Thứ Năm, 28 tháng 2, 2013

Rie Furuse back on Park Lounge stage
Rie Furuse will return as resident entertainer in the Park Lounge of the Park Hyatt Hotel Saigon during March and April. 
Park Hyatt Hotel Saigon, Rie Furuse, jazz clubs, Dokkyo University
Rie Furuse - Photo: Courtesy of the Park Hyatt Hotel Saigon.
Growing up in Japan, Furuse started her musical repertoire playing piano at three, then mastering the flute at 12. Because of such admiration for Patti Austin, Lorez Alexandria and Renata Mauro, her growing interest dictated her future vocation. Taking matters into her own hands, she proceeded to take vocal training under the tutelage of Erina Iwasaki and Sabrina Montgomery.
Whilst studying for a degree in French Literature at Dokkyo University in Tokyo, she discovered a fascination for jazz and at the same time launched her singing career. After performing in several jazz clubs in Tokyo, she decided to go international and recorded her first album in Boston, the U.S.
In 2007, Furuse flew to Hawaii followed by tours in Singapore and Vietnam. During her time in Vietnam, Furuse was recognized in the festival of 48-Hour Film Project Awards held in HCMC.
She received Best Music Award for her ballad, “The One”, which was featured on the movie soundtrack, “Postcards from Heaven”.
She then decided to move to Paris to follow in the footsteps of jazz giants who cultivated the scene in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. As a result, she has created her own musical style, a mix of contemporary jazz, fusion, funk and jazz-pop.
Furuse returns for her second engagement at the Park Lounge nightly, except Wednesdays from 8 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. from March 1 – April 30.

Source: SGT

CPI kept in check over Tet holiday
A worker at the Samsung mobile phone production factory in Yen Phong Industrial Park, Bac Ninh Province. A high rate of disbursement of foreign direct investment and a minimal rise in the consumer price index last month have been attributed to Government policies. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet
HA NOI - The Consumer Price Index for last February saw a year-on-year increase of just 1.32 per cent, the lowest rate over the past four years.
The achievement was attributed by Cabinet members to the Government’s efforts to rein in inflation during last month’s Lunar New Year festival as they gathered for their monthly meeting in Ha Noi yesterday.
According to Governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) Nguyen Van Binh and Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang, the low CPI increase was due to the drastic implementation of measures and polices guided by the Prime Minister.
The measures included close monitoring of market prices, a tough stance on smuggled trade and tax evasion, as well as ensuring an abundant supply of commodities for the Tet period.
Binh also linked the outcome to the SBV’s efforts, along with relevant agencies, to tackle challenges in the real estate market and deal with commercial banks’ bad debts.
Other positive signs from last month included a stable deposit interest rate and slight decrease on the lending interest rate in Vietnamese dong, a marked improvement on the previous month.
Disbursement of foreign direct investment over the past two months was estimated at US$1.05 billion, up 5 per cent on the same period last year.
The Cabinet members, however, warned these efforts should be maintained in order to keep this year’s inflation rate lower than last year, which was just under 7 per cent.
Many members suggested more drastic measures to address the slowdown in business and trade, boost purchasing power, reduce inventories, expand sale markets, curb bad debts and execute social support policies.
Addressing the meeting, PM Nguyen Tan Dung said that while the Government had laid down various resolutions focused on socio-economic development, the most important thing was to detail and enact them as soon as possible.
“We all agree it is important to resolve bad debts, tackle the housing shortage for low-income earners and remove the bottle-neck in the real estate market, but it’s vital we have specific and effective measures,” he said.
Dung ordered ministries and agencies to carry out comprehensive measures to control inflation and stabilise the macro economy.
He said the SBV should be more determined to reform the banking system while reducing bad debts through the establishment of risk prevention funds.
The bank was also urged to closely monitor the foreign exchange rate and lower lending rates to facilitate production and trade.
He added that the poor and disadvantaged population also deserve special policies from different levels.
The Cabinet members later heard that during the Tet holidays, various agencies and bodies enacted the President and PM’s decisions to pay special attention to the Government’s target beneficiary groups.
Henceforth, 1.9 million of people received Tet gifts, worth a total VND393 billion (US$18.9 million) and 18 provinces were supplied with 29,000 tonnes of rice during Tet and in between crops. - VNS

Vietnam's gold demand to fall as gov't curbs bite:
consultancy GFMS 
Investment demand for gold in Vietnam could be a quarter less in 2013 than last year as the government tightens its grip on the bullion market to stabilise the country's currency, metals consultancy GFMS said.

People in Vietnam tend to store gold as a hedge against inflation, once among the highest in Asia, while the dong currency is often pressured by accumulation of the dollar for use in smuggling in the metal, given the absence of official imports.

"We saw a sharp fall in access to gold bars from the second half of 2012, as the government now has much stronger control over what is minted and how much is minted," said Cameron Alexander, a senior metals analyst at GFMS.

As a result, investment demand, which contributes about 85 percent of total gold demand in the world's No.9 bullion consumer, is expected to fall 22 to 25 percent in 2013, he said.

Vietnam's consumer gold demand, including jewelry and investment bars, dropped 24 percent to 77 tons last year from 100.8 tons in 2011 after the government moved to curb gold speculation that had contributed to the dong's volatility , says GFMS, a unit of Thomson Reuters Corp.

The demand estimates are based on scrap supply and the unofficial inflow of gold, GFMS said. Vietnam, Asia's No. 4 gold consumer after India, China and Thailand, has not officially imported any gold since late 2011.

Similar to Vietnam, top gold consumer India has been trying to curb its gold demand, which has contributed to a ballooning current account deficit. India raised an import duty on gold to 6 percent from 4 percent in January.

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has said it will directly import gold and trade the precious metal with gold companies and banks as part of the plan to control the domestic market.

"Vietnam is essentially a three-currency economy now: dong, dollar and gold," said Jonathan Pincus, dean of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's commercial centre.

"SBV wants to discourage speculation in gold and eventually reduce the role of the dollar and gold in domestic transactions and as a store of wealth. Controlling the domestic supply of gold is part of this strategy."

The government has taken several steps to control the market, by slashing the number of gold trading outfits by almost 80 percent to about 2,500 by the end of 2012 and ordered banks to stop taking gold deposits and lending the metal by the first half of 2013.

The SBV has also limited trading to just one brand of gold bars minted by state-owned Saigon Jewelry Company Limited (SJC), which should help curb the flow of smuggled gold from neighboring countries as other brands of gold bars lose favor with Vietnamese investors.

Domestic premiums on gold bars surged to a record of more than $200 an ounce last week over global spot prices as a lack of imports created a shortage of the metal, helping keep buyers at bay.

But demand may creep back up as premiums have come off highs this week, dropping to just above $100 on Thursday.

"I am still keeping gold, no matter what the issues are on the domestic market," said Pham Hoang Anh Tuan, an investor in Ho Chi Minh City. "If it (the premium) narrows, I will pour more cash into it."

Banks allergic to credit quota mechanism
 In 2012, the maximum credit growth rate was decided by the State Bank which granted “quota” to every commercial bank. Will the quota scheme be applied in 2013?
Vietnam, credit growth rate, quota, economic recession, interest rate

Analysts have every reason to think that the quota scheme would not be applied by the central bank this year, saying that there’s no need to set up a limitation on the credit growth, once the worry about the minus credit growth rate has been raised.

A report by the State Bank of Vietnam showed that by February 6, 2013, the outstanding loans of the whole banking system had been minus 0.16 percent over the end of 2012. This has been described as a threat to the national economy, because the minus credit growth would have bad impacts on the national economy.

However, a banker in Hanoi said the low credit growth rate in the first months of the year is foreseeable. Businesses borrowed short term capital late last year to organize year-end production. Meanwhile, the first months of the year were the time for them to pay debts. This explains why the outstanding loans always increase very slowly in the first months of the years.

Deputy General Director of Maritime Bank--Tran Xuan Quang, also said that it’s still too early to make any conclusion just after seeing the minus credit growth rate in the first two months.

While some experts warned about the low credit growth rate in 2013 due to the production stagnation, President of OCB Trinh Van Tuan said he believes the situation would be better in the time to come, when the government’s measures show effects.

Tuan affirmed that it would not be too difficult to obtain the 12 percent credit growth rate for the whole banking system this year as targeted. Especially, he thinks that the growth rate could even be higher. 

The banker went on to say that in 2012, OCB still obtained the credit growth rate of 15 percent. Meanwhile, it is still awaiting the quotas from the State Bank for 2013.

Quota scheme not applauded by banks

In 2012, the State Bank decided the maximum credit growth rates for every commercial bank, depending on their capability, business scale and the credit quality.

However, a lot of banks reportedly did not use up the quotas granted to them. This was attributed to the low demand for capital from businesses, which decided not to step up production in the context of the low purchasing power.

Despite the great efforts by the State Bank to slash the lending interest rates to make it easier for businesses to access bank loans, the outstanding loan growth remains very slow.

Tuan of OCB believes that the interest rate reduction could not be the factor that helps push up lending. He said businesses would come to banks to ask for loans if only they can see that the market demand increases and they can sell products.

Quang has also affirmed that the bank is ready to provide loans at preferential interest rates to the clients with good profiles and feasible business projects. 

It’s highly possible that the above said quota scheme would also be applied in 2013, which means that the central bank would set limitations on every group of banks, after considering the banks’ business scale, credit quality, the liquidity management and the corporate governance.

Meanwhile, Le Quang Trung, Acting General Director of VIB thinks that the State Bank should not set quota for the groups of banks, but it should only set the caps on five priority sectors.

Tien Phong

Scientific research sought for Chau Van dossier
The national Chau Van (spiritual singing) festival has gathered more scientific grounds for the compilation of a dossier seeking UNESCO’s recognition of the traditional singing genre as an Intangible Culture Heritage of Humanity.
The festival, which wrapped up in Sam Son town, the central province of Thanh Hoa, on February 27, saw performances selected from 11 cities and provinces known for the fork art, such as Thai Binh, Nam Dinh, Dong Nai, Hanoi and Binh Phuoc.
Chau Van was created during the Tran Dynasty (1225-1400) and northern Nam Dinh province is considered its birthplace.
The highly rhythmic and trance-oriented form of singing often accompanies “hau dong” (mediumship) during the rituals to honor the Mother Goddesses and connect to other gods. It is performed mostly at temples and pagodas.
The music and poetry performed in the folk art are mingled with a variety of rhythms, pauses, tempos, stresses and pitches. The genre has also adopted folk songs from the uplands and highlands of the North, Centre and South. The main musical instrument used in the genre is Dan Nguyet or moon-shaped lute.
Earlier, the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism put Chau Van in the list of national intangible cultural heritages.
Vietnam now has six examples of world intangible heritage listed by UNESCO, including Hue's royal court music, Gong space culture in the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands), the northern province of Bac Ninh's love duet singing, the Giong festival, Ca Tru ceremonial singing and Xoan singing.
Source: VNA

Foreign investment rises by 5%

Japan’s Exedy Viet Nam produces automotive and motorbike parts. —VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam
HA NOI (VNS) - Disbursements of foreign direct investment in the first two months of the year increased 5 per cent over the same period last year to US$1.05 billion, according to the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA).
However, the agency reported, registered capital in the period dropped nearly 62 per cent against the same period last year to $630.3 million. Of the total, 99 new projects accounted for $532 million, down 54 per cent year-on-year, while additional capital in 31 existing projects fell more than 80 per cent to $98 million.
The agency attributed the sharp drop in registered capital to the fact that a number of major projects were licensed last year, such as the $574 million Bridgestone project, the $180 million Oshima Shipbuilding endeavor and the $150 million Lock & Lock Living initiative. In contrast, this year the largest project licensed (to Terumo Corporation) totalled only $98 million.
Registered capital mainly went into the processing and manufacturing industries. These industries accounted for about 64.9 per cent of the country’s total registered capital, with a total registered capital of $408.9 million invested in 44 projects.
The health care sector was also attractive to foreign investors, drawing $80 million or 12.7 per cent of the country’s total registered capital.
Among 17 cities and provinces that attracted foreign investment in the first two months, the southern province of Dong Nai topped the list with registered capital of $214.35 million, followed by the southern province of Binh Duong with $134.9 million and the northern city of Hai Phong with $118 million.
Japan was the leading source of foreign investment in the first two months, responsible for registered capital of $258 million, followed by Taiwan with $81.4 million and Singapore with $56 million.
FDI firms gained a trade surplus of $2.96 billion. Their export turnover surged more than 27 per cent to $12.2 billion, while their import value also increased 13 per cent to $9.24 billion.
Viet Nam’s registered FDI capital last year reached $13 billion, of which $9.1 billion was registered in the processing and manufacturing industries.
The country also expected to attract $13-14 billion in FDI this year, but experts have warned that the race to attract FDI is becoming increasingly competitive. Japan has poured billions of dollars into Myanmar, an opening market attracting considerable global attention. Japan also has more than 7,000 businesses operating in Thailand, much higher than the 1,500 registered in Viet Nam.
Besides tax incentives, the country should also offer other financial and non-financial incentives to woo large foreign investors, such as low interest rates, credit insurance and low infrastructure and service fees, said Chairman of the Viet Nam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises Nguyen Mai.
Out of 500 trans-national corporations worldwide, about 100 have a presence in Viet Nam. Small- and medium-sized foreign firms were interested mainly in tax incentives; in contrast, major foreign investors with long-term business strategies valued other incentives, Mai said. - VNS

Lim festival attracts droves of visitors

Thousands of festival-goers flocked to the Lim festival in Tien Du district, the largest of its kind in northern Bac Ninh province, on Feb 21 and 22.

The festivities took place in Lim town and Noi Due and Lien Bao communes. The epicenter was at at Hong Van mountain, also known as Lim mountain.
At 8 am, the festival began with a procession made up of hordes of locals wearing radiant, old-fashioned ceremonial costumes. The parade spanned several kilometers.
At Lim mountain, quan ho, northern folk music, was performed at four marquees and a main stage.
Visitors were also able to enjoy mesmerizing quan ho performances on stages at the temple and pagoda gates and on boats in villages such as Lung Son, Due Khanh and Dinh Ca, as well as at the artists’ homes in Lung Giang and Due Dong villages.
In efforts to recreate atmosphere of previous Lim festivals, a wide range of exciting folk games including swings, wrestling, blindman’s bluff, pot smashing while blindfolded, cock fights and human chess were held.
At 8 am, the procession to embrace the conferred titles commenced.
Women wearing colorful ceremonial outfits during the procession.
Girls proudly don quan ho artist costumes.
Excited children pulling Lo Bao village’s ‘Master Horse’
Part of the wrestling arena
Male and female quan ho artists perform at the festival’s main stage.
Swing games intended for brave tourists.
Phoenix-shaped betels, an icon of the Kinh Bac people
Older quan ho artists performing together.
Quan ho performances on boats.

Vietnamese restaurant enters Asia’s top 50 List

The 47th place on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants List 2013 and the Best in Vietnam award have gone to Don’s restaurant, headed by chef Donald Berger, in Ha Noi.
The list was published by the in Singapore this week, and Don’s restaurant, located at 16/27 Xuan Dieu Street in Ha Noi’s Tay Ho District, was ranked in 47th place, followed by Fook Lam Moon in Hong Kong and the Imperial Treasure in Singapore.
Don’s was chosen by more than 900 members, all of whom are food critics, chefs and restaurant managers, of the Diners Club International, due to its high quality of service and food.
Don’s restaurant in Ha Noi. Photo:
Moreover, Don’s provides customers with a variety of traditional Vietnamese dishes such as phobanh xeo (rice crepe) and banh cuon (rolled cake), in addition to European and Asian options. On, the restaurant has pledged that it can satisfy all of its customer’s demands through its large menu every day.
A special seafood dish served at Don’s. Photo:
The top spot on the list went to Les Créations de Narisawa in Tokyo thanks to the special cooking style of its chef, Yoshihiro Narisawa, who combines French and Japanese cuisine.
Second place went to Nihonryori RyuGin restaurant, which is also in Tokyo and is run by chef Seiji Yamamoto. Third place and the Best in Thailand award went to Nahm in Bangkok and its chef, David Thompson.
Below is the list of the Top 10 Restaurants on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants List in 2013:

1. Narisawa - Tokyo - Japan

2. Nihonryori Ryugin - Tokyo - Japan

3. Nahm - Bangkok - Thailand

4. Amber - Hong Kong - China

5. Restaurant Andre - Singapore

6. 8-1/2 Ottto E Mexxo Bombana - Hong Kong - China

7. Mr and Mrs Bund - Shanghai - China 

8. Ultra Violet - Shanghai - China

9. Iggy's - Singapore

10. Gaggan - Bangkok – Thailand

Beijing restaurant removes discriminatory notice

A Beijing restaurant that had posted a sign barring customers from Vietnam, the Philippines, and Japan took the xenophobic piece down on Wednesday.
Global Times, a Chinese newspaper, reported Thursday in its English version that the notice was no longer seen on the window of the eatery yesterday.
The restaurant, Beijing Snacks, located in the Houhai Lake neighbourhood, a popular tourist spot to the north of the Forbidden City, had said in Chinese and English that “This shop does not receive the Japanese, the Philippines, the Vietnamese and dog” [sic].
The newspaper cited the restaurant owner as saying that he had put up the sign in September last year in response to Japan’s nationalization of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.
The owner did not answer when being asked why Vietnamese and Filipinos had been included in that note, against the backdrop that China is also locked in spats with Vietnam and the Philippines over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos in the East Sea.
Four pictures of the sign went viral on social media sites after Rose Tang, a former CNN reporter who was born and raised in mainland China but now lives in New York, posted them on her Facebook page during her stay in Beijing last week.
It was also published in Tuoi Tre newspaper on Wednesday, with comments from Tang who strongly protested this sign.
A huge number of people, including prominent Vietnamese figures, have unleashed a storm of furious reactions to the discriminatory notice since the release of the photos.
Only uncultured people would say those words, protested Tran Dinh Hien, a translator who has rendered many literary works by Chinese Nobel Laureate Mo Yan into Vietnamese.
“Is it that China fails to educate its young people?” he wondered.
The piece was so rude and insulting, Tran Trung Hy, another translator of Yan’s works, complained to Tuoi Tre.
It will deepen the rift between China and the three nations, Hy said, adding that he “is disappointed and waiting for intervention by the Chinese government.”
A writer, Nguyen Dinh Tu, even called the restaurant owner an “uncultured, idiotic, and irrationally extreme” person.
“He has showed a decadent sense of politics created by a blind awareness of the neighbouring nations,” Tu added.
Duong Danh Dy, a former Vietnamese Consul General in Guangzhou, grumbled that the owner has offended three nations at the same time and his action was in no way different from how “the foreign imperialist invaders had treated his ancestors in the past.”
China has a long history of being occupied by Western countries and Chinese people's common belief persists that foreign colonialists once put the sign No dogs or Chinese allowed at the gate of a park in Shanghai between 1890 and 1928.

 Hanoi woman fined for falsely reporting a robbery by hypnotization
VietNamNet Bridge – A young woman from Dong Da District, Hanoi, has been fined with VND750,000 ($35) for making a false report to the police. 
false report, fine, robbery, hypnotization 
Ms. Diep at the police station.
On February 25, police of Dong Da district, Hanoi, said they imposed administrative fine of VND750,000 on Ms. Vu Hoang Diep, 32, for making a false report on the theft that occurred at a shop on Xa Dan Street on February 18.

The police said the fine is small because Diep’s behavior is not so serious; she herself later regretted; and she had good records. The VND750,000 fine is for the act of making false statements.

On February 18, Diep went to the police headquarters of Nam Dong Ward, Dong Da District reporting that she was "hypnotized" and robbed.

According to Diep, on the afternoon of the same day, a woman walked into the store, pretend to ask about goods, then suddenly she untied her hair, then Diep was in a coma.

When she woke up, she detected to lose Eur35,000, US$1,900, VND48 million, two iPhone and an ATM card, totaling around VND1.5 billion ($70,000).

Realizing the severity of the incident, Dong Da district police investigated. Many newspapers reported the case with thrilling headlines about the new form of robbery, using hypnotization.

However, on February 22, Diep told the police that she made false reports. Actually, she lost only a handbag, with two cell phones and some money inside. Diep said she declared the huge assets in the hope that the police would found the case serious to quickly investigate it. She also admitted that she invented the detail that the woman untied her hair and she fainted.

Shortly thereafter, the police also arrested the culprit, a woman named Le Thi Hong Thiep, 46, form Phuong Liet ward, Thanh Xuan district, Hanoi.

Taking advantage of Diep’s lack of vigilance, Thiep stole her handbag, with two iPhone inside. She sold an iPhone for $400 and presented the another to her daughter.

Banks balk at new ATM fees 
HANOI (VNS)- Few banks are prepared to begin collecting fees for automatic teller machine (ATM) transactions beginning on Friday, even though the State Bank of Viet Nam gave the greenlight for the charges with Circular No 35, said the director of the State Bank of Viet Nam’s payment department, Bui Quang Tien.
Out of 34 commercial banks which have reported new ATM fees to be applied next month, only two intend to charge customers fees off VND200-500 per cash withdrawal, while 10 others will apply the maximum fee allowed by the circular of VND1,000 per transaction.
Under Circular No 35, customers can be charged up VND1,000, beginning March 1. This maximum would double next year and increased to VND3,000 by 2015.
The regulation has caused a stir among the public, especially those with low incomes who receive their salaries through ATM cards.
However, a representative of the Bank Card Association said the operation of ATM services in Viet Nam was costly because about 80 per cent of transactions were cash withdrawals. In other countries, ATMs were less popular because cashless payment systems were more developed.
Tien told the online newspaper Ha Noi Moi that allowing the collection of ATM fees was a measure to encourage commercial banks to invest in and improve their card services and avoid long queues and service outages at ATMs.
The ATM transaction charges aimed to harmonise the benefits for both customers and banks for the development of card services in Viet Nam, he said.
There are over 50 million ATM cards in use and 15,000 ATMs nationwide. - VNS

Thứ Tư, 27 tháng 2, 2013

The real estate market in 2013 as seen by foreign consultancy firms
DDDN – Foreign consultancy firms all believe that the real estate market would still be very difficult in 2013, while the prices would continue decreasing. However, they believe that there would be more successful transactions.
Vietnam, real estate, prices, frozen market, economic recession

CBRE Vietnam believes that 2013 would be the time for a “revolution” in the real estate market. About the prices of the apartments in Hanoi, CBRE’s experts think that the prices would drop by another 10 percent after decreasing by 12 percent in 2012.

A report showed that Vietnam had 55,000 operational enterprises in the real estate sector in 2012. Of the enterprises, 17,000 took loss, while 2,637 got dissolved. Meanwhile, CBRE thinks that the number of real estate developers and the number of real estate investment funds would be halved in 2013 and then halved further in 2014 before bouncing back again later.

Also according to the real estate consultant, the biggest transactions in the office leasing market would take place in the B-class office market segment. The actual area of offices to be leased in 2013 is believed to increase slightly in 2012 because of the recovery of the Vietnam’s and the world’s economies.

Knight Frank also thinks that the real estate market would still keep gloomy in 2013 with the apartment sale prices to drop further in the first half of the year, if the government does not implement necessary measures to settle the problems of the market.

Most of the transactions would be seen in the low-cost or popular market segments – the segments which both the people with real demand for accommodations and investors are interested in.

With a series of shopping malls to be opened in the next two years, including Vincom Mega Mall, Trang Tien Plaza, Ciputra, Golden Palace and Lotte Center, this is expected to change the face of the Hanoi’s retail market, thus creating a strong competition among retail center developers.

The office market is believed to be stable in the first quarter of 2013 with few transactions to be made by domestic and foreign companies because of the long Tet holiday.

Savills Vietnam, while putting high hope on the measures taken by the government to stimulate the demand, believes that the measures would only show their effects by mid 2013. 

Therefore, one should not expect too much on the recovery of the real estate market in 2013. If the apartment prices decrease further, the sales of low cost products, priced at less than 1-2 billion dong, would increase by 25 percent.

It is estimated that by 2015, about 860,000 square meters of office area would be available on the market to be sourced from 62 new office projects.

Meanwhile, Cushman & Wakefield believes that the measures suggested by the government and relevant ministries are not powerful enough to give strength to the real estate market which is in big difficulties.

It is expected that the new supplies would be available on the Hanoi market from 17 new projects. Since the supply far outstrips the demand, the price downward would continue in 2013, while the market would be the buyers’.

Colliers International does not put high hopes on the market growth in 2013, but it thinks the recovery can be seen in some market segments. The market would give the opportunities to the financially powerful investors who can take full advantage of the current price decreases to develop projects for profit later.


Foreign retailers expand business, dominating retail market
VietNamNet Bridge – While foreign retailers have been unceasingly expanding their business by setting up more retail stores, domestic have to scale down their business because of the big losses.
Vietnam, retail market, attractive, CPI, demand

Foreign retailers make continuous expansion…

There are 130 shopping malls, 700 supermarkets and 1,000 convenience stores nationwide. Domestic enterprises account for the overwhelming majority among the operational retailers, while there are only 21 wholly foreign invested retailers and some joint ventures.

However, the modest number of the foreign invested retail enterprises have been dominating the domestic retail market.

Metro Cash & Carry, Casino, Lion Group, the groups which have been succeeding with Metro Cash & Carry, BigC, Parkson brands present in Vietnam since 2000s, reportedly have been enlarging their networks continuously. It is estimated that each of them open 2-3 new shopping centers every year. 

The French retailer Casino, for example, has had 18 supermarkets so far, while Metro has 19 in HCM City and many other provinces and cities.

Most recently, the South Korean Lotte has bought all the stakes of Minh Van Company, a partner in the joint venture with Lotte, officially becoming the 100 percent foreign owned distributor.

Since late 2008, when Lotte joined the Vietnamese market, it has opened four shopping malls in its plan to set up 30 shopping malls in the next 10 years.

The US Circle K, after two years of operating in Vietnam, has had more than 20 convenience stores.

Zen Plaza, Family Mart, Ministop, Diamond Plaza, Dairy Farm have also been developing their networks to expand their market share. In early February, Starbucks, the well-known coffee brand, opened its first shop in HCM City. McDonald’s has revealed that it would make presence in HCM City in 2013 and has drawn up a plan to develop six shops here in Vietnam.

Vietnam has been weeded out from the list of the 10 most attractive retail markets in the world. However, a lot of retail giants such as Tesco, Wall-Mart, FairPrice are reportedly still moving forward to penetrate the Vietnamese market. Meanwhile, the South Korean Emart has announced that its first retail shop would be set up in Vietnam in 2013.

…compete with domestic supermarkets and traditional markets

Not only competing with domestic invested supermarkets, foreign retailers have also “declared war” with traditional markets, which are believed to be the most redoubtable rival because of the capability of providing fresh food and vegetables at low prices to consumers.

The foreign retailers have been following the special strategies to compete with traditional markets to attract customers. After developing New Cho chain, Big C now moves ahead with the opening of a series of C Express shops.

C Express proves to bear more Big C’s features. The shops display the products bearing private brands, mostly essential goods, from rice, instant noodles to soft drinks, vegetables and meat. Especially, each of the shops of this kind only covers an area of 100 square meters, which allows to save costs, and they are located in residential quarters to be competitive with traditional markets in prices.

Metro Cash & Carry, the supermarket chain which introduced itself as a wholesaler when setting foot in Vietnam, has quietly turned a retailer. The consumers with no admission cards and children can also enter the supermarkets just to buy some product items. 

As such, Vietnamese retailers now have one more foreign retail rival which has powerful financial capability and much experience. Especially, Metro shops are located near residential quarters, which would be a big threat to the retailers nearby.


Japan assists local development services in Vietnam

The Japanese Government has provided over US$570,000 in non-refundable aid for five projects on health care, irrigation, water supply and education in Vietnam’s southern and central highlands regions.

Japan’s Consulate General to Vietnam Harumitsu Hida and representatives of benefiting localities signed documents on the aid in HCM City on February 26.
Over $123,000 of the sum will be spent on medical equipment for a hospital in Tam Nong district, southern Dong Thap province to improve the quality of medical examinations and treatment for local people.
About $122,300 will be used for equipping the Thu Hoa district-based general hospital in southern Phu Yen province.
A drainage system in An Hiep commune, southern Ben Tre province and a water work in Kuaih village, central highlands Dak Lak province will cost around $117,000 and $90,000 respectively.
The project to build eight new classrooms for Le Hong Phong primary school in Dak Lak province is expected to cost $120,000.
Since 1995, the Japanese Government has offered non-refundable aid worth over $8 million to 113 projects in 26 southern provinces and cities.

Hollywood actress goes naked to save environment

Hollywood actress Maggie Q has bared her body for a new advertisement of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in an effort to save the environment.
By calling people to go vegetarian, the actress also wants to challenge the global meat industry. The ad features the star naked and painted like the Earth with the words "Fight Climate Change with Diet Change. Go Veg."
The ad was kicked off in Vietnam on Tuesday after being launched in the US and elsewhere in Asia in early February.
The meat industry is a leading cause of the greenhouse-gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
As a result, a global shift toward a vegan diet is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change, and one major study concluded that switching from a standard meat-based diet to a vegan diet is more effective than switching from a standard car to a hybrid, according to the United Nations.
"There's so many issues tied to the meat industry. I mean, social, environmental, humanitarian—all of them," she said. "I know that when I'm eating that I'm not hurting the planet, I'm not hurting other people on this planet, I'm not hurting animals … and I'm not hurting nature."
“Going vegan helps the environment, and it can also give your health a boost, as vegans are less prone to heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancer, and obesity than meat-eaters are. And, of course, it saves animals from extreme suffering on factory farms, in slaughterhouses, and on the decks of fishing boats.”
Maggie Q joins a growing list of celebrities—including Tian Yuan, Louis Cheung, Paul McCartney, and Joaquin Phoenix—who have teamed up with PETA to promote vegetarian and vegan eating.
The new ad, shot by photographer Frank Ockenfels 3, will run on billboards around the world this year.
Maggie, whose real name is Margaret Denise Quigley, stripped down for the first time in 2007 for two pro-vegetarian ads that featured strategically placed vegetables covering her genitals.
PETA Asia-Pacific has nearly 150,000 supporters and activists throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
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The following Youtube  video shows the behind-the-scenes of the PETA photo shoot.