hospital, according to Dak Lak’s provincial department of health. The patient, Le Thi Kim Trang from Buon Don district, was in stable health after nearly 10 days of treatment at the provincial hospital. On June 3, the Dak Lak polyclinic admitted the female patient, who was hospitalized due to bellyache, vomiting, and diarrhea. She was diagnosed with infectious diarrhea.

Vietnam improves capacity in non-communicable disease treatment VOV 12th Jun 2018
Early diagnosis, treatment and management of non-communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes at communal medical stations were updated at a training course workshop for lecturers major in the field held in Hanoi on June 11. The event, the second of its kind organised by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO), aimed to strengthen health care at the grassroots level, and reduce workload at central hospitals.

Lao drug traffickers arrested near border with Vietnam VOV 12th Jun 2018
Three Lao nationals were caught red-handed trafficking 10 bricks of heroin, 31,000 meth pills, 2 kg of opium and four guns near the shared border with Vietnam on June 11. The three men were found trading drugs in a village in May district, the Lao province of Phongsaly, which shares the border with Vietnam’s northern mountainous province of Dien Bien during a joint operation between the two provinces’ armed forces. They are alleged to be drug wholesalers and have transported drugs from Laos to Vietnam.

Vietnam welcomes environmentally friendly waste treatment technologies VOV 12th Jun 2018
The Vietnamese Government, ministries and localities always welcome advanced and environmentally-friendly waste treatment technologies at reasonable prices, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has said. Dung made the statement while receiving Sebastian Rose, sales director of Germany’s INTEC company, which has 30-year experience in industrial waste treatment, in Hanoi on June 11.

Turned off in Asia Bangkok Post 11th Jun 2018
Canada last week became the first G7 country to legalise recreational cannabis use with a Senate vote, and commercial sales are expected to start by the fourth quarter of this year. Australia legalised the plant for medicinal use in 2016 and legal recreational use is now being discussed. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has pledged to hold a referendum on pot legalisation before the next general election in 2021. Marijuana laws in many countries in Europe are also relaxed, but Asia is a different story. Recreational use of marijuana is still illegal in all Asian countries with harsh penalties in many. You can be also be sentenced to death if you are considered a trafficker in Malaysia, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. Given the strict rules applied to users and sellers, it's no surprise that Asia is home to seven of the world's 10 most expensive cities to buy marijuana. A gramme costs US$30.55 in Tokyo and $23.21 in Bangkok, compared with less than $10 in most cities in North America.

Three A/H1N1 flu patients in Tien Giang discharged from hospital VOV 6th Jun 2018
Three A/H1N1 flu patients were discharged from hospital and isolated for observation in their families on June 5, according to the Preventive Medical Centre under Tien Giang province’s Health Department.

Vietnam, Cambodia trimmed health spending VOV 6th Jun 2018
While most of the emerging markets in Asia has increased its overall spending on health as a share of GDP since 2000, Cambodia and Vietnam have trimmed their allocations to health, according to ANZ Research on Greater Mekong Economic Outlook.

ICT

Vietnam lawmakers approve cyber law, tighten rules on Google, Facebook The Straits Times 12th Jun 2018
Vietnamese lawmakers approved a controversial cyber security law on Tuesday (June 12), voting amid tight security following weekend protests over other legislation that turned violent in some parts of the communist country. The law, approved by 91 per cent of attending lawmakers, would require Facebook, Google and other global technology firms to store locally "important" personal data on users in Vietnam and open offices in the country. The companies have pushed back against the provisions.

Vietnam says cybersecurity law needed to ensure national security VnExpress International 12th Jun 2018
Vietnamese lawmakers vote on the cybersecurity law in Hanoi on Tuesday. Vietnam’s main legislative body, the National Assembly, has passed a law on cybersecurity that would require digital businesses like Facebook and Google to store the data of Vietnamese users in Vietnam. 423 members of parliament, accounting for 86 percent of those present, voted in favor of the law. 15 MPs voted against it and 28 abstained. The new cybersecurity law bans internet users from organizing, encouraging or training other people for anti-state purposes.

Internet streaming one up on traditional TV in Vietnam VnExpress International 12th Jun 2018
Vietnam is seeing a trend of people switching from traditional TV to over-the-top (OTT) media services which allow them to watch movies and other shows on the internet. In a recent survey done by Kantar Media Vietnam, an information and consultancy group, 84 percent of the respondents aged 15-54 said they use the internet every day. In Hanoi, people spend 229 minutes each day on the internet, almost an hour and a half higher than the time for TV, which is only 145 minutes, the survey found. A significant 45 percent of respondents in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, the central city of Da Nang and southern Can Tho said they watched video on demand (VOD).

NA passes Cybersecurity Law vietnamnews.vn 12th Jun 2018
The National Assembly on Tuesday morning passed the Law on Cybersecurity, with majority voting yes to the controversial bill. Four hundred and twenty-three deputies voted to approve the bill, accounting for 86.86 per cent of the those present at the assembly hall, while only 15 voted against it. Twenty-eight deputies abstained. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2019. The law requires all internet-related service providers, regardless of whether they are foreign or domestic companies, to open a representative office and maintain a customer database in servers based in Việt Nam in exchange for authorisation to operate legally in the country.

Vietnam poised to build on IT outsourcing gains VnExpress International 12th Jun 2018
Vietnam continues to be a favored outsourcing destination for multinational companies even as the current leader, India, experiences some hiccups. A recent article in the Forbes magazine said in its title that Vietnam was a “small but mighty powerhouse” for IT outsourcing. It said giant technology companies like Intel, IBM, Samsung Display, Nokia, and Microsoft continue to invest in Vietnam’s growing tech workforce.

Introducing the ChatWork platform for Vietnamese businesses Saigon Times 12th Jun 2018
ChatWork (Japan) today, 12-6, has officially introduced the ChatWork platform, application integration features such as text chat, voice call, picture call, split file ... dedicated to management activities, business of enterprises, to the Vietnamese market. Exchanging with Saigon Times Online on the sideline of business conferences with Vietnamese businesses organized by ChatWork, said Duong Hoang Anh Nguyen, vice president of market development, ChatWork's marketing division. The company has an official meeting with businesses and partners in Vietnam despite having been in the market for two years.

VTV intensifies co-operation with Cuban partners vietnamnews.vn 11th Jun 2018
Vietnam Television (VTV) and the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television (ICRT) will exchange television products and collaborate in production as well as personnel training, especially in the field of digital television, over the next three years. An agreement was signed by VTV General Director Trần Bình Minh and ICRT President Alfonso Noya Martinez during their talks in Cuba as part of the former’s four-day visit to the Caribbean country that ended on Sunday.

Laos

World Highways - Plans for Laos-Vietnam highway AEC News Today 6th Jun 2018
Plans are being drawn up in Laos for the new highway connecting its capital Vientiane with Hanoi, the capital of neighbouring Vietnam. The project is expected to cost in excess of US$4.5 billion, with much of the Laos section of the route running parallel to the existing Road N0 13 South. The route will be 707km long, crossing the border between Namphao in Laos and Cau Treo in Vietnam. Three potential routes have been evaluated for the highway in Laos and two in Vietnam but the most costly have already been rejected. It now looks as if the route through Borikhamxay Province in Laos is favoured. And for Vietnam, the route through Nghe An Province is seen as more suitable, due in part to its lower cost. Financing for the project has yet to be finalised.

Manufacturing

Sales of domestically-assembled cars overwhelm imported vehicles vietnamnews.vn 13th Jun 2018
A total of 23,065 automobiles were sold in the domestic market in May, up 9 per cent against the previous month, the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAMA) said. Sales of passenger cars increased 13 per cent, with 15,397 units sold. Meanwhile, 6,890 commercial and 778 special-purpose vehicles were sold in May, representing a decrease of 8 per cent and 36 per cent, respectively.

As plastic sector booms, Vietnamese firms are easy prey VnExpress International 12th Jun 2018
Major Vietnamese plastics firms are being taken over in a big way by foreign firms from Thailand, Japan and South Korea. In April, Thai business conglomerate Siam Cement Group (SCG) acquired over 50 percent of shares in Binh Minh Plastics (BMP), a big player in Vietnam’s plastics industry. Previously, SCG had already poured in $121 million to acquire seven other Vietnamese plastics firms, according to local media reports. Japan is also gearing up to conquer Vietnam’s plastics sector. Japan-based Sekisui Chemical has become a strategic partner in Tien Phong Plastics, acquiring 25 percent of the company’s shares last year, and Japan’s Meiwa Pax Group has paid $16.5 million to buy HCMC-based packaging firm Sapaco. South Korea firms have also jumped into the fray, with packaging firm Dongwon Systems acquiring over 97 percent of Tan Tien Plastics in 2016. Tan Tien is a frontrunner in Vietnam’s packaging industry, and a major partner for several big companies operating in Vietnam, such as Unilever, Ajinomoto, Trung Nguyen or Vinamilk. Vietnam has become a ripe destination for foreign firms because the plastics industry has been booming. For the last 3 years, it has grown by 15-17 percent each year.

Heat on Vietnam car barriers rises Bangkok Post 12th Jun 2018
The commerce and industry ministries are escalating demands that the Vietnamese government eliminate non-tariff barriers on cars imported from Thailand, as Thai car shipments to Vietnam have stalled for over six months. Thailand is pressuring Vietnam to eliminate its non-tariff barriers on completely built-up (CBU) cars exported from Thailand. Thai exporters suspended their car shipments after Vietnam tightened inspections for all CBUs at seaports earlier this year. CBU cars are required to undergo tests in a Vietnamese laboratory to ensure they meet environmental and emissions standards.

Travel & Tourism

There are still many 'land' for hotel investors Saigon Times 12th Jun 2018
According to information from Savills Hotels Asia Pacific, a unit specializing in hotel development and investment consultancy, there has been a strong growth in the number of international branded hotels and hotel operators. Outside Vietnam in the past few years. In the past three years, there have been new entrants to the market such as Ozo and X2 Vibe in New Hoi An City, Double Tree by Hilton in Ha Long, Vung Tau and Hanoi, Four Seasons in Quang Nam and Hanoi, Oakwood in Ho Chi Minh City, Glow in Da Nang, Mai House in Ho Chi Minh City and most recently Mandarin Oriental in Ho Chi Minh City. Accordingly, many foreign management units are very focused on expanding the Vietnamese market, especially the resort market.

Tourism keeps Vietnam's ancient water puppets afloat The Business Times 12th Jun 2018
IN a darkened theatre in central Hanoi, a wooden dragon emerges from a pool to the sound of cymbals crashing in a traditional water puppet show that lures hundreds of tourists daily but is largely shunned by locals. Backstage behind a thin bamboo screen, around 20 puppeteers slosh around waist-deep in rubber overalls wielding the marionettes with long rods. "The puppets are pretty heavy . . . and the water also creates resistance," said puppeteer Nguyen Thu Hoai, who swapped her galoshes for flip-flops between sold-out shows.