The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has recommended the government to transfer investment rights for the Long Phu III thermal power plant from PetroVietnam to China Southern Power Grid Company Limited.

China Southern Power Grid Company Limited provides electricity for five southern Chinese provinces. Through co-operation with Electricity of Vietnam Group (EVN), the firm has to date supplied a total 33.4 billion kWh of electricity for Vietnam.

MoIT has also asked the government to assign Geleximco-HUI, a joint venture between Geleximco and Hong Kong United Co., Ltd., to develop the Quynh Lap 1 hydropower plant, replacing the existing investor, state-run Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Holding Corporation Limited (Vinacomin).

Meanwhile, many Chinese firms have become EPC contractor for Vietnamese energy projects. For instance, Kaidi Vuhan-China Co.Ltd is the EPC contractor for Thang Long, Hai Duong, Cam Pha 3 and Mao Khe thermal power plants.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam has 19 foreign-invested thermal power projects carried out under the build, operate and transfer form. Among those, Vinh Tan 1, Vung Ang 2 and Vinh Tan 3 thermal power plants are invested in by Chinese firms.

Up to 95% of the total investment of Vinh Tan 1 thermal power plant is jointly invested by China Southern Power Grid Company Limited and China Power International Development Limited, while the remainder belongs to Vinacomin.

Hong Kong’s One Energy Investments Ltd. Co. accounts for 48.45% of Vung Ang 2 thermal power plant’s investment capital and the remainder comes from two Vietnamese partners. However, the Hong Kong firm is waiting for the Vietnamese government’s approval to take over the whole project.

One Energy Investments Ltd. Co. also holds 55% in the Vinh Tan 3 thermal power plant.

 
Source: Vietnam Net

Hanoi got the Prime Minister’s nod, chosen ahead of Ho Chi Minh City by virtue of its proposal costing much less, and its existing infrastructure and previous experience in hosting several huge sporting events.

The event will take place between October and December in 2021.

The decision on Hanoi came after the SEA Games Federation (SEAGF) informed it would hand over hosting rights for the 31st edition of the SEA Games to Vietnam, because Cambodia, the original host, said it was not ready yet.

Vietnam was originally scheduled to host the 32nd edition of the biennial event in 2023.

The Ministry of Sports, Culture and Tourism said Hanoi meets all the requirements of infrastructure and human sources to organize the large-scale event, and has previous experience, having hosted the games in 2003.

In 2016, Hanoi had submitted a VND1.7 trillion ($74.8 million) budget proposal for the event, while HCMC submitted a VND15.6 trillion budget for the event this January.

The SEA Games are held every two years. When Vietnam hosted the Games in 2003, the main events were held in Hanoi and some in HCMC. Last year, the country sent 476 athletes to the Games in Kuala Lumpur, which gathered around 6,000 athletes from 11 Southeast Asian states.

The upcoming edition of SEA Games will take place in Metro Manila, the Philippines in 2019.

 
Source: VN Express

While 57 per cent of commercial properties in the Square Mile are bought by Asians, the second-highest investors by continent are the Europeans, buying 14 per cent over the same period of the most recent six quarters, according to data compiled by Datscha UK, a provider of property research intelligence.

Lesley Males, head of research at Datscha UK, told City A.M.: “London is the financial capital of the world. I don’t think that will change with Brexit. The initial fear was there but demand has gone through the roof again.”

Males added: “Asians see the potential in London, with commercial property prices holding values.”

The latest statistics are fresh evidence of a surge in interest from the east for London’s high-end property market, both in terms of residential and commercial buildings.

Last month trophy buildings in the Square Mile were bought up for huge sums, with Ropemaker Place and the UBS headquarters both being purchased for £650m and £1bn respectively.

Talking to City A.M. several weeks ago about the growth in south east Asian investment, commercial property expert Nick Braybrook said: “The market for trophies has been increasing for a few years now, and we have reached a point where the market is dominated by private investors, principally from Hong Kong. People are not quite aware of the dominance of south east Asian buyers, who make up about 70 per cent of the market.”

Source: CITYA.M.

For decades, Vietnamese have shopped, snacked and hung out at the country’s traditional markets: colorful, chaotic mazes of open air stalls where vendors hawk everything from fruits and vegetables, to sandwiches and sodas to the odd clucking chicken.

Seven-Eleven is pushing a different model. The Japanese-owned chain in August opened its first outlet in the country, an air-conditioned, Wi-Fi equipped oasis in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Since then, it’s rolled out about two locations per month, with plans for 100 within the next three years. GS Retail Co., the giant South Korean mini-mart operator, opened its beachhead in January. Meanwhile, local chains have announced new plans to flood the country with thousands of their own stores.

The brewing battle among purveyors of climate-controlled convenience is a measure of how far Vietnam has come since it opened to more trade and investment a decade-and-a-half ago. Factory openings by multinationals like Samsung Electronics Co. have made Vietnam a manufacturing powerhouse and helped lift average annual incomes to $2,385 from about $400 back in 2000. In the first half of 2018 the economy grew 7.1 percent, its fastest pace in a decade.

“I see a domino effect,” said Willy Kruh, a convenience-store watcher who heads KPMG Canada’s global consumer consultancy. “As other retailers see the success of the foreign players that have come in, it’s only going to bring in more retail, more brands, more big players.”

Lured by one of the world’s youngest consumer markets — more than half of Vietnam’s 93 million people are under 35 — foreign investors are pouring money into the country. The Ho Chi Minh Stock Index rose to a record in April, although it’s since given up some gains.

“Growth has been phenomenal,” said Chua Hak Bin, a regional economist at Maybank Kim Eng Research in Singapore, who said he’d recently come back from a marketing trip in Europe, where clients peppered him with questions about Vietnam. “It’s definitely a rock star.”

The last few months have seen a string of record public equity offerings. In November, there was the $709 million raised by shopping mall operator Vincom Retail JSC. That record stood until April, when Techcombank brought in $922 million. A month after that, it was luxury property developer Vinhomes JSC raking in $1.4 billion.

“You now have a young, emerging middle class looking to consume–and as they do, it’ll invite more and more investment,” said Jeffrey Perlman, head of Southeast Asia at Warburg Pincus, the U.S.-based private equity firm which owns stakes in both Vincom Retail and Techcombank.

College student Vo Thi Hoai Ngan fits the target marketing profile. On a recent weekday afternoon in Ho Chi Minh City, she bypassed street vendors selling sugarcane and coconut drinks to buy bottled water at an air-conditioned mini-mart operated by Circle K Stores Inc.

“My classmates and I prefer to come here for a quick meal,” she said. “It offers free Wi-Fi, chairs and tables.”

Circle K, a chain owned by Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., led the way for foreign convenience stores 10 years ago, when it open its first outlet in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s commercial capital. Tokyo-based FamilyMart UNY Holdings Co. followed in 2009.

But growth didn’t really take off until 2014 when the economy shrugged off its own mini debt-crisis and got inflation under control. That year, McDonald’s Corp. and Domino’s Pizza Inc. opened their first restaurants in the country.

Now a full-scale convenience-store flood is coming. The country’s biggest operator of gas stations, Vietnam National Petroleum Group, plans to add mini-marts at fillings stations across the country and property developer Vingroup JSC says it will add 4,000 mini-grocery stores by 2020.

Throughout Asia, where dense cities often make big box retailing impractical, convenience stores are expanding faster than every other type of business selling food and sundries, according to IGD, a grocery market researcher. In Indonesia, which is a few steps ahead of Vietnam on the development curve, Alfamart and Indomaret have been opening 1,000 mini-marts and convenience stores every year.

“Vietnam is at the start of that journey today,” said Nick Miles, IDG’s head of Asia-Pacific research. “It’s kind of at that point in per-capita income where modern trade starts to accelerate.”

No economist has actually done a formal study of the convenience store as a marker of development. But researchers have shown that consumption evolves in a predictable way as societies get richer. With annual incomes below $2,000, people buy things like bicycles and basic necessities. Between $2,000 and $6,000, where the average Vietnamese person is now, it’s scooters, refrigerators and beer. (Cars, laptops and cosmetics come next.)

Tu Vu, head of 7-Eleven’s Vietnam unit, is betting that new shopping trends will include frequent visits to his convenience stores. So far, Seven System Vietnam JSC has 19 franchise outlets in the country, all in Ho Chi Minh City. Vu says he’ll need hundreds of stores to become profitable, an expansion that will take several years.

“We are experiencing a transition from mom-and-pop stores to modern trade,” Vu said. “This is what Japan went through 40 years ago. People are working more and there are no grandmothers home to cook.”

Source: Bloomberg

One of the first things that buy-to-let investors consider when venturing into their next property deal, is whether their chosen asset is going to increase in value over time. Without a rise in price, property provides little to no potential for capital growth, with only assured yields as a source of rental income. Although future house price predictions can never be accurately forecast and market conditions are subject to speculation, there are some clues when it comes to finding the best areas for capital growth that will help provide a secure and profitable exit strategy for investors.

The latest statistics released by Hometrack who analyse house price trends across 20 of the UK’s largest cities put Manchester on top for capital appreciation on property investments. Dubbed the largest power-base next to London, the northern location overtakes southern destinations with recorded price inflation over the last 12 months as high as 7.7 per cent. Compared to rival property hotspot, London, where house price growth was only 0.8 per cent in the same period, it’s clear that Manchester is leading the way for the most lucrative property investments in 2018.

The data from April this year shows how Manchester’s positive growth has been consistent over the last three months as well as the past month respectively, with incremental bursts beating fellow northern hotspots in Sheffield and Newcastle. Cambridge and Oxford are somewhat add-ons of the London market that used to contribute considerably to its price growth, but these areas are now seeing bigger slumps than ever and are struggling to rank highly for price inflation. Across the two locations, growth only reached a high of 2.1 per cent over the past 12 months as a reflection of the dwindling property market towards the south shores of the country.

According to Hometrack, the average growth rate for cities is 4.9 per cent and 4.5 per cent across the UK. Manchester’s colossal surge in house prices outstrips both of these figures to highlight that it’s a major contender for property investment, not only surpassing London but most other parts of the UK too. But how do investors know that the trend is going to last? Property company JLL have in fact predicted that Manchester’s capital growth will reach 28.2 per cent between June 2017 and June 2021 in an immense market revolution.

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Rising house prices tend to have negative connotations, but for buy-to-let investors, price inflation equals property gold. The average Manchester house price is £153,600, which is still relatively low when compared to the average of £490,100 in London. Investors can acquire lower-cost properties and receive better prospects for capital growth in the future to allow buy-to-let players to cash in on their Manchester investments.

Manchester’s record levels of house price growth haven’t been witnessed in the market since 2005, awarding it with the UK’s strongest regional property rating. In fact, experienced companies like RWinvest are urging investors to get involved as soon as possible in order to reap the benefits of capital appreciation. The underlying market conditions indicate healthy market strength in Manchester which also assures investors with affordable properties and strong rental yields. Now establishing itself as a go-to location for investment in buy-to-let property, Manchester has become a lucrative alternative to London and it’s notoriously trying market.

Source: Shout Out UK

Vietnamese consumer confidence index achieved its highest score in the last decade, placing it as the fourth most optimistic country in the world, according to market research firm Nielsen.

The index reached 124 points in the first quarter of 2018, up 9 points over the same period last year.

“The great economic growth across industries, combined with strong foreign investment flows, increasing household incomes and proper government policies have resulted in optimism among consumers,” said Nguyen Huong Quynh, Managing Director of Nielsen Vietnam.

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“However, positive sentiments did not lead to strong fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sales in Vietnam, with the market up just 1.8 percent in Q1. The growth was slower than expected and reflected the characteristic of FMCG industry in Vietnam, possibly due to changing consumer behaviors,” Quynh added.

Having a stable job and good health remains key concerns of Vietnamese consumers. In this quarter, the top five concerns of Vietnamese consumers remained the same as last year. Job security topped the list with 43 percent, followed by health and wellness (41 percent). Other concerns included work-life balance and economic status with both at 23 percent.

The Nielsen report said Southeast Asia and North America showed the highest level of consumer confidence. The confidence score of consumers in Southeast Asia increased 2 points from 119 in fourth quarter of 2017 to 121 in first quarter of this year.

 
Source: VN Express

Passenger traffic through Vietnamese airports hit 52.8 million in the first half of this year, a surge of 14 per cent year-on-year, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam reported.

The passengers were on board 223,000 flights, which showed a rise of 10.6 per cent year on year. The volume of cargo through the airports was 726,000 tonnes, up 9.4 per cent from the same period last year.

According to the authority, 35.4 million passengers were transported during the reviewed time, up 16.8 per cent year on year, including 25.1 million carried by Vietnamese carriers, up 15 percent year on year.

The Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV), the operator of 21 civil airports across the country, has announced a plan to transport 101.8 million passengers in 2018. — VNS

 
Source: Vietnam News

Vietnamese construction firm Xuan Cau and Thailand conglomerate B.Grimm have teamed up to build Southeast Asia’s largest solar power plant in Tay Ninh Province.

The signing of the joint venture agreement in Bangkok was witnessed by the prime ministers of both countries, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

The $420 million, 420MW project is set to be commissioned in June 2019, said Preeyanart Soontornwata, CEO of the B.Grimm Power Public Company.

With Vietnam’s electricity demand growing significantly, B.Grimm estimates that the project will eventually account for 30 percent the company’s total income.

Solar power currently accounts for 0.01 percent of the country’s total power output, but the government plans to increase the ratio to 3.3 percent by 2030 and 20 percent by 2050.

Vietnam depends largely on hydropower and thermal power plants for its electricity demands, but the projects have often drawn criticism from both local and international communities due to environmental concerns.

Vietnam is aiming to produce 10.7 percent of its electricity through renewable energy by 2030, mainly through solar and wind energy.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told Reuters that Vietnam aimed to increase the number of households using solar energy from the current 4.3 percent to 26 percent by 2030.

Source: VN Express

Thailand is the top country in Asean for enterprises to explore and implement Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to boost their productivity and innovation, thanks to awareness based on government policy and investment in both soft and hard infrastructure, according to a survey.

The survey by the Asia IoT Business Platform in 2017 found 89% of enterprises in Thailand are exploring and/or implementing IoT solutions, the highest percentage in Asean, followed by Malaysia (86%), Indonesia (83%), the Philippines (80%) and Vietnam (79%). The survey had 1,573 respondents in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.

In Thailand, the percentage of those enterprises exploring and/or implementing IoT solutions has increased to 92% this year, with manufacturing holding the largest share (27.4%) of overall industrial value, as it is critical to adopt and deploy IoT to capitalise on the new economy.

Irza Suprapto, chief executive of Asia IoT Business Platform at Industry Platform Pte, said the figure in Thailand is not surprising because of the many Industry 4.0 related projects.

The high percentage is a positive for Thailand because manufacturing is the largest contributor to the country’s economy, said Mr Irza. “There has been strong interest from local enterprises in Thailand to implement digitisation and IoT projects. The demand creates an ecosystem of innovation locally as it encourages investment by technology startups and established solution providers in Thailand,” he said.

Mr Irza said in 2017, 89% of Thai enterprises were exploring and implementing IoT, of which 42% are in the fact-finding stage, 25% of them are in the exploratory stage and 22% have already implemented and/or benefited from IoT solutions.

In 2018, 92% of Thai enterprises are exploring and/or implementing IoT, of which 35% are in the fact-finding stage, 29% are in the exploratory stage and 28% have already implemented and/or benefited from from IoT solutions.

The survey also shows 26% of Thai enterprises have dedicated teams to implement digital transformation, with 32% saying digital transformation has already been implemented in at least one functional area within their business.
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Yesterday, the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), under the Digital Economy and Society Ministry (DE), held a press conference and signed a memorandum of understanding with Asia IoT Business Platform to hold “Asia IoT Business Platform (AIBP) Thailand 2018” from July 24-25 at the InterContinental hotel in Bangkok. The conference aims to deliver the latest statistics from an Asean-wide survey covering enterprise digitisation.

Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin, president of DEPA, said the agency expects the event next month will facilitate local tech startups to find business-matching with global players, especially for the IoT-related business ecosystem.

“Working with AIBP will help local small businesses as well as startups obtain more opportunities to enter new regional markets, serving DEPA’s road map of digital knowledge exchange and development of of innovative business,” he said.

Tanapong Ittisakulchai, director for small and mid-market solutions and partners at Microsoft Thailand, said digital transformation could add as much as US$387 billion (12.7 trillion dollars) to Asia-Pacific’s economy by 2021, and business leaders across the region viewed IoT as one of the top tech priorities in achieving their digital transformation.

 
Source: Bangkok Post

TripAdvisor readers rank the nation high for authentic travel experiences.

Vietnam’s growing popularity as a travel destination has been confirmed by its ranking as one of the 10 best places to visit in the world. The ranking, released by the world’s most popular travel guide and review website, TripAdvisor, last month, is based on readers’ reviews and ratings for various categories including accommodation, restaurants and travel experiences, gathered over 12 months.

Iceland tops the latest the list, followed by Greece, Mexico, Portugal and Morocco. Vietnam, which was named among world’s 20 fastest growing travel destinations in 2016, has overtaken its neighbor Thailand for the first time. Thailand came in 9th, three places behind Vietnam.

Foreign tourist arrivals to Vietnam in January-May skyrocketed 27.6 percent from a year ago to more than 6.71, according to the General Statistics Office. Vietnam is loved by both local and foreign visitors for its natural beauty, cheap prices, vibrant nightlife and memorable travel experiences. In April, TripAdvisor’s readers also voted An Bang Beach in the central ancient town Hoi An as one of the 25 most picturesque beaches in Asia, for the third year in a row.

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Vietnam’s travel experiences have received high recommendations from various global sites. In late 2016, the U.S. news site Business Insider named a cruise trip through Ha Long Bay among the must-do travel experiences in Asia. Ho Chi Minh City was voted the place to go for nightlife in Southeast Asia by Rough Guides, the respected U.K. travel magazine, in April.

The Telegraph also recommended Hanoi for an amazing food experience, while Ho Chi Minh City has cracked various lists of top destinations for solo and retiree travelers. Both cities were named by Price of Travel as one of the cheapest cities for backpackers.

Vietnam is striving to welcome 17-20 million foreign visitors and make $35 billion per year from tourism by 2020, contributing 10 percent to the country’s economy, compared to the current 7.5 percent.

 
Source: VN Express