Thứ Ba, 31 tháng 1, 2017

Hung Kings Temples full of worshippers on Lunar New Year


About ten thousand of people visited the Hung Kings Temples Complex on the Lunar New Year’s Day (Photo:
 Phu Tho - About ten thousand of people visited the Hung Kings Temples Complex in the northern province of Phu Tho on the Lunar New Year’s Day to pay tribute to the founders of the nation and pray for a happy new year.

Chu Van Duong, a resident in Au Co Ward of Phu Tho province, said as a New Year custom, his family always visit the Hung Kings temples and then worship the legendary ancestors of Vietnam - Mother Au Co and Father Lac Long Quan, at the temples dedicated to them on Sim Hill.

Security situation and environmental hygiene at the temples were well kept this year, said Luu Quang Huy, director of the historical complex.

As the number of visitors were likely to increase in the next few day, Huy suggested that people should continue to promote their sense of responsibility and follow the temples’ regulations to avoid pushing while keeping the environment there clean. 

Located on Hung Mountain or Nghia Linh Mountain in Hy Cuong Commune, Viet Tri city of  Phu Tho Province, Hung Kings Temple is one of the most sacred places of worship in the country.

People across the country and overseas visit this place every year on the Lunar New Year, and on the national day designated for commemoration of the Hung Kings (the tenth of the third lunar month).

The Hung Kings ruled Vietnam from 2879 BC until 258 BC and are considered as the founders of the nation. 

The worshipping rituals of the Hung Kings was recognised as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2012.-VNA

Maritime trademark - key for maritime economic growth

 An Thoi Port in Phu Quoc Island (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi – Building trademarks for maritime products is crucial for Vietnam to exploit sea resources in an effective and sustainable way, making Vietnam a strong country in terms of maritime economy.

With a total coastline of over 3,260km spanning across 28 provinces and cities, over 1 million square kilometers of exclusive economic zone and more than 3,000 islands and islets, including Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos, Vietnam’s potentials for sea-based economy are abundant.

The major target of the Vietnam maritime strategy to 2020 is to turn Vietnam into a country that has sea-driven strength and wealth. To this end, it is crucial to build an effective and sustainable maritime economy in line with the development of a strong sea and island trademark of Vietnam. 

According to statistics from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, more than 3,000 islands and islets of Vietnam has a total land area of 1,700 square kilometers.

Three islands having an area of more than 100 square kilometers are Phu Quoc in the southern province of Kien Giang, Cai Bau in the northern province of Quang Ninh and Cat Ba in the northern province of Hai Phong. There are 23 islands with more than 10 square kilometers in area, 82 others with area of over 1 square kilometers and more than 1,400 unnamed islets with high potential in tourism and economic development.

However, experts held that only a small number of islands have developed their own trademarks for their tourism and other products.

Many localities are still lacking suitable and comprehensive measures to make a master plan for the exploitation of their sea and island potential. They have underestimated potential of sea resources and environment. The building of maritime trademark has just begun.

The trademark of a maritime country is a collection of sea trademarks, which are not only marked with economic and business features but also with other areas, including names of place, recognised trademarks, and characteristics of culture, history, and prominent figures. It could easily leave strong impression and win customers’ interest.

Trademarks for maritime products are those developed for products and names attaching to the areas of navigation, seafood, tourism, natural resources, sea industries and maritime reserve areas.

The commercial products and names must be famous and become trademarks. A great number of businesses and localities with their strong maritime trademarks will help Vietnam become famous for its prestigious and high quality products.

In recent years, domestic and foreign consumers have become familiar to products with origin from Vietnam’s sea and islands, including Phu Quoc fish sauce, Ly Son garlic and Nha Trang bird’s nets, which have contributed to the growth of Vietnam’s sea and island trade mark.

Huynh Quang Hung, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Phu Quoc district, said the locality has developed a pepper farm to the GlobalGAP standards that would help build the island into a centre for ecotourism, resorts and high-end entertainment nationally and internationally.

The farm is expected to serve as an attractive site for tourists, contributing to expanding the “Phu Quoc Peppercorn” trademark which was recognised by the Department of Intelligence Property in 2011.

Along with peppercorn, Phu Quoc fish sauce and mother-of-pearl are also among trademarks that are being developed by Phu Quoc, said Hung.

Meanwhile, Ly Son island of the central province of Quang Ngai, which is also known as the “Kingdom of Garlic,” is focusing on growing trademark for its garlic.

Garlic brings an income of 1.5-2 billion VND per hectare for islanders each year. The peak season for garlic harvest is in April and May when tourists flock to the island to experience garlic harvesting.

At the same time, the south central province of Khanh Hoa has also worked to promote its own trademark for Nha Trang birds’ net, and the northern coastal city of Hai Phong has been advertising its Cat Hai fish sauce and Cat Ba’s forest bee honey.

According to Vu Sy Tuan, deputy head of the Sea and Island Department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the building of trademark for maritime products requires joint efforts of central and local levels.

He stressed the need for specific, proper and synchronic policies as well as strong enough resources.

Tuan also highlighted the necessity of close coordination and high consensus among ministries, sectors, localities and businesses to improve the exploitation of sea resources.
Report hails Tay Nguyen’s neighbour districts development

Twenty-nine mountainous districts bordering Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) have reportedly achieved progress in social and economic development throughout 2016.

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These districts have developed especially in terms of infrastructure construction and production, contributing to raising the living standards of local ethnic groups.

The districts cover a total natural area of 2.3 million hectares, with 1.4 million people, including 317 commune-level administrative units and nearly 1,900 villages and hamlets, which include 1,236 villages and hamlets of ethnic groups.

According to a recent report of the Tay Nguyen Steering Committee, in 2016, the districts focused on planning, using land to its potential, converting plant structure and bringing technological advances to production to increase crop yield in areas with ethnic groups.

Many districts in localities bordering Tay Nguyen areas of Khanh Hoa, Binh Phuoc and Phu Yen strengthened agricultural and forestry extension systems, using high yield seeds and good quality breeds in cultivation and animal husbandry to raise people’s income.

In 2016, despite unfavourable weather, the value of agricultural production in the districts bordering Tay Nguyen area was up 7.7 per cent compared with 2015. Some key crops such as rice, maize, cassava, and coffee, as well as pepper, rubber, cashew all increased, with over 71,000ha of rice, producing an average yield of 3.5 tonnes of paddy per hectare; over 116,800ha of cashew; nearly 12,000ha of coffee; and more than 41,300ha of rubber.

Last year witnessed an investment into husbandry in these districts with 1.4 million cattle.

In 2016, the districts invested in building 276 rural road projects, irrigation works, national power grid and water supply facilities. Currently, up to 94 per cent of villages and hamlets have access to the national power grid. Of these, districts in Phú Yên and Khánh Hòa have had all connected to power grid.
Over 96 per cent of communal medical stations in the districts have doctors. The whole region has created jobs for 56,000 workers and provided vocational training to 35,000 people.

Thanks to the positive measures, in 2016, the average income capita reached VNĐ17.6 million (over US$780), an increase of 9.5 per cent compared with 2015, while the poverty rate decreased on average 3.8 per cent per year.

However, according to the Tay Nguyen Steering Committee, the districts’ production has yet to match the potential. Forestry is strong but still underdeveloped. Poverty reduction still faces difficulties and is unstable.

The committee recommended the government and the prime minister allow districts to apply all special mechanisms and policies such as in the Central Highlands.

At the same time, the State was asked to have special preferential policies to encourage organisations and individuals to invest in the development of production, business and services.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is collaborating with other ministries, sectors and provincial people’s committees in the region to build a master plan for the investment and development of agricultural production and forestry and to implement policies to encourage forest protection and development in association with the processing industry and product sales, the Tay Nguyen Steering Committee said.

Railway sector strives to compete with airlines

With a small transport market share, the railway sector does not have money to upgrade infrastructure, locomotives and wagons. With poor infrastructure and facilities, it cannot attract many passengers.

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Regarding transport market share, a report shows that railways account for 3.2 percent of passenger market share and 1.9 percent of cargo market share.

Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung, after a fact-finding trip to Hanoi and Giap Bat Stations, came to the conclusion that the problem is the lack of investment capital for infrastructure development.

It is difficult to allocate state capital for railway infrastructure with a tight budget, or call for investment from non-state sources.

An analyst said it is possible to call for private investments to upgrade trains, locomotives and wagons, but the investments may not be worth it in such poor infrastructure conditions.
It is difficult to allocate state capital for railway infrastructure with a tight budget, or call for investment from non-state sources.
Vietnam’s national railway is single-track with total length of 2,609 kilometers of  backbone. There are two sizes of railway, 1000mm and 1435mm. The average travel speed is 50 kilometers per hour for passenger train and 25 kilometers for cargo train.

In the last 10 years, only 5.6 kilometers of Ha Long – Cai Lan railway and Cai Lan Station have been built.

The State every year has to spend VND1.4 trillion on the infrastructure maintenance, while the receipts from the infrastructure use (8 percent of transport revenue, about VND400 billion), and from leasing infrastructure items (storehouse, ground and premises, about VND6 billion) just can cover 21-24 percent of the total money needed for the work.

Officials reports showed that the capital allocated to implement the maintenance work just satisfy 38.6 percent of the demand, which explains why passengers complain about the service quality.

The investment capital allocated to develop railway infrastructure in 2005-2014 was VND23.504 trillion, or VND2.612 trillion a year, which only accounted for 10.3 percent of the total investment capital allocated to the entire transport sector.

The low service quality makes it less competitive than other means of transport.

High income residents would rather travel by air with airfare that is competitive thanks to the state’s high investment in the aviation sector and development of air carriers – Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific, Vasco and Vietjet.

Meanwhile, travelers would choose coach for short-distance trips. Private run transport firms nowadays are very competitive with large-scale marketing campaigns and high-quality services.

The monopoly of the Vietnam Railway Corporation in the last many years has been blamed on the underdeveloped railway services. However, analysts believe that even if the monopoly is eliminated, the problem will still not be settled if the government does not pour capital into infrastructure.

Kim Chi, VNN

Economic outlook for 2017 through eyes of foreign investors

The Vietnam economy showed resilience in 2016 with GDP growth an estimated 6.2% bolstered mainly by robust domestic demand and strong performance in foreign sector manufacturing exports.
Yet the economic outlook for 2017 remains mixed in the eyes of foreign investors amid rising global economic uncertainties and questions about the government’s commitment to sell off state owned enterprises (SOEs) as part of the effort to resolve the banking system’s bad debt crisis.
In November of last year, the National Assembly adopted a revised economic restructuring plan for the next four years, which emphasizes the need for continued restructuring of SOEs.
Reforming Vietnam SOEs
The restructuring plan calls for the government to retain full ownership in SOEs operating in 11 segments of the economy.

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The segments outlined in the plan include military mapping and measurement, industrial explosive material production and trading, management of national power grid, nuclear power, management of national railway and urban railway infrastructure, aviation control, search and rescue services, lottery and money printing among others.
In addition, the government announced a specific list of 103 SOEs for which it would continue to hold a 100% stake over the four-year period and another 137 for which its interest would be partially to wholly liquidated during the period 2017-2020.
Among those that would be sold, the state would continue to hold more than a 65% ownership interest in four, 50-65% in 27, and its interest would fall to below 50% in 106 of the SOEs.
As outlined, the plan through 2020 demonstrates a high commitment by the government to let go of its state-owned monopolies in the private sector for consumer goods such as the dairy company, Vinamilk, and alcoholic beverage manufacturers, Saigon Beer (Sabeco), and Hanoi Beer (Habeco).
The announcement of forthcoming sales of these monopolies has garnered considerable attention and positive feedback from foreign investors and others, particularly the international media.
The reasons for this are twofold. First, foreign investors view SOEs as a costly burden on the Vietnam economy that would best be left to the country’s private sector, thereby reducing government debt. The benefit from private sector efficiency and ingenuity would in turn bolster further economic growth.

Second, an accelerated agenda for restructuring SOEs would also go a considerable way towards resolving the bad debt crisis in the banking system, which has been a long-standing problem that must be addressed in a substantive and meaningful way before the economy can truly move forward to more prosperous times.
If the non-performing loans (NPLs) that were transferred to the Vietnam Asset Management Corporation (VAMC) in 2013 are not considered then it would appear that the ratio of NPLs to total banking assets has fallen to around 3.7%, well within an acceptable range.
However, the receivables by the banks from the VAMC are still there and the banks still own the underlying NPLs transferred to it— so they cannot be glossed over and ignored by anyone’s measure.
The original plan was for the VAMC at some point to issue refunding bonds to raise money to partially satisfy the bad loans. The plan was and still is a viable and a good temporary solution, but it does not make the NPLs problem go away.
Translated this means that insolvent banks have effectively been provided, at least temporarily, liquidity, but there remains a need to further address the underlying liquidity problem at some point. 
Foreign investors are under the distinct impression that either the banks underlying debt from the VAMC must be funded in whole or in part or many of them might be forced to shutter their doors, which could be disastrous for the country’s economy.
They look at the sale of SOEs as a solid mechanism to solve the underlying bad debt problem because the government can take some of the money that would have gone to fund non-performing SOEs and use it to repay the NPLs that were transferred to the VAMC.
The government’s commitment to selling its ownership interest in SOEs as demonstrated by past actions and the concrete plan laid out by the NA last November and resolve the lingering banking system bad debt problems bodes well for the Vietnam economy in the eyes of foreign investors.
It instils confidence in foreign investors to continue to look favourably upon the Vietnam business climate and the country as a good place to invest, which in turn tremendously benefits the economy and social welfare of the country’s citizens.

Thứ Hai, 30 tháng 1, 2017

Interest rate under pressure to remain unchanged

HÀ NỘI – The central bank has targeted keeping interest rate stable in 2017, however, the market’s developments in the first half of January 2017 show that lending rates are suffering from many pressures, the Người Lao Động (Labourers) newspaper has reported.
Analysts said the goal to stabilise interest rates this year may face many challenges, such as the recovery trend of commodity prices in the world market, including petroleum; the price adjustment of essential commodities of electricity, health service and education; and the risks of climate change and natural disaster.
Besides this, economist Bùi Quang Tín said the exchange rate will also put pressure on interest rates in 2017.
Tín said the US dollar is forecast to continue strengthening due to the expectation that Fed will continue increasing interest rates this year and in 2018 and 2019. This trend will make it difficult for local commercial banks to reduce interest rates because at that time, the exchange rate between the US dollar and other currencies, including the đồng, will hike.
If Việt Nam lowers interest rates, it will make the US dollar/đồng exchange rate increase, resulting in imported goods becoming expensive and making it difficult for businesses, he said.
In addition, the central bank’s regulation on reducing the ratio of using short-term capital for medium and long-term loans from 60 per cent to 50 per cent fromJanuary 1, 2017, will also affect deposit rates, especially terms that are more than 12 months.
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc also admitted interest rate is a serious problem for the central bank in 2017, especially in the context that inflation must be curbed and the macro economy must be stabilised. The country this year is targeting a GDP growth of 6.7 per cent and inflation at some four per cent.
In a bid to stabilise interest rate and control inflation, Tín suggested the central bank adjust inter-bank rates reasonably through the open market operation (OMO). Commercial banks can borrow capital from the OMO market to stabilise liquidity and deposit interest rates.
Besides preparation to cope with the US’s Fed policy on increasing interest rates, measures to support commercial banks enhancing medium- and long-term capital sources must be also taken, Tín said.
Economist Ngô Trí Long recommended the government continuously regulate prices of petroleum, electricity and public services according to the market mechanism with the State’s management.
Any changes in the prices of such commodities and services must be considered carefully and taken at a suitable time to avoid strong negative impact on the price level, Long said. - VNS
Foreign investment in education sector faces higher hurdles

The Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) has drafted a decree on foreign investment into the education sector, aiming to offer more favourable conditions for foreign investors.
 According to Nguyen Xuan Vang, head of the MoET’s International Co-operation Department, the draft decree is expected to replace current Decree 73 issued in 2012 which showed many problems during the implementation process.


For instance, Decree 73 regulates that foreign-invested schools which operate in Vietnam can only receive a certain ratio of Vietnamese students, capped at 10% for primary schools and 20% for high schools. However, the draft decree allows these schools to decide the rate of Vietnamese students by themselves.
Regarding investment conditions, under Decree 73, foreign investors were required to build their own education facilities in Vietnam before recruiting students. But the new draft decree says foreign investors can hire facilities as long as the facilities meet regulated standards.
Under the draft decree, foreign investors can contribute their capital to both Vietnamese or foreign-invested education facilities in Vietnam. They can also buy or sell stakes in education facilities in Vietnam.
The draft decree stipulates the minimum investment capital for setting up a university in Vietnam is VND1 trillion (USD47.6 million), excluding land value for the university construction. This is higher compared to the minimum figure of VND300 billion regulated in Decree 73.
University lecturers are required to have at least master degree. Meanwhile, at least half of lecturers need to have a doctorate, compared with just 35% in Decree 73.
 MoET said that the requirement for higher investment capital and lecturer degrees is aimed to raise the training quality of foreign-invested schools.

VN targets vegetable, fruit export value at $3b

Fruit has great potential for export as people’s income increases, so does the demand for high-quality fruit. - File Photo

HÀ NỘI – Việt Nam expects to achieve US$3 billion as its total export value of vegetables and fruits this year, exceeding the vegetable and fruit industry’s target of $2.4 billion.
“After many years of export value under $1 billion, in recent years, the export value has made a breakthrough, which is why it was able to exceed the target this year, although there were many difficulties,” Huỳnh Quang Đấu, deputy chairman of the Việt Nam Vegetable and Fruit Association, told Việt Nam News.
This year and beyond, the vegetable and fruit industry will face long-term difficulties, including climate change, which would result in a reduction of vegetable and fruit output and quality, and land accumulation for the industry, Đấu said.
Meanwhile, most enterprises of the industry are small- and medium-sized units with less capital, said Đấu, adding that technical barriers in vegetable and fruit importing countries have also increased further.
However, in recent years, Việt Nam’s vegetable and fruits have entered markets with strict ruless, such as the United States, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, as well as Australia, New Zealand and Chile, following 4-5 years of successful negotiation by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Further, farms and enterprises have produced vegetable and fruit products meeting the quality and food safety standards in those countries, he said.
“That would be the basis for promoting exports this year and beyond,” Đấu said.
Nguyễn Đỗ Anh Tuấn, head of the ministry’s Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, said this year, enterprises and farmers would pour in investment into fruit, cashew and shrimp because those products have great potential in production and business.
In particular, they would invest in high-technological and clean agriculture to create leading brands for the global market, he said. The enterprises would focus on processing farming, forestry and fishery products to create new value and improve the level of Việt Nam’s products in the international market.
Fruit has great potential as people’s income increases, so does the demand for high-quality fruit, he said.
Last year, the nation’s total export value of vegetables and fruits was $2.4 billion, $200 million higher than the yearly target.
Meanwhile, Mai Văn Trị, director of the Southern Fruit Research Institute (SOFRI), said export value of the vegetable and fruit industry has not met the industry’s potential because there are many kinds of fruits with low prices that do not have high export volume despite the high output.
For instance, Việt Nam mainly exported dried jackfruit or material of fresh jackfruit. Trị said local enterprises could process soft dried jackfruit to reduce the import of this product, Some other kinds of vegetables and fruits such as pomelo and purple sweet potato have output which just meets local demand, but not high enough to export.
Enterprises have not diversified their fruit processing and not seen sustainable development in material region for export processing, he said.
Đinh Cao Khuê, general director of Đồng Giao Export Food Joint Stock Company, said, so far, there are a small number of vegetable and fruit material regions nationwide that meet the demand of the processing industry.
In the north, there are pineapple regions in Đồng Giao, Ninh Bình and Lao Cai provinces, which produce a total of 70,000 tonnes per year, of which 50 per cent is used for local consumption and 50 per cent is for export processing.
Lục Ngạn District in Bắc Giang Province and Thanh Hà District in Hải Dương Province have high longan output, but the period for harvesting and processing this product is just one-and-a-half months. Meanwhile, other special fruit products, including orange in Hà Giang Province, Hàm Yên-Tuyên Quang Province, Cao Phong-Hòa Bình Province and Lục Ngạn-Bắc Giang Province, have output that is enough to meet domestic consumption requirements.
In fact, Việt Nam has many areas that can be used develop material regions of vegetable and fruit for export processing, bringing higher economic efficiency to provinces, Khuê said.
Central highlands provinces such as Đắk Nông and Gia Lai could develop material regions of passion fruit, Japanese sweet potato, sweet corn, spinach and pepper because there is high demand for these products in the global market. Meanwhile, the northern provinces of Lào Cai, Sơn La and Lai Châu are suitable to grow pineapple instead of rubber trees, which have a low level of development in these provinces.
The state needs to plan and develop material regions connecting with the development of processing factories and expanding the regions to neighbouring provinces, Khuê said. Đồng Giao Export Food JSC has enough material of pineapple for export processing because along with material regions in Ninh Bình Province, the company must combine with regions in the neighbouring provinces of Thanh Hóa, Thái Bình, Hải Dương and Bắc Giang, as well as Hà Giang and Tuyên Quang.
Additionally, Khuê said Việt Nam should promote advertising at international fairs for farming products to study and expand export markets, including fairs in Germany, France, Russia and Japan.
Phạm Công Dũng from the Department of Agricultural Forestry and Fishery Processing and Salt Industry said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has promoted restructuring of agriculture and planned material regions with advantages.
For export activities, the ministry has cooperated with relevant state offices to enhance trade promotion activities for Vietnamese fruit products to increase market share, he said.
Each trade office of Việt Nam in foreign countries would conduct marketing activities for local fruits for the Vietnamese community living abroad and the locals.
The ministry would control further import of fruits through technical barriers under international rules to protect local fruits in a legal manner and stop illegal fruit imports, he said.
Viet Nam News 

Chủ Nhật, 29 tháng 1, 2017

Party leader wishes Hanoi a successful New Year

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong paid a visit to the Party, government and people of Hanoi on January 28, the first day of the Lunar New Year, during which he wished the capital city success in completing all tasks of 2017.
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The Party chief lauded the city’s achievements in the past year, noting that the capital is experiencing a flourishing period with high economic growth and improved infrastructure system as well as local’s living conditions.

With an area of 3,300 square kilometres and a population of about 9 million, last year, Hanoi reached a GDP growth of 8.2 percent and 186 trillion VND of budget collection or 110 percent of the estimate. As many as 66 percent of local rural communes were recognised as new-style rural areas.

The Party chief highlighted that there is room for the city to further grow, asking the locality to continue focusing on boosting economic development and fulfilling all socio-
economic targets, thus assuring its important role as the major economic hub of the country.

At the same time, Hanoi should maintain and promote its cultural identity and unique characteristics, while boosting tourism and showing better performance in urban management as well as security and social order protection, he stressed.

The Party leader also underscored the need for the city to take pioneer role in the building of Party and political system as well as administrative reform.

On behalf of the city, Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Hoang Trung Hai pledged that Hanoi will exert every efforts to overcome all shortcomings and limitations to successfully fulfill all set targets, thus building an elegant, civilized and modern city.

The same day, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong also offered incense to Kinh Ly Thai To at his statue in the Ly Thai To Garden, visited Ngoc Son Temple and King Le Thai To’s Monument in Nam Huong Temple historical relic site, and walked around the Hoan Kiem Lake.


Business community and the goal of a startup country

Vietnam is working hard to realize the goal of 1 million startups by 2020. This endeavor requires great efforts by both the Government and business community.
business community and the goal of a startup country  hinh 0

The startup movement is growing strongly in Vietnam, mostly in the IT and service industries. 30% of 200,000 businesses in Hanoi are startups.
The Hanoi Association of Small and Medium Enterprises has established a fund to support businesses and encourage bigger companies to assist startups.
Mac Quoc Anh, the Association’s Vice Chairman and Secretary General, said “Startups should focus on breakthrough products to avoid competition from bigger and more experienced businesses. In addition to advanced technology application, creativity and dynamism are among the most important factors for startups.”
The FPT group is cooperating with foreign foundations and incubators to create 5,000 technology firms in Vietnam by 2020.
Tran Huu Duc, Director of FPT Ventures said that FPT will offer financial support and expertise to help startups create products for both domestic consumption and export.
“We’ve cooperated with Korea’s Hanhwa group, Dragon Capital, and BIDV Securities Company to establish a foundation which supports startups with access to capital, international markets, and training,” he said.
President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vu Tien Loc said “The Government’s target of 1 million startups by 2020 is very important to develop Vietnam into a country of startups. A series of policies and measures have been introduced to encourage startups and innovation and build a constructive and business-serving Government.”
 Luxury cars flooding Vietnamese market

 Mercedes, Ford, Audi, Porsche and BMW auto manufacturers have been expanding their distribution networks in Vietnam in recent months.
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From now to 2020, Mercedes Benz Vietnam plans to double its sales agent network, an important step for the luxury car manufacturer to cement its position in the Vietnamese market.

Speaking to local mass media on December 3, Choi Duk Jun, CEO of Mercedes Benz Vietnam, said together with the expansion of product items, the enlargement of sales agents will be a strategic move that helps Mercedes increase its market share in Vietnam.

Mercedes Benz has the highest number of sales agents in Vietnam with 12 centers throughout the country.

Sources said Rolls-Royce, a brand of German BMW, which also owns two other strong brands – BMW and Mini -- is also preparing to enter the Vietnamese market.

Toyota Vietnam has opened an authorized agent in the central region, raising the number of total sale agents in Vietnam to 44.
From now to 2020, Mercedes Benz Vietnam plans to double its sales agent network, an important step for the luxury car manufacturer to cement its position in the Vietnamese market.
Ford Vietnam has opened an authorized agent in Binh Duong province, while it has upgraded Pho Quang branch of Sai Gon Ford into a 3S branch. It is preparing to open another showroom, belonging to Sai Gon Ford, in the central business district 1 in HCMC.

The new centers are reported as having investment capital of VND120 billion. The number of Ford’s sales agents and service centers in Vietnam has increased to 27.

The Vietnamese market had its highest sale growth rate of 60,000 cars in 2016 compared to 2015.

The sale of luxury cars and sports cars also increased sharply. Mercedes led the market segment with 4,401 cars sold in 2016, an increase of 22 percent over the year before.

Meanwhile, Lexus sold 1,665 cars, up by 73 percent. Audi, Porsche and BMW  have not revealed the sales, but reported growth.

A source said Porsche had fulfilled its yearly sales plan in Vietnam by mid-2016.

The sales surprised many analysts, because prices had increased sharply.

Lexus LX570, for example, saw the price increasing from VND5.7 billion to VND8 billion, while Maybach S600 was from VND10 billion to VND14 billion. Rolls Royce Phantom price soared from VND54 billion to VND84 billion.

Oxfarm, a non-government organization, on January 12 released a report on inequality in Vietnam, pointing out that the income gap between the richest and poorest Vietnamese people is very large. The richest Vietnamese has the daily income higher than the 10 year-income of the poorest.

In related news, Marquardt from Germany had a working session with Da Nang authorities on its plan to set up an automobile part factory in the city.

Kim Chi, VNN
Exploring ethnic Cham wedding rituals in Vietnam

Wanna join a traditional wedding of Cham ethnic minority people in south-central Vietnam? Binh Thuan Province should be your choice.


Members of Cham Ba Ni, a subgroup of Cham ethnic people, mostly reside in the province’s Bac Binh District.
Their long-cherished cultural legacy is manifest in their dialect, architecture, sculpture and folk art.      
Their unique nuptial rituals, which are rich in religious elements, are also part of the heritage.
Couples and their families traditionally go through several steps including the dating rite and engagement ceremony before proceeding with the conjugal ceremonial, which can be held anytime within four months following the engagement.
Like several other ethnic minority communities, Cham people follow matriarchy – a social organizational form in which a relationship is determined through the female line.
As a result, the ceremony is typically held at the bride’s home, where a tent called Kajang likhah is erected and solemn rites are performed.
Intriguingly, newly-weds are banned from having sex until three days after the wedding.
Below are a series of photos by Ngo Quang Phuc showing a wedding ceremony of Cham people in Binh Thuan.
These photos were one of the entries to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper's year-long competition themed “Vietnam – Country – People" concluding in October last year.

Called “Anak la Con” (I’m Anak), five small kids, in their white costumes, bear witness to the marriage and carry nuptial gifts.
Relatives pray for blessings to be bestowed on the bride and groom.
The bride and her groom reverently perform kowtows to the head monk and clergymen, with the bride’s headwear covering her legs while she is prostrating herself.
Monk Chang conducts a rite before putting the ring on the bride’s finger after she announces her consent to the marriage.
The newly-weds perform their daily routines under an elder’s supervision during the first three days after the nuptial ceremony.