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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 3/11   2009-11-03 - VietNamNet/VNA

Fund pours 223 million USD into real estate

The Singaporean-headquartered CapitaLand has deployed 299 million Singaporean dollars (223 million USD) to further its growth in the real estate sector in Vietnam.

In a press release last week, the company says Vietnam is the group’s potential fourth pillar of growth in addition to its core markets of China , Singapore and Australia .

“ Vietnam is a key Asian market for CapitaLand Group. The country’s strong economic growth and rapid urbanisation have presented many opportunities for international real estate companies like CapitaLand,” says the press release.

Currently, CapitaLand Group’s presence in Vietnam is in HCM City, Hanoi and Hai Phong, in the residential and serviced residences sectors.

Following the successful launch of The Vista in HCM City, CapitaLand has invested in a new residential development project in Hanoi named Mulberry Lane.

In October, CapitaLand started pre-sales activities for one of the five towers at Mulberry Lane . All 330 units released were fully booked in two days. The units were sold at prices between 1,350 USD and 1,700 USD per sq.m.

CapitaLand is one of Asia ’s largest real estate companies. Its subsidiaries and associates include Australand, CapitaMall Trust, CapitaCommercial Trust, Ascott Residence Trust and CapitaRetail China Trust.

Vietnam-Japan supporting industries fair to be held in Hanoi

The third Vietnamese-Japanese Supporting Industries Exhibition will be held in Hanoi from Nov. 12 and 13 as part of Japan ’s commitment to help Vietnam within the framework of the Economic Partnership Agreement between the two countries.

Almost 120 enterprises from both countries will display their products that serve the automobile, electricity and electronics industries.

At a press conference in Hanoi on Nov. 3, the head representative of the Japanese External Trade Organisation’s (JETRO) office in Hanoi, Hiroyuki Moribe, revealed that the organisation has opened a centre to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in order to boost direct Japanese investment in Vietnam.

“We are expecting more SMEs to invest and do business in Vietnam , as the country has a large and young labour force, a stable political scene and a good relationship with Japan ,” said Hiroyuki Moribe.

The Deputy Head of the Trade Promotion Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ta Hoang Linh, stated that supporting industries play a key role in the industrial sector and Vietnam ’s export activities. The exhibition will therefore help to encourage the transfer of technologies between Vietnamese and Japanese enterprises, as well as improve the competitive capacity of Vietnamese enterprises in the region.

During the exhibition, two seminars on policies to develop supporting industries in Vietnam and a cooperation progamme for enterprises involved in this sector will also be held.

In recent years, trade ties between Vietnam and Japan have developed well. In 2008, their two-way trade hit over 16 billion USD, 3 billion USD more than the targeted figure for 2010. However, in the first eight months of this year, this figure reached only 3.9 billion USD, due to the global economic slowdown, a year on year decrease of 32 percent.

In terms of investment, by the end of October, Japan had 1,154 valid projects in Vietnam with a total registered capital of nearly 17.7 billion USD, ranking 4 th among the 89 foreign investors in the country.

Pepper exports gain volume, value rises

Vietnam shipped abroad 120,000 tonnes of pepper for 300 million USD in the past ten months, gaining rises of 52 percent and 8 percent in volume and value, respectively, over the same period last year.

The figures were released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, which also unveiled that the US emerged as the country’s largest consumption market in the reviewed time.

The ministry also mentioned Germany , Saudi Arabia and Egypt as the other largest consumers of Vietnamese pepper, the spice that names the country the world’s biggest pepper producer as it makes up for 30 percent of the world’s pepper yield.

It attributed pepper export surge to the growing demand for the spice in several foreign markets while other main pepper-growing countries, including Indonesia , Brazil , and India , reduced their supplies due to the impact of climate change.

In the meantime, Vietnam is accelerating pepper exports, expecting to sell abroad an additional 20,000 tonnes in the next two months.

Economic experts forecast that pepper exports would register a positive growth for the whole year on the back of the 10-month surges in both volume and value and optimistic signs in the world market.

Pepper is growing on about 50,000 ha in Vietnam , with 41,000 ha giving yields.

This year, the country’s pepper output would reach 95,000 tonnes, a 10 percent increase over last year’s crop.

Finnish businesses to seek opportunities in Vietnam

Representatives of 25 Finnish businesses will accompany Prime Minister Matti Vahanen during his visit to Vietnam from Nov. 15-17, according to the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Finnish companies are major players in clean energy, environment, metal and engineering, mining, information technology and telecoms, finance and banking, education, health care, chemistry, oil refinery, construction, forest plantation and real estate.

A Vietnam-Finland Business Forum is scheduled to be held on Nov. 17 in Ho Chi Minh City to help Finnish companies find Vietnamese partners as well as trade and investment opportunities.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, trade and investment cooperation between Vietnam and Finland saw good progress in recent years with annually growth between 20-40 percent.

In 2008, two-way trade turnover hit almost 240 million USD, a 40 percent increase over the previous year with Vietnam enjoying a trade surplus.

Vietnam exports rubber, footwear, garment and textiles, fine arts and handicrafts, woodworks, bicycles and spare parts to Finland and imports machines, information facilities, materials for garment and textiles and footwear, plastic and steels.

In the first ten months of this year, Finland had five investment projects licensed in Vietnam valued at 33 million USD, ranking 51 st among 89 foreign investors.

Traders stock up for Tet holiday

Authorities have set up plans to stock the shelves for the lunar new year or Tet festival.

The Hanoi Industry and Trade Department said it expects retail sales in the Moth of Tet to increase 20 percent to 12 trillion VND (671.1 million USD) compared with previous months.

Food sales would increase to 6,000 tonnes of poultry meat, 3,000 tonnes of beef, 5,000 tonnes of seafood, 90,000 tonnes of vegetable and fruit and by 20 percent for petrol compared with that in the last lunar new year.

The departments of finance and industry and trade proposed to give interest-free loans totalling 250 billion VND (14 billion USD) for major consumption suppliers to stabilise prices and supply in Hanoi market. The loans are mainly for suppliers of rice, meat, sugar, cooking oil and processed food products and eggs.

Hoang Tho Xuan, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Domestic Market Department, said the municipal department of industry and trade should put vegetables on the list of goods.

Vu Vinh Phu, chairman of the Hanoi Supermarket Association, said the price of most goods is high at present and would remain stable if the weather does not change.

Vu Thi Hau, deputy director of Fivimart supermarket said supermarkets and big stores in the city brought in goods for the Tet festival three months earlier so prices should remain stable.
The Hanoi Trade Corporation (Hapro) plans to stock 650 tonnes of rice, 630 tonnes of poultry and meats, 840 tonnes of processed food, 338 tonnes of seafood and 26 million units of eggs with a total outlay of 400 billion VND (22.37 million USD), Hapro deputy general director Truong Minh Thanh said.
Stocking up includes 70 million litres of beer at the Hanoi Alcohol, Beer and Beverage Corporation and 400 tonnes of confectionery at the Hanoi Confectionery Joint Stock Company.

Trading centres and supermarkets, including Fivimarket, Metro, Big C, Intimex and Citimart, would stock essential goods with a total value of 1 trillion VND (55.9 million USD).

Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade deputy director Nguyen Thi Nhu Mai said there are also plans for mobile sales of consumption goods in remote districts to give them quality at reasonable prices.
The city has 362 markets, 13 trading centres, 74 supermarkets and about 200 self-service and convenient shops.

Extensive hotel-villas project breaks ground in Da Nang

Construction of a 100 million USD hotel and villa complex began in the central city of Da Nang on Nov. 2.

Funded by the VinGroup, the Raffles Hotel and Residences will feature a 142 five-star hotel and 39 luxurious villas on Non Nuoc Beach , which was recognised as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches in 2005.

The project was originally licensed to the Magnum Company from the US. It was then bought back by Kingdom Hotel Investments and the European Hotel Corporation and transferred to VinGroup, which was previously called Technocom, from the Ukraine.

Garments, textiles earn largest export value

Earning 7.5 billion USD from exports in the first ten months of this year, garment and textiles surpassed crude oil, topping the list of Vietnam’s major export items for the first time.

According to the General Statistics Office, the country earned 5.4 billion USD in ten months from exports of crude oil, 2.1 billion USD less than from garments and textiles.

Experts are optimistic that the sector will rake in 9.3 billion USD for the whole year, a year-on-year increase of 3 percent.

More over, Nguyen Thi Hong Tin, Director of the Market Research and Promotion Department under the Vietnam Garment and Textile Group (Vinatex), pointed out that most major enterprises currently have export contracts through the end of the year, even to mid-2010.

Pham Xuan Hong , General Director of Sai Gon Garment Company 3, said that his company has won a contract to export products to Japan through mid 2010 and the company’s export value to Japan in 2009 may exceed 100 million USD.

Other large garment companies, including Viet Tien, Nha Be and Phong Phu, are each expected to earn about 100 million USD this year.

Also, traditional customers, as well as many new ones from Turkey, Egypt, Africa, and the Middle East, placed orders with Vietnamese enterprises. The value of exports to these new markets is expected to contribute 5 percent to the total export value of the sector.

On prospects for the sector, the President of the Vietnam Garment and Textile Association Le Quoc An said that the world economic recovery, especially Vietnam’s economy, would open up many opportunities and favourable conditions for the sector to fulfil the target of earning over 10 billion USD in 2010 and between 16-18 billion USD in 2015.

Aside from garments and textiles, many major Vietnamese export items like electronics, computers and components, and leather footwear have seen signs of recovery after a long period of decline due to the global economic crisis.

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Foreign Investment Tumbles In HCMC   2009-11-03

Jetstar Pacific told to scrap logo   2009-11-03

BUSINESS IN BRIEF 2/11   2009-11-02