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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 8/8   2010-08-09 - VietNamNet

Nearly 4 million tonnes of rice exported 
Vietnam has exported nearly four million tonnes of rice worth more than US$1.9 billion in the first seven months of this year, according to the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) on July 6.

The export price of rice is now US$438.2 per tonne on average, a 28% year-on-year increase. The VFA has signed contracts to export a total of 5.83 tonnes of rice so far. The exporters have bought 469 thousand tonnes of rice to store up, which has raised the buying price of rice in the Mekong Delta from 150 to VND 400 per kilo compared to late July.

According to the VFA, the Vietnamese rice exporters are now in a favourable situation as the world market is witnessing high demands for imported rice due to the recent sharp increase of wheat prices.

Vietnamese goods win local consumers’ favour 

Vietnamese goods have regained local consumers’ confidence thanks to their quality good materials, diversified designs and competitive prices.

According to a survey conducted by the TV Plus Company, 58% of Vietnamese consumers have been interested in locally-made products since a campaign entitled ’Vietnamese People Use Vietnamese Goods” was launched by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) more than one year ago, compared to 23% previously.

Vietnamese commodities now hold larger spaces in trade centres and supermarket chains. Duong Thi Quynh Trang, Director for External Relations at the Big C supermarket chain, said that at present, locally-made products at Big C supermarkets account for up to 95% of shelf space. At Hapro supermarkets, made-in-Vietnam commodities occupy 70-80%.

In the first six months of the year, sales revenues of many supermarket systems in the country increased sharply, with a rise of 30-40% in Ho Chi Minh City. Remarkably, the Saigon Co.op Mart system experienced 70% revenue growth compared to the same period last year.

Not only urban areas have benefited - the MoIT has also brought domestically-made products to rural areas where up to 90% of goods on sale at markets are of Chinese or unknown origins. Sixty eight Vietnamese goods trade fairs in rural areas have attracted 4.8 million visitors and customers, generating more than VND 1.46 trillion in revenues.

According to President of the Association of Producers of Vietnamese High-Quality Goods Vu Kim Hanh, the rural market will be the focus of investment of foreign retailers instead of such large markets as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang.

Therefore, if there is no sound strategy to target the rural market, Vietnamese businesses will lose opportunities to sell their products domestically, Hanh added.

Together with recommending that businesses increase productivity and improve product quality, MoIT Deputy Minister Ho Thi Kim Thoa suggested they promote the ’Vietnamese People Use Vietnamese Goods’ campaign to more than 4.5 million overseas Vietnamese, making them ambassadors for Vietnamese goods in foreign markets.

Denmark helps private sector boost competition 

The Global Competition Fund (GCF) of Denmark has decided to provide VND 210 billion (roughly US$10.92 million) for Vietnamese private businesses in the next three years to help them raise their competitive edge.

Amarnath Reddy, senior advisor from the GCF, said the fund would be channelled into some 80 projects to benefit export-oriented businesses in provinces in the central region, the Central Highlands and Mekong Delta regions.

The target businesses should operate in agricultural production and processing, aquaculture, fine art products, fruit and vegetables, medicinal herbs, tea, wood processing and tourism.

The programme will kick off in January 2011.

The GCF has been funded by the Danish Government since 2006, and has funded 96 projects in Vietnam so far. These projects are mostly in support of business development in four provinces, namely the former Ha Tay, now part of Hanoi, the central provinces of Nghe An and Khanh Hoa, and the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.

It has contributed assistance worth VND 135 billion in total.
This year’s rice exports to reach 6.5 million tonnes
Vietnam will export around 3.1 million tonnes of rice in the second half of this year, bringing this year’s total export volume to 6.5 million tonnes, according to the Vietnam Food Association (VFA).

In July, businesses signed contracts to export nearly 795,000 tonnes. By early August, total export contracts has reached more than 6.2 million tonnes, nearly 60 percent of which are commercial contracts.

Purchasing rice for the purpose of temporary stock will come to an end by the end of September 15 when 48 percent of the cultivated areas in the Mekong Delta region will have been harvested.

According to exporters, the price of rice on the world market is low right now but thanks to a rise in domestic prices, the export price of Vietnamese rice has increased to US$375 per tonne.

VFA president Truong Thanh Phong says the farmers’ stock is limited so businesses should actively engage in purchasing rice to maintain prices. Most countries forecast that they will face crop failures due to floods and droughts so they all expect a growing demand for imported rice.

13 businesses honoured for outstanding Vietnamese brand names
13 Vietnamese brand names were awarded at a ceremony held in Hanoi on August 7.

At the awards ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung emphasised that “Vietnamese using Vietnamese products” is a big campaign, launched by the Party Politburo, to encourage Vietnamese businesses to produce better products for domestic consumption.

He congratulated the winners and expressed his hope that all domestic businesses will be able to create a good brand name.

This is a long-term campaign, the success of which depends on consumer response and tough competition, Mr. Hung said.

The winners, selected by the readers of the Dai Doan newspaper, are those businesses who produced high-quality, beautifully-designed, and environmentally-friendly products, sold at reasonable prices for most Vietnamese consumers, and who abided by state policies and laws and were responsible to their community.

The awards, co-sponsored by the Dai Doan Ket newspaper and Vietnam Television, will help to enhance the businesses prestige in the domestic and global markets.

First man-made island to take shape in Hai Phong
Construction of the Hoa Phuong Island Complex with an investment capital of VND2,000 billion started in Do Son district, Hai Phong City, on August 6.

The complex will include a five-star hotel with 300 rooms, a commercial centre, 200 luxury villas and other services, such as a wharf, cruiser, a beach, tennis courts and a swimming pool.
The man-made island will take shape in five years 

Hoa Phuong Island, covering nearly 50ha, is the first man-made island in Vietnam. The project is expected to be completed in 2014.

At the inauguration ceremony, the investor – Daso Vietnam Group – signed a capital contract with the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV); a management consultancy and supervision contract with the Australian AIC Company; a contract to supply water and treat waste with the US Hydroscience Company; and a technical consultancy and hotel management contract with the French Accor Group.

PetroVietnam, Indian partner eye BP assets
PetroVietnam Group plans to purchase BP’s stake in offshore exploitation projects being sold by the British oil giant, said PetroVietnam chairman Dinh La Thang.

The group is mapping out its plans and will submit them to the Government for approval. PetroVietnam and India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) are currently partners of BP’s offshore exploitation projects in the country.

Under the agreement, if one of the partners in the joint venture withdraws capital from a project, it has to offer its stake to the remaining partners first. PetroVietnam has plans to co-ordinate with other partners, including ONGC, to purchase the stake.

“PetroVietnam will submit its plans to the Government, we can only acquire the stake if the Government gives it the nod,” Mr. Thang said.

If the plan is approved, commercial banks are ready to provide loans for the purchase, he added.

Kien Giang begins to export globefish
 For Kien Giang province, globefish exports are expected to bring big revenues, increasing the income of thousands of local workers and ending the illegal trading of globefish.

After getting approval from the Government to implement a pilot globefish export project, Kien Giang province has teamed up with partners in the Republic of Korea (RoK) to exploit, process and export globefish.

Vietnam has around 40 varieties of globefish with a reserve of nearly 40,000 tonnes, while Kien Giang exploits 6,000-10,000 tonnes per year.

Advanced technology can remove poison from the fish, turning it into high-priced food for which there is an increasing demand from the Republic Korea, Japan, Taiwan and China.

Nguyen Ngoc Phuong, Vice Director of the Kien Giang province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says that as a pilot project, Kien Giang has licensed two businesses to process and export and four others to purchase, and transport the fish. The province is allowed to export three kinds of globefish as sought by importers. The Korean partners are training Vietnamese workers to correctly harvest and process the fish.

NTT Solmare launches new service in Vietnam
Japan’s NTT Solmare Corporation signed a deal to provide digital Japanese comic books on mobile devices in Vietnam on August 5 in Hanoi.

The deal grants the Tinh Van group of Vietnam domestic monopoly rights to distribute the products of Japan’s leading mobile comic books site provider, and all the products will be translated into Vietnamese by this group.

NTT Somare President Hiroki Oohashi said Southeast Asia is a dynamic and potential market. The deal on strategic cooperation with the Tinh Van group would make Japanese digital comics and cartoons available in Vietnam as soon as possible and they would be warmly welcomed by Vietnamese mobile device users.

The service might be new in Vietnam but would help change the customs and habits of the Vietnamese and build a bridge of culture between the two nations, said the Japanese tycoon.

NTT Solamare’s services are now available in 30 countries.

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