Vietnam Update: May 6, 2020

Vietnam Update | May 6, 2020
Authors: Hai Pham and Minh Vu
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 
Food & Agriculture Industry Mission to Vietnam - Tentatively planned for Q4 2020
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Vietnam Eyeing Economic Recovery After COVID-19 Pandemic

After Vietnam lifted Directive 16 on national limited isolation, the country entered a new phase to revitalize the economy after the pandemic. Despite the IMF forecasting Vietnam’s GDP growth rate at 2.7 percent in 2020 due to the pandemic, on May 5, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc set a target of over 5 percent of GDP growth and inflation rate below 4 percent for this year. He requested ministries, agencies, and localities offer support to firms, continue improving the business environment, and step up major projects, including US$1.6 billion worth of public investment by the Transport Ministry, in order to create a driving force for the economy. Specifically, he outlined five pillars of actions critical to economic recovery including: attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), boosting exports, stepping up public investment, attracting investment from the private sector, and promoting domestic consumption. The Prime Minister also said the Government had agreed to issue a thematic Resolution that addressed tax and fee exemptions or reductions; extending payment time for export tax and special consumption tax on domestically assembled and manufactured cars until the end of December; allowing special entry procedures for foreign experts, business managers and technical workers; and promoting disbursement of public investment. The Government has assigned the Ministry of Finance (MOF), Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), and the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) to coordinate an economic recovery plan.

Different economic outlooks for Vietnam have forecasted varying growth rates. The Standard Chartered Bank forecasted Vietnam’s GDP growth rate at 3.3 percent in 2020 whereas the ADB’s Asian Economic Outlook forecasted Vietnam’s growth rate at 4.8 percent. On the other hand, The Economist ranked Vietnam as the 12th financially strongest economy out of the 66 countries, being in the safe group thanks to stable and strong financial indicators. In Q1 2020, Vietnam managed a 3.8 percent GDP growth rate thanks to measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. For instance, the State Bank of Vietnam instructed banks to restructure debts worth US$2.6 billion, cut interest rates for existing borrowers worth US$150 million, and issue new loans with preferential interest rates totaling US$21.8 billion during the pandemic. Looking forward, the Ministries are proposing a range of policy options to achieve the 5 percent growth rate target set by PM Phuc. The MOF has proposed reducing fees in supporting industries, including construction, tourism, and resource extraction. In addition, the MOF proposed changes to the MOIT for the Law on Value-added Tax, Law of Special Consumption and Law on Personal Income to simplify the tax code and push for administrative reforms for the manufacturing sector and support industries. On the other hand, the MPI and the MOIT are working to simplify regulations and administrative processes for businesses.

Vietnam Government Issued Draft National Strategy on Industry 4.0

On May 2, the Vietnamese Government issued the Draft National Strategy on Industry 4.0 to outline specific targets for the country to harness Industry 4.0 to advance economic growth and increase competitiveness. In the press release, the Government cited the Boston Consulting Group that Vietnam’s GDP may increase by US$28.5 billion up to US$62.1 billion or an increase of 7 to 16 percent by 2030 depending on the level of technology adopted by businesses, generating 1.3 to 3.1 million jobs in the process. Toward that goal, the Draft outlines specific targets by 2025 and measures to implement the strategy, including improving the quality of institutional environment and policymaking ability, the capacity of research and innovation of businesses, the development of a qualified workforce, and the development of e-Government and digital infrastructure. The Draft aims that by 2025 the digital economy will account for around 20 percent of GDP, and that social investment for research and development will account for at least 1.5 percent of GDP. In addition, by 2030, Vietnam aims to expand 5G coverage nationwide and raise the digital economy’s contribution to GDP to 30 percent.

The Draft National Strategy comes as Vietnam expects to become an early adopter in the global race to release 5G technologies and services. Vietnam's Ministry of Information and Communications has been issuing licenses to telecommunication companies for testing and servicing 5G, including Viettel, MobiFone, and most recently VinaPhone who successfully tested its 5G network in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on May 4. The test results showed that the 5G network achieved a download throughput of more than 2.2. Gbps, close to the world’s 5G standards and the best 5G test results ever achieved in Vietnam. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the reliance on the digital economy and the development still needed for the ICT infrastructure, evident in the shift to remote work structure and telemedicine. Vietnam-based human resources consultancy Navigos Group released a report on April 24 showing that more than 90 percent of IT firms want to hire more staff and expand their businesses after the pandemic. The Ministry of Science and Technology reported that more than 90 technology startups have registered to provide digital technology solutions to help businesses and individuals maintain their normal operation during the pandemic.

Vietnam Planned to Restart Tourism Market, Issued Safety Guidelines During COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely restricted movement of people across Southeast Asia in the past few months, incurring significant losses to the regional tourism industry. In a statement by the Vietnam Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) to the ASEAN Special Tourism Ministers Meeting on COVID-19 on April 29, the number of incoming international tourists to Vietnam in Q1 2020 decreases by 18.1 percent while domestic tourists decrease by 48 percent year-on-year. According to a survey done by the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Council (TAB) and the Private Economic Development Research Board with nearly 400 tourism and travel firms between April 13 and 17, 77 percent of tourism and travel firms estimated their Q2 revenue would fall by more than 80 percent year-on-year. The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) also reported that the Vietnam tourism industry is estimated to have lost US$7.7 billion due to the pandemic.

To revitalize the tourism sector once the pandemic is contained, on April 9, the MCST issued Official Dispatch 1399 to propose a US$2.66 billion stimulus package assisting affected tourism businesses and laid-off workers and to outline different plans to restart tourism activities as Vietnam and the region eases restriction of movement. After Vietnam lifted Prime Minister’s Directive 16 on national limited isolation on April 22, the MCST began implementing the “Safe Vietnam Tourism” program to prevent the spread of COVID-19, issuing safety recommendations to travel agencies, accommodation venues and destinations. Accordingly, tourism agencies are requested to employ measures including spraying antiseptic, distributing free masks, placing antiseptic solution in public places and reception areas, and reminding tourists and employees to wear masks and wash their hands. After Directive 16 was lifted, tourism attractions and services have begun reopening across Vietnam, including provinces like Cao Bang, Kien Giang, Thanh Hoa, Lam Dong, Binh Thuan, Lao Cai, Quang Nam, Ca Mau, Quang Binh, and Ba Ria Vung Tau. Following the reopening, the VNAT Deputy General Director said that Vietnam's domestic tourism industry could recover by the end of year. In addition to the domestic reopening, MCST also outlined plans for the tourism industry when other neighboring countries and the world declaring the pandemic is contained, including a communications campaign “Vietnam NOW – Safety and Smiling” which is a tourism stimulus program with preferential package for domestic and regional tourists.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development Draft National Technical Regulation on Phytosanitary Requirements for Imported Regulated Articles

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam (MARD) has issued a Draft National Technical Regulations (NTR) on phytosanitary requirements for imported regulated articles. The objective of the draft NTR is to regulate the quarantine requirements of imported plants. The draft NTR sets a zero tolerance on all plant quarantine pests regulated under Circular 35/2014/TT-BNNPTNT issued in 2014. Vietnam has notified these measures to the World Trade Organization as SPS Notification VNM112 and is allowing trade partners and stakeholders to submit comments by May 17, 2020.

Kindly find the Draft NTR in Vietnamese here and an unofficial translation of the draft NTR in English here.

Please submit your comments to Thao Nguyen (tnguyen@usasean.org) and Hai Pham (hpham@usasean.org) by COB Thursday, May 14, 2020 SGT (in both English and Vietnamese). Following this deadline, the Council will consolidate the inputs and create a final submission to share with MARD.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
National Affairs
Vietnam suggests completing institutional framework on climate change

COVID-19
No community transmission case of COVID-19 over last 16 days
US grants Vietnam US$9.5 million to combat COVID-19
After aggressive mass testing, Vietnam says it contains coronavirus outbreak
Vietnam increases frequency of all transportation routes from April 29
Social distancing restrictions to be eased in Hà Nội and HCM City

Customs
Vietnam abolishes regulation on export licensing for medical face masks
Việt Nam’s plain MDF board faces anti-dumping investigation in India
US cuts anti-dumping taxes on Vietnamese catfish products
Vietnam enjoys trade surplus of US$12.4 billion with the US in Q1
Anti-dumping investigation underway into imported polyester yarn

Economics
PM requests achieving growth of over 5% this year
Foreign groups step up plans to enter or expand in Vietnam
10 solutions put forward to reopen the economy
Việt Nam among safe economies after COVID-19: Economist
Standard Chartered lowers Việt Nam 2020 growth forecast to 3.3%
Many sectors will recover quickly due to high market demand: experts
April CPI down 1.54%
E-commerce fails to tap pandemic rise in demand: report
Vietnam under pressure to speed up SOE privatization in 2020

Energy
Wind power plant set to operate in Ninh Thuận
Watson Farley & Williams assists Vietnam floating solar project financing 
Vietnam's gasoline, gasoil oversupply woes to persist even as government eases movement controls | S&P Global Platts
Vietnam Set to Make Aquaculture Farming Sustainable with Solar Energy
Enercon wins 310MW wind turbine contract in Vietnam

Financial Services
Overdue debt surges at Vietnam banks
Unusual Q1 upsurge in corporate bond issuance
Vietnam's P2P lenders suffer high default rates amid rising demand for loans
Banks urged to further support COVID-19 affected customers
More regulations needed for P2P lending
Afternoon News Roundup: Vietnam's e-commerce enabler OnPoint raises US$8M funding
Payments Startup GPay Awarded Vietnam License

Food & Agriculture
Vietnam forecast to face historic heat waves in 2020
Việt Nam urged to tap global supply chain for halal products
PM allows rice export resumption from May 1
First White Book on Vietnamese Co-operatives released
Vietnam to select top priority industries to support in the ‘new normal’

Health & Life Sciences
BuyMed gets US$2.5 million in pre-Series A funding
Medical supplies to Cambodian Army from Vietnamese Army

ICT
Vietnam service providers jump high in global telecom brand rankings
VNPT’s VinaPhone 5G network reaches 2.2 Gbps
Vietnamese IT firms thrive during Covid-19
Draft National Strategy on Industry 4.0: Gov’t targets to expand 5G coverage nationwide by 2030
Intellectual property vital for firms: experts
Digital economy expected to add 30% to GDP by 2030
More than 90% of IT firms seek to expand after COVID-19

Infrastructure
Building material sector to benefit from speeding up disbursement of public investment
Expressway through Vietnam national park poised to open
Quang Ninh commences construction of VND2.1 trillion Cua Luc 1 Bridge
Central city calls for $604 million IZs investment
Huế, Đà Nẵng call for $215 million property investment projects
Ministry of Transport approves Buon Ma Thuot city bypass
Hanoi approves plan to implement two urban metro lines

Manufacturing
Downturn in Vietnamese manufacturing sector intensifies
Four-month industrial production hits record low due to COVID-19
Industrial land prices rise despite pandemic

Travel & Tourism
Vietnam ensures tourist safety amid COVID-19
Indian Gov’t finances restoration of My Son Sanctuary core area
Foreign tourist arrivals down 37.8 percent in first four months
New community tour sites to be built in Da Nang
Tourism attractions and services start to be reopened around Vietnam
Ministry prepares plans on recovery of tourism market
Geo-Park earmarked for recognition
Central city to restore national relic sites
Most tourism firms forecast 80 per cent revenue drop
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
National Affairs

Vietnam suggests completing institutional framework on climate change VietnamPlus 23rd Apr 2020
Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, head of the Vietnamese mission to the United Nations, has suggested further discussing to complete an institutional framework on climate change issues. He called on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to continue monitoring and strengthening the mechanism to provide information on potential risks due to climate change that might affect international peace and security, while addressing the UNSC’s online meeting on climate change and security risks on April 22. Vietnam shares the difficulties of small island developing states, West Africa, Sahel and Lake Chad area, which are coping with the impact of climate change such as natural disasters, extreme weather patterns, depletion of natural resources, and rising sea level, he said.

COVID-19

No community transmission case of COVID-19 over last 16 days VGP News 2nd May 2020
Viet Nam has gone 16 days without new community transmission cases of COVID-19, the Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control reported Saturday afternoon.This means the country’s patient tally remain unchanged at 270, of whom 219 have recovered and exited hospitals.

US grants Vietnam US$9.5 million to combat COVID-19 SGGP English Edition 2nd May 2020
The funds will be utilised to bring much needed resources to bear immediately, including supporting private sector recovery by mitigating the financial impacts of the pandemic on small and medium-sized-sized enterprises (SMEs), addressing the non-financial impacts facing SMEs, and partnering with Government of Vietnam stakeholders to bolster the government’s relief interventions. The US aid package also includes a previously announced US$4.5-million medical assistance for the Vietnamese Government to prepare laboratory systems and activate case-finding and event-based surveillance.

After aggressive mass testing, Vietnam says it contains coronavirus outbreak Reuters 30th Apr 2020
The government is officially reporting a relatively small 270 cases and zero deaths. That puts the country on course to revive its economy much sooner than most others, according to several public health experts interviewed by Reuters. These public health experts say Vietnam was successful because it made early, decisive moves to restrict travel into the country, put tens of thousands of people into quarantine and quickly scaled up the use of tests and a system to track down people who might have been exposed to the virus. As of Wednesday, 213,743 tests had been conducted in Vietnam, of which 270 were positive, according to health ministry data.

Vietnam increases frequency of all transportation routes from April 29 hanoitimes.vn 29th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Transport has allowed all the provinces and cities to increase the frequency of aircraft, trains and bus passenger transport from April 29 after loosening social distancing orders were loosened and the country will enter a four-day national holiday starting April 30.

Social distancing restrictions to be eased in Hà Nội and HCM City vietnamnews.vn 22nd Apr 2020
Social distancing restrictions will be eased in Hà Nội from April 23 as Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc agreed to downgrade the city from the COVID-19 high-risk group to medium-risk. Some areas of the city like Thường Tín, Mê Linh and places with many infection cases are still classified as high risk and ordered to continue strict social distancing measures, the Cabinet leader said at a Government meeting on social distancing policies on Wednesday afternoon. Along with Hà Nội, HCM City, Bắc Ninh and Hà Giang provinces are also in the medium-risk category.

Customs

Vietnam abolishes regulation on export licensing for medical face masks SGGP English Edition 3rd May 2020
The Vietnamese Government has just issued Resolution No.60/NQ-CP to abolish export licensing for medical face masks. Previously, the Government issued Resolution No.20/NQ-CP to regulate export licensing for medical face masks on February 28. Accordingly, the Ministry of Health reported the development of the disease and domestic demand of face masks in the country to the Prime Minister who will decide proper management basing on the country’s reality.

Việt Nam’s plain MDF board faces anti-dumping investigation in India vietnamnews.vn 29th Apr 2020
Việt Nam is among several countries to face India’s anti-dumping investigation on plain medium density fibre (MDF) board with thickness of less than 6mm, the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has said. The Indian Ministry of Commerce’s Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has began its investigation into alleged dumping of products coded 4411.12, 4411.13, 4411.92, 4411.93 and 4411.94 originating in or exported from Việt Nam, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, the authority said.

US cuts anti-dumping taxes on Vietnamese catfish products vietnamnews.vn 28th Apr 2020
The US Department of Commerce (DOC) has lowered anti-dumping duties on tra fish (pangasius) products from Việt Nam following the official conclusion of its 15th period of review (POR15) from August 1, 2017 to July 31, 2018, according to the Trade Remedies Authorities of Vietnam under the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoIT). The final anti-dumping taxes on Vietnamese products have been set at US$0.15 per kilogramme (equivalent to 3.8 per cent of the export price), lower than the final results for POR14 at $1.37 per kilogramme.

Vietnam enjoys trade surplus of US$12.4 billion with the US in Q1 Nhan Dan Online 26th Apr 2020
Trade revenue between Vietnam and the United States climbed to US$19.5 billion in the first quarter of 2020, with the Southeast Asian country enjoying a trade surplus of US$12.4 billion, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs. Specifically, Vietnam exported US$15.95 billion worth of commodities to the US market between January and March, representing a year-on-year increase of 19.9% and accounting for 25.5% of the total value.

Anti-dumping investigation underway into imported polyester yarn VietnamPlus 23rd Apr 2020
The Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam under the Ministry of Industry and Trade has sent questionnaires to all relevant foreign producers and exporters to serve the anti-dumping investigation into polyester filament yarn (PFY) imported from China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia. The businesses must reply before 17:00 on May 28 (Hanoi time), the Authority said, adding that in case it receives late response or inaccurate and inadequate information, it will use existing information to issue decisions in accordance with the Law on Foreign Trade Management. The information and data to be provided and the right to information access of concerned parties during the investigation will be ensured in line with legal regulations on information safety.

Economics

PM requests achieving growth of over 5% this year Nhan Dan Online 5th May 2020
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has requested striving for an economic growth of over 5 percent and controlling inflation below 4 percent this year. Concluding the April Government meeting in Hanoi on May 5, PM Phuc said the Government would not accept a growth rate of 2.7 percent as forecast by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Government leader asked ministries, agencies and localities to offer support to firms, continue improving business environment, especially stepping up major projects, including VND37 trillion (US$1.6 billion) worth of public investment by the Transport Ministry, thus creating a driving force for the economy.

Foreign groups step up plans to enter or expand in Vietnam Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 5th May 2020
Vietnam has been chosen as the ideal destination for the “China+1” policy of HZO, a US-based company producing protective nano-coatings with an announcement on opening its very first manufacturing facility in Vietnam at Yen Phong Industrial Park in the northern province of Bac Ninh. The country is also rumoured to be the next destination for Apple, the iconic US multinational tech titan of consumer electronics, computer software, and online services. Recently, the giant listed recruitment notices in Vietnam on LinkedIn, including a position of operations manager based in Hanoi and test engineers in Ho Chi Minh City.

10 solutions put forward to reopen the economy Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 5th May 2020
At the Ho Chi Minh City economic development webinar, Nguyen Thien Nhan, Secretary of Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee presented his concerns over local businesses going bankrupt in the context of COVID-19 and offered 10 solutions for an economic recovery. Secretary Nhan said that the government and citizens need to drastically focus on fighting and preventing the COVID-19 pandemic. Although Vietnam has made impressive achievements in the fight against the pandemic, people need to continue following the countermeasures to protect themselves. Foreigners who pose a high risk of transmitting the virus need to be strictly quarantined.

Việt Nam among safe economies after COVID-19: Economist vietnamnews.vn 4th May 2020
he Economist listed Việt Nam as the 12th strongest economy among 66 economies in its report on financial strength in the wake of the COVID-19 fallout. The ranking is based on four measures of financial strength, which are public debt, foreign debt and cost of borrowing and reserve cover. Việt Nam is in the safe group thanks to stable and strong financial indicators.

Standard Chartered lowers Việt Nam 2020 growth forecast to 3.3% vietnamnews.vn 2nd May 2020
Standard Chartered Bank has forecast Việt Nam’s economic growth rate to slow down to 3.3 per cent in 2020. In its recently published Global Focus – Economic Outlook report for Quarter 2, 2020, titled ‘Darkest before the dawn’, Chidu Narayanan, its senior economist for Asia, said: “Việt Nam is now more integrated with the global economy via its booming manufacturing sector; its trade-to-GDP ratio has risen to 300 per cent, among the highest in Asia, signifying its high dependence on global demand. “Lower global demand amid likely recessions in the US, the euro area and other G10 economies will weigh on 2020 growth. We see growth rebounding to 6.5 per cent in 2021 given an expected demand recovery and the low base from 2020.”

Many sectors will recover quickly due to high market demand: experts vietnamnews.vn 30th Apr 2020
Experts have said that once the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ends, higher market demand would support many sectors in quickly resuming their business. Economic expert Nguyễn Đức Thành said after the COVID-19 pandemic, the most heavily affected industries will recover soon, excluding the transport and aviation industries. The two industries would gradually gain growth again. The market demand will arrange which sectors to recover first, Thành told zing.vn. Therefore, the State should give priority for only essential sectors serving the State.

April CPI down 1.54% vietnamnews.vn 30th Apr 2020
The consumer price index (CPI) in April fell by 1.54 per cent over the previous month and by 1.21 per cent compared to December 2019, the General Statistics Office (GSO) reported in Hà Nội on Wednesday. However, the April CPI rose by 2.93 per cent year on year, the office said. The average CPI in the first four months of this year also increased by 4.9 per cent over the same period last year.

E-commerce fails to tap pandemic rise in demand: report VnExpress International 29th Apr 2020
Website traffic for three major e-commerce platforms fell on average 9 percent year-on-year in the first quarter due to slow order response. Vietnam’s Sendo saw the biggest plunge at 20 percent to 17.6 million visits per month, while Singapore’s Lazada dropped 7 percent and Vietnam’s Tiki saw little change, according to a report by the Malaysia-based online shopping aggregator iPrice Group. These e-commerce players were late in promoting healthcare products, the report stated, with most pushing fashion, electronics and cosmetics in the first two months, before turning to masks and hand sanitizer in March.

Vietnam under pressure to speed up SOE privatization in 2020 hanoitimes.vn 25th Apr 2020
The slow privatization progress of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) during the 2016 – 2019 period are putting pressure on all concerned parties to complete the process in 2020, according to the Ministry of Finance (MoF). The task has become even more complicated given negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in the first three months of 2020, causing a crash in the stock market and business stagnation in both Vietnamese and global economies.

Energy

Wind power plant set to operate in Ninh Thuận vietnamnews.vn 3rd May 2020
Technical operation for 16 wind turbines began at a wind-power farm in the south-central province of Ninh Thuận on Saturday. The turbines will supply 179 million kilowatts per hour (kWh) of electricity per year from the second half of this year. A source from Trung Nam Group told Việt Nam News that the 16 wind turbines, which were built at the solar-wind power farm complex in the province from early this year, were technically qualified in a trial operation on Saturday.

Watson Farley & Williams assists Vietnam floating solar project financing  Vantage Asia 30th Apr 2020
Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) instructed lender Asian Development Bank (ADB), in financing the US$37 million installation of floating solar photovoltaic power generation panels. The 47.5MW facility is on the man-made reservoir that houses Da Mi hydro power plant, in Vietnam’s Binh Thuan province. It is the first large-scale installation of floating solar PV panels in the country, and the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia.

Vietnam's gasoline, gasoil oversupply woes to persist even as government eases movement controls | S&P Global Platts S&P Global 29th Apr 2020
Vietnam's successful control of the spread of the coronavirus within the country has spurred its government to gradually ease domestic travel restrictions, but the country's refiners are not out of the woods yet, with the pick up in driving activity expected to be slow, while inventories and run rates remain high. COVID-19 has caused domestic oil demand in Q1 to drop by an estimated 30% year on year, Platts reported previously.

Vietnam Set to Make Aquaculture Farming Sustainable with Solar Energy Mercom India 29th Apr 2020
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the German research institute, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE), have signed an agreement together with other partners from the private and public sector to implement a new project of combining aquaculture farming with solar photovoltaics in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. Within the ‘Solar-Aquaculture Habitats as Resource-Efficient and Integrated Multilayer Production Systems’ (SHRIMPS) project, solar modules will be installed on the roofs of shrimp greenhouses under a pilot project in Bac Lieu province.

Enercon wins 310MW wind turbine contract in Vietnam Power Technology 27th Apr 2020
Wind power company Enercon has further strengthened its presence in Vietnam by securing a new wind turbine supply contract. The contract covers six wind power facilities in the country that have a combined capacity of 310MW. As per the terms of the agreement, Enercon will deliver 74 E-138 EP3 E2/4.2MW WECs wind turbines to the country by the end of next year.

Financial Services

Overdue debt surges at Vietnam banks VnExpress International 2nd May 2020
Commercial banks’ Q1 statements show a spike in debts overdue by 10-90 days as coronavirus impacts squeeze businesses’ cash flow. At Vietcombank, the country’s biggest state-owned lender by market capitalization, the debt almost doubled from the beginning of the year, while it rose 65 percent at the Military Commercial Bank (MB), a mid-sized state-owned lender. Some smaller private banks also reported higher increases in overdue debt. For instance, PGBank reported that its overdue debt more than tripled over the last three months, while Sacombank, a blue chip on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, said overdue debts rose 80 percent in this period.

Unusual Q1 upsurge in corporate bond issuance VnExpress International 2nd May 2020
Bonds issued by corporates jumped 40 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, despite the period being a usual downtime for the bond market. Bond issues in the first quarter are usually low as it is a period where enterprises are just drawing up their annual plans, taking a long Lunar New Year break and so on, brokerage firm Saigon Securities Inc. (SSI) noted in its latest report. What is also surprising is that the surge happened at the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has heavily affected many businesses. But this did not seem to stop corporates from issuing more bonds in the first quarter, with a total value of VND47.5 trillion ($2.02 billion), the SSI report said.

Vietnam's P2P lenders suffer high default rates amid rising demand for loans DealStreetAsia 30th Apr 2020
Vietnam’s nascent P2P lending industry has been paralysed by high default rates with the ratio of non-performing loans (NPLs) estimated anywhere between 8 to 20 per cent of their portfolio, industry observers reckon. The situation is expected to further escalate as the COVID-19 outbreak triggers greater demand for loans from non-traditional avenues, resulting in possibly a higher rate of NPLs.

Banks urged to further support COVID-19 affected customers vietnamnews.vn 29th Apr 2020
Governor of the State Bank of Việt Nam Lê Minh Hưng has called on commercial banks to urgently simplify lending procedures to help COVID-19-affected firms easily access preferential interest rate loans. But he said banks must still meet lending standards to ensure the safety and stability of the financial and banking system. Banks needed to determine that support for borrowers was their responsibility to the system and the economy, Hưng said, emphasizing the measures were effective for both the banking system and borrowers. Despite appreciating initial efforts made and results, Hưng asked banks to drastically put in place supporting measures. He stressed that State-owned commercial banks must speed up the process of working with customers to solve problems. Besides corporate customers, the Governor also asked banks to consider restructuring debts for individual customers. The SBV’s Credit and Communications departments must report to him results of the process regularly, he said. To support businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, banks have introduced credit packages worth VNĐ285 trillion with low interest rates. However, many businesses claimed they could not access them and proposed that banks ease lending rules.

More regulations needed for P2P lending vietnamnews.vn 23rd Apr 2020
Internet users are often bombarded with attractive advertising, offering loans in five minutes, no mortgage, no lender fees and no commission. However, borrowers must be careful if they don’t want to pay interest rates of up to 1,000 per cent per year. Recently, more than 60,000 people across 63 provinces and cities in Việt Nam became debtors suffering cutthroat interest rates of 1,095 per cent per year from a payday loan ring headed by Chinese nationals. The ring was recently broken up by police in HCM City.

Afternoon News Roundup: Vietnam's e-commerce enabler OnPoint raises US$8M funding e27 23rd Apr 2020
Vietnam based e-commerce enabler OnPoint has secured US$8M in a Series A round of financing, led by Kiwoom Investment and Daiwa-SSIAM Vietnam Growth Fund II L.P, according to KrAsia. The company will use the funds for hiring and developing data-driven capabilities. OnPoint currently has several dozen clients, including L’Oreal, Shiseido, P&G, Rohto, Beiersdorf, Unilever International, Watsons, Kimberly-Clark, Unicharm, CJ Group.

Payments Startup GPay Awarded Vietnam License PYMNTS.com 22nd Apr 2020
The State Bank of Vietnam granted FinTech startup GPay a 10-year license to provide intermediary payment services in the country — electronic payment portals, payment services, digital money transfer services and eWallet services. GPay, a member company of the Vietnam investment firm G-Group, joins a tight FinTech market in Vietnam with 33 other firms licensed for intermediary payment services. In 2019, Payme, FinViet, EPay, PayTech, Dibee and Smart Net were granted licenses from Vietnam’s central bank.

Food & Agriculture

Vietnam forecast to face historic heat waves in 2020 VietnamPlus 2nd May 2020
Vietnam is forecast to suffer the highest temperatures ever recorded in 2020, according to the latest report by the Vietnam Meteorological and Hydrological Administration. In May, the country will see more days of heat than the same month of previous years, said the agency. The country is predicted to face increasing and complicated pattern of natural disasters this year due to the impact of global warming and melting of glaciers, the administration said.

Việt Nam urged to tap global supply chain for halal products vietnamnews.vn 30th Apr 2020
As global supply chains for Halal products have been disrupted by the pandemic, Vietnamese companies have been urged to further tap the halal market which has export value of US$34 billion a year, experts said at an online seminar on Tuesday (Apr 28). Cao Thị Thanh Vân, deputy director of the HCM City Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC), said the disruption in global supply chains was both a challenge and an opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to make inroads into the global supply of Halal products.

PM allows rice export resumption from May 1 vietnamnews.vn 29th Apr 2020
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on April 28 agreed with the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s proposal to resume rice export from May 1, in accordance with Decree 107/2018/NĐ-CP on rice export business. During a meeting with leaders of ministries, departments, localities in the Mekong Delta and major food companies, PM Phúc asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to ensure food security and more effective food export.

First White Book on Vietnamese Co-operatives released vietnamnews.vn 29th Apr 2020
The General Statistics Office (GSO) released its first White Book on co-operatives in Việt Nam on Tuesday. The paper provides information about the development levels of co-operatives in the country and its localities from 2016 – 2018. It also proposes solutions for co-operative development. The white book was compiled based on data collected from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Việt Nam Co-operative Alliance.

Vietnam to select top priority industries to support in the ‘new normal’ inquirer 28th Apr 2020
Key industries like textiles, footwear, electronics, food and seafood processing must be prioritized for support in the “new normal” situation, said Trương Thanh Hoài, director of Vietnam’s Department of Industry. As part of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), Hoài’s department pointed out that the local textile and footwear industry with more than 4 million direct workers and another more than four million indirect workers has been affected badly, while orders for the electronics sector decreased significantly this month and were expected to keep dropping in the following month. The director added the local automobile manufacturing and assembly industry also dropped with showrooms closing and factories operating in moderation.

Health & Life Sciences

BuyMed gets US$2.5 million in pre-Series A funding vietnamnews.vn 3rd May 2020
Local start-up BuyMed, a pharmaceutical distribution network, raised US$2.5 million in its pre-Series A funding. According to the firm, investors include Sequoia Capital, India’s Surge early-stage accelerator program, and Genesia Ventures. Former investor Cocoon Capital also participated in the funding, it added. Founded in 2018, BuyMed operates Thuocsi.vn, a pharmaceutical distribution platform in the local market.

Medical supplies to Cambodian Army from Vietnamese Army Khmer Times 25th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Defence and its units have offered medical supplies to the armies of Cambodia, China, Laos, Cuba, Germany and Hungary in support of their fight against COVID-19. Worth nearly 19 billion VND ($826,000), the supplies include gloves, face masks, protective suits, thermometers, and hand sanitiser, among others.

ICT

Vietnam service providers jump high in global telecom brand rankings VnExpress International 5th May 2020
Vietnam’s top four network providers - VNPT, Vinaphone, Viettel and MobiFone – have significantly improved their global brand rankings. The fastest-growing brand is state-owned Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), jumping 17 places from last year to 55th after increasing its brand value by 42 percent to $2.4 billion, according to a report by Brand Finance, a London-based branded business valuation consultancy. "The Vietnamese government’s plans for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, smart cities, start-ups, the National Innovation Network Program, 4G and 5G, IoT, and mobile telecommunication networks are supporting the telecoms sector to grow from strength to strength," it said.

VNPT’s VinaPhone 5G network reaches 2.2 Gbps Vietnam Ministry of Information and Communications 4th May 2020
Accordingly, test results have shown that the VinaPhone5G network achieved a download throughput of more than 2.2 Gbps, 10 times faster than the 4G network and a latency of almost zero. These results are close to the world's 5G standards and the best 5G test results ever achieved in Vietnam. In order to secure 5G testing results, VNPT cooperated with the world's leading 5G equipment manufacturers to enabled advanced features and optimise the network structure.

Vietnamese IT firms thrive during Covid-19 Vietnam Ministry of Information and Communications 4th May 2020
All business fields have been affected by the epidemic, but IT firms are believed to have bright prospects as they have adapted to the new circumstances. IT firms have introduced new services and solutions useful for businesses during the epidemic. Lac Viet, for example, has launched an app for online meeting and training. M.Tech and Cisco Vietnam have cooperated to offer attractive preferences to clients who buy sets of remote working solutions. Technology startups are also busy these days, working on solutions. The Ministry of Science and Technology (MST) said more than 90 startups have registered to provide digital technology solutions to help businesses and individuals maintain their normal operation during the epidemic.

Draft National Strategy on Industry 4.0: Gov’t targets to expand 5G coverage nationwide by 2030 VGP News 2nd May 2020
The Party and the State have introduced a number of policies and programs to facilitate the country’s participation in the 4th Industrial Revolution, which lay focus on application and development of science and technology, innovation, improvement of the quality of human resources. They include Resolution No. 23-NQ/TW dated March 22, 2019 of the Political Bureau on policy-making orientations for national industrial development by 2030 with a vision to 2045; Resolution No. 52-NQ/TW dated on September 27, 2019 of the Political Bureau on some guidelines and policies for active participation in the 4th Industrial Revolution; and Decision No. 999 dated August 12, 2019 of the Prime Minister approving the project on promoting sharing economy model. Under the Resolution No. 52-NQ/TW, the Government is assigned to issue the National Strategy for 4th Industria Revolution.

Intellectual property vital for firms: experts Việt Nam News 28th Apr 2020
Many experts said that in the age of technology, inventors need to register intellectual property for their products as quickly as possible. However, the current understanding of intellectual property protection in Viet Nam was incomplete, leading to lots of intellectually property theft. Do Thien Hoang, a representative from the Intellectual Property office, said to solve this problem, it was necessary to complete the law on intellectual property for emerging objects and strengthening international co-operation. The Intellectual Property Office of Viet Nam has implemented measures to encourage research, innovation and application of creative achievements in science and technology into life and production in response to World Intellectual Property Day 2020. The office has supported several effective programmes such as the intellectual property development which has protected 118 key agricultural products of localities and supported 600 businesses in terms of intellectual property. The programme has also supported the protection and application of invention practices for 51 technical solutions.

Digital economy expected to add 30% to GDP by 2030 Việt Nam News 25th Apr 2020
The country wants to raise the digital economy’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) to 20 per cent by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030. This is one of the targets set in the draft national strategy on the Fourth Industrial Revolution by 2030. According to the strategy compiled by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Industry 4.0 had caused changes to socio-economic activities, opening up both opportunities and challenges to global economies. It aims to bring Viet Nam into the top three digital governments in ASEAN by 2030. Meanwhile, 5G network coverage would be available nationwide.

More than 90% of IT firms seek to expand after COVID-19 Việt Nam News 24th Apr 2020
More than 90 per cent of IT firms in Viet Nam want to hire more staff and expand their business after the pandemic, according to the latest report by Navigos Group. The report, "The situation of IT human resources and the recruitment plan to meet new technology", showed that only 9 per cent of IT firms did not have any recruitment plans while the rest did. Half of the firms said that they needed to expand their staff by between 11 and 20 per cent, while a quarter needed to expand between 21 and 30 per cent. The report also said the skills needed in IT in the next five years included customer-focus product development, digital transformation thinking and complex problem solving.

Infrastructure

Building material sector to benefit from speeding up disbursement of public investment vietnamnews.vn 4th May 2020
The building material sector would be among the first to benefit from the Government’s efforts to speed up disbursement of public investment, which was identified as a growth driver as the COVID-19 pandemic cast a shadow on the economy. According to analysts of VNDirect Securities, major growth drivers were slowing down. Specifically, exports were under pressure as global demand dropped and FDI also saw significant decline in registered capital (down by 20.9 per cent to US$8.6 billion in the first quarter).

Expressway through Vietnam national park poised to open VnExpress International 3rd May 2020
The La Son - Tuy Loan Expressway through the Bach Ma National Park in central Vietnam will be completed by June. Construction of the expressway between Thua Thien-Hue Province and Da Nang City began in 2015, and it is getting its finishing touches. It runs between the La Son Intersection in Loc Son Commune, Huong Thuy District or Thua Thien-Hue and Tuy Loan Village in Da Nang’s Hoa Vang District. The 77-km four-lane expressway cost around VND11.5 trillion ($501 million) and was originally scheduled for completion in 2018. It was delayed due to land acquisition problems and unfavorable weather.

Quang Ninh commences construction of VND2.1 trillion Cua Luc 1 Bridge Nhan Dan Online 29th Apr 2020
The bridge is funded by Quang Ninh’s Management Board of Civil and Industrial Construction Projects with an investment of over VND2.1 trillion (US$89.26 million). The steel arch bridge, measuring 290m in length and 33.1m in width, is designed to have six lanes with a speed limit of 60km per hour. The construction project will also include several accompanying items including intersections, sewers, sidewalks, trees, lighting systems and others.

Central city calls for $604 million IZs investment vietnamnews.vn 27th Apr 2020
he Đà Nẵng Hi-Tech park and the Industrial Zones Authority (DHPIZA) has offered bidding documents for preliminary selection of investors for infrastructure development on three industrial zones in 2020-23. Head of DHPIZA, Phạm Trường Sơn said the international bidding will help seek eligible domestic and foreign investors developing infrastructure works on two new industrial zones (IZs) of Hòa Nhơn, Hòa Ninh, and the second stage of Hòa Cầm IZ on total 880ha with an estimated investment capital of VNĐ13.8 trillion (US$604 million).

Huế, Đà Nẵng call for $215 million property investment projects vietnamnews.vn 27th Apr 2020
Đà Nẵng City and Thừa Thiên-Huế Province have approved some key property projects for construction in the third quarter of this year, calling for investment to help recover the real estate market growth that was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Đà Nẵng has planned the Complex of Health-Medicine education school and luxury apartments in Ngũ Hành Sơn District, covering 1.2ha with an investment of VNĐ1.18 trillion (US$51.3 million). The complex will include a hospital, a medicine school and a hostel for students – the first of its kind in Đà Nẵng. The project has been scheduled for construction in late of 2020 for full operation in 2025.

Ministry of Transport approves Buon Ma Thuot city bypass SGGP English Edition 26th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Transport has approved the construction of a 39km bypass around Buon Ma Thuot city on Ho Chi Minh Highway in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak. The new bypass is expected to reduce traffic load on the National Highway No 14, which is part of the Ho Chi Minh Highway and the main road leading to the Buon Ma Thuot city. The project has total investment capital of more than VND1.5 trillion (US$65 million) from the Government.

Hanoi approves plan to implement two urban metro lines VietnamPlus 23rd Apr 2020
The municipal Party Committee of Hanoi has approved a plan to build two new metro lines. They are Line No 3 from Hanoi Railway Station to Hoang Mai district and Line No 5 from Van Cao to Hoa Lac. At a meeting held by the Hanoi Party Committee on April 22, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen The Hung said Line No 3 would play a special role in completing the first stage of the urban railway network in the city centre.

Manufacturing

Downturn in Vietnamese manufacturing sector intensifies vietnamnews.vn 4th May 2020
The Vietnamese manufacturing sector saw an intensification of the downturn last month with Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) decreasing to 32.7 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). A survey of Nikkei and IHS Markit released on Monday showed the index was well down on the reading of 41.9 seen in March, which itself had signalled a record monthly deterioration in the health of the sector. Business conditions have now worsened in each of the past three months.

Four-month industrial production hits record low due to COVID-19 vietnamnews.vn 4th May 2020
iệt Nam’s index of industrial production (IIP) saw a modest increase of 1.8 per cent in the first four months of 2020, the lowest level over recent years, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO). In April alone, the IIP slumped sharply by 13.3 per cent over the previous month and by 10.5 per cent over the same period last year. It is also the first IIP decrease in April during the 2016-20 period, the GSO said.

Industrial land prices rise despite pandemic VnExpress International 27th Apr 2020
Vietnam's industrial land prices rose by 12 percent year-on-year in Q1 as the shift in manufacturing from China continued. In the north they rose by 6.5 percent to $99 per square meter, according to a recent report by real estate service firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). In the south the rise was 12.2 percent to $101. The report said companies looking to diversify their manufacturing portfolio outside China are attracted to Vietnam thanks to its proximity to the former.

Travel & Tourism

Vietnam ensures tourist safety amid COVID-19 Nhan Dan Online 2nd May 2020
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has recently issued recommendations on how to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic for travel agencies, resorts and hotels, restaurants and destinations. Accordingly, tourism agencies are requested to take steps to prevent the spread of the epidemic from tourists and employees working in hotels, tourism destinations, vehicles, restaurants, recreation centres and offices.

Indian Gov’t finances restoration of My Son Sanctuary core area VGP News 29th Apr 2020
The Indian Government has financed VND 50 billion to restore the world cultural heritage site, the My Son Sanctuary, in the central province of Quang Nam during the 2015-2021 period. On April 28, Vietnamese and Indian experts began restoration of a complex of towers considered the core area of the My Son Sanctuary. The Towers A complex covers an area of nearly 3,000 square meters and is surrounded by a brick wall which is more than one meter thick.

Foreign tourist arrivals down 37.8 percent in first four months VietnamPlus 29th Apr 2020
Only 3.7 million foreign tourists visited Vietnam in the first four months of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a year-on-year decline of 37.8 percent, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO). In April alone, the number was a mere 262,000, down 94.2 percent compared to March and 98.2 percent against April 2019. After applying social distancing measures, many domestic tourist destinations have now been re-opened to welcome guests and have introduced promotional programmes, especially on the occasion of Reunification Day on April 30 and International Labour Day on May 1. Tourism and accommodation establishments are, however, still applying preventative measures recommended by the Ministry of Health.

New community tour sites to be built in Da Nang VietnamPlus 29th Apr 2020
The central city of Da Nang has piloted the three first community-based tourism sites in suburban Hoa Vang district as rural ethnic and farm experience attractions in the Master Plan 2025-2030. The city said the three sites feature the traditional culture of Co Tu ethnic minority people and old-style rural villages. Rural lifestyle, farm experience and farm stay services have been developed at the village for hosting tourists from 2025.

Tourism attractions and services start to be reopened around Vietnam Vietnam Times 28th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has announced plans to quickly restart the tourism market as soon as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ends. Accordingly, when Vietnam announces the pandemic ending in the country, the ministry will focus on stimulating the domestic tourism market and coordinating with airlines, transport and travel firms to exempt or reduce service fees, including air tickets, accommodation costs and visiting fees. The ministry will also implement the "Safe Vietnam Tourism" programme and a domestic tourism stimulus programme with the cooperation of localities, transport and travel companies - VNS reports.

Ministry prepares plans on recovery of tourism market VietnamPlus 27th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has announced plans to quickly restart the tourism market as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic ends. The ministry will focus on stimulating the domestic tourism market and coordinating with airlines, transport and travel firms to exempt or reduce service fees, including air tickets, accommodation costs and visiting fees. The ministry will also implement the "Safe Vietnam Tourism" programme and a domestic tourism stimulus programme with the cooperation of localities, transport and travel companies. Vietnam will launch a communication campaign "Vietnam NOW - Safety and Smiling" – a tourism stimulus programme with preferential packages for domestic and Asian tourists. The industry will restructure the international tourist markets to Vietnam and focus on promoting travel to countries without the pandemic, especially for business travel.

Geo-Park earmarked for recognition SGGP English Edition 26th Apr 2020
The Ly Son-Sa Huynh Geo-Park has been listed in the dossier for UNESCO recognition, and the organisation can send an evaluation mission in 2020, general secretary of the Global Geoparks Network and chairperson of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council, Guy Martini, confirmed in an email early this week. According to the management board of the Ly Son-Sa Huynh Geo-Park, the dossier was sent last November for official recognition by UNESCO, and an expert team will be assigned to evaluate the value of the Ly Son-Sa Huynh Geo-Park, but the plan has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Central city to restore national relic sites vietnamnews.vn 22nd Apr 2020
The Prime Minister has agreed to assign the central city’s people’s committee to the restoration of the Ngũ Hành Sơn (Marble Mountains) landscape site – a National Special Relic – in a decision released last week. Director of the city’s Culture and Sports department, Huỳnh Văn Hùng said the destination, which was recognised as a National Special Relic by the Prime Minister in 2019, will be restored, covering a total area of 100ha, including the core 2.2sq.km zone and buffer zone as well as stone sculpture village.

Most tourism firms forecast 80 per cent revenue drop vietnamnews.vn 22nd Apr 2020
More than three-quarters of tourism firms expect their revenue in the second quarter to fall more than 80 per cent from the same period last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a survey done by the Việt Nam Tourism Advisory Council (TAB) and the Private Economic Development Research Board with nearly 400 tourism and travel firms between April 13 and 17, 77 per cent of tourism and travel firms estimated the loss. The survey aimed to update the business situation of the industry and understand the difficulties of firms to report to the Government and make recommendations to help them recover after the pandemic.