11 December 2016

Prime Minister calls on Hung Yen to attract more investment

(VOVworld) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged Hung Yen province, the homeland of the late Party Secretary General Nguyen Van Linh, to uphold its tradition to become wealthier.

prime minister calls on hung yen to attract more investment hinh 0

Working with Hung Yen authorities on Sunday, Mr. Phuc said efforts should be made to develop the industry, attract investment, and protect the environment: “The province needs to renew its political determination to improve the business climate and competitiveness so as to encourage business growth and innovations. Hung Yen should attract foreign direct investment projects in hi-tech and preserving and processing agricultural produce, while creating favorable conditions for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises to generate jobs. The province should work harder to have 16,000 enterprises by 2020, doubling the current figure.”



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Breakfast @ Tuoi Tre News – December 12

Here are the leading news stories about Vietnam you should not miss today, December 12

Here are the leading news stories about Vietnam you should not miss today, December 12

Politics

— During her visit to New Delhi from December 8 to 11, Vietnam’s National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan joined talks with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday evening, addressing measures to enhance the two nations’ economic cooperation.

Society

— Under the effect of a tropical depression, which was west of Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago on Sunday night, rain is forecast to continue in southern Vietnam, according to the National Center for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting.

— Phan Thanh Ngoan, a 30-year-old lieutenant, succumbed to his wounds on Saturday after being stabbed in the stomach at a karaoke bar on Phuc Quoc Island, off the southern province of Kien Giang. Ngoan was stuck in a fight between two gangs before he was accidentally attacked by the thugs.

— Police in District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, have inaugurated a new center for monitoring public security cameras, which is designed to help officers promptly deal with any social disorder in the area.

— A female patient, hailing from the northern province of Lao Cai, has accused a Chinese-owned clinic in Hanoi of wrongly diagnosing her gynaecological conditions and charging her an exorbitant price of VND16 million (US$709) for the treatment.

— The Embassy of Vietnam in Angola confirmed on Sunday that a Vietnamese woman living in Angola had been burnt alive by local robbers on Wednesday last week.

Business

— Many businesses in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang have signed deals with local farmers for the production of clean rice, which will benefit both parties as well as consumers.

Lifestyle

— A food festival was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hanoi on Sunday with the participation of 39 representatives from foreign embassies in Vietnam.



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Global companies fight climate change

(VOVworld) – Leaders of many companies in the world have repeated their consistent opinion on the need to reduce green house gas emission involving their factories. This positive move will add to the governments’ efforts to realize the Paris Agreement on Climate Change adopted last December.

A worker stands on palm oil seeds in Riau province, Indonesia. An Indonesian palm-oil company, Astra Agro Lestari, committed itself to policies to reduce deforestation. Credit Adek Berry/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
A worker stands on palm oil seeds in Riau province, Indonesia. An Indonesian palm-oil company, Astra Agro Lestari, committed itself to policies to reduce deforestation. Credit Adek Berry/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

An increasing number of companies have begun to realize that environmental protection is a core part of their business strategies. In Asia, palm oil companies, whose products directly involve logging and burning trees, have joined emission reduction efforts. In Japan, hospitals, big companies, and schools restrict the use of lifts and encourage people to walk. Producers give priority to developing products with longer life expectancy.

In the US, many companies pledged to reduce carbon emission by 50% and use only renewable energy. Johnson&Johnson declared to cut 80% of carbon emission by 2050. Dell pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 50% in 2020 compared with 2012 and convert half of its used energy to renewable energy by 2020. Nike plans to use 100% of renewable energy by 2025.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has approved a mandatory system for collecting data on ships’ fuel consumption. Ships of 5,000 gross tonnage or more will have to record and report their consumption for every type of fuel. IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim said the move will contribute remarkably to the fight against climate change.

Independent airlines and the aviation transport sector in general have become more responsible for their environmental impacts. Jetstar Group has implemented a program on minimizing greenhouse gas emission, calling on passengers to contribute a donation per flight and committing to support environmental sustainability.

Hong Van



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VDF points way forward

In the first year of its redesign, the Vietnam Development Forum 2016 consulted international development partners about broad macro-economic outlooks, global impacts, and fiscal-debt management for the country’s future sustainable growth.

Amid local obstacles and global uncertainty, Vietnam and its development partners talked approaches at VDF 2016

Themed “Facilitating an action-oriented government – New driving force for development”, the Vietnam Development Forum (VDF) 2016 took place against the backdrop of rising uncertainty in the global economy. 2016 is also the first year of Vietnam’s new cabinet, which is leading the country on the new five-year socio-economic development plan (SEDP) 2016-2020.

2016 is also the first year that VDF has replaced the Vietnam Development Partnership Forum (VDPF) and the previous Consultative Group (CG) meeting. This year, the Vietnamese government listened to speakers and development partners’ perspectives and suggestions to issues concerning mid-term and long-term SEDP targets, instead of letting reports and future policy discussions lead the day.

The global context in 2017 has become difficult to forecast. The new US regime will have great impact on the global political-economic structure, especially in investment, trade, and monetary systems. In addition, the EU will be facing big changes, with the fallout from Brexit to come. And Asia is expected to face unpredictability caused by the greater influence of the Chinese economy and currency.

“The slow recovery of the global economy and a strong drop in crude oil and necessary commodities have greatly affected Vietnam’s economy. Also, climate change was blamed for the extreme cold in the north, prolonged droughts in the southern-central and Central Highlands regions, salt intrusion in the Mekong Delta, and other challenges,” Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung told the forum.

“Facing the obstacles ahead, Vietnam wants to consult development partners about our macro-economic outlook perspectives in 2016-2020, global impacts, especially FTAs, and fiscal-debt management. We also seek recommendations to address a series of issues related to market institution, development of driving forces, and investment sources.”

International development partners including the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) lauded Vietnam’s macro-economic stability, while highlighting the challenges for the government to achieve the objectives set out by the SEDP 2016-2020.

“Vietnam has witnessed five straight years of macro-economic stability, underpinned by stability-oriented macro-economic policies, including steps toward more flexible exchange rate management. 2016 was marked by single-digit inflation, a relatively stable exchange rate, and a strengthening external position,” said Ousmane Dione, country director of WB in Vietnam.

“Importantly, and in spite of global headwinds, the economy continues to show strong resilience, supported by robust domestic demand and export-oriented manufacturing. Growth has remained high at about 6 per cent – one of the fastest growth rates regionally and globally.”

Dione also said that declining productivity growth, the environmental footprint of Vietnam’s growth, and poverty and social welfare are among the country’s key future challenges.

At the forum, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc committed the country to continue improving the business climate, restructuring the economy, enhancing equitisation of state-owned enterprises, settling bad debts, and ensuring social security.

NGUYEN XUAN PHUC Prime Minister

Handling non-performing loans (NPLs) is a task of the utmost importance, as many of the experts have pointed out: if we don’t manage them properly, it’ll eventually take a toll on macro-economic stability and growth. We therefore ought to focus on completing a legal framework for collateral management and enhancing the capacity and the legal basis for the Vietnam Asset Management Company.

On this occasion, I’d like to propose the World Bank, particularly the International Financial Corporation, support us in resolving the NPL holdup in a most practical way.

I’d like to also reveal a special piece of news: ADB and a Vietnamese private partner have on hand a plan to buy out a weak commercial bank in Vietnam.

ADB can also bring in other partners, in a bid to help the country to handle the NPLs and other weak and fragile banks [those that have been brought over at no cost].

Nguyen Chi Dung Minister of Planning and Investment

With a number of measures and bold actions, Vietnam’s economy has recovered and developed since the first quarter of 2016. Vietnam’s GDP is predicted to grow 6.3-6.5 per cent in 2016, agro-fishery-forestry industries have rebounded, and the construction and service sectors have all seen higher on-year growth. 2016 was also marked by single-digit inflation, a relatively stable exchange rate, and a strengthening external position.

Despite these achievements, Vietnam will face many challenges from global integration, including the middle-income trap, environment pollution, and climate change.

Vietnam needs to solve a series of short- and long-term issues. Thus, we really want to consult development partners about our concerns: macro-economic context, global impacts, feasible solutions to achieve the targets of the SEDP, and international experience in harmonising the relations between growth and public debt.

Norio Saito Deputy country director of Asian Development Bank

Significant reforms have been undertaken over the last two years, including the approvals of the new Public Investment Law and the State Budget Law. However, a number of important areas of reform remain, particularly in regards to public asset management.

Vietnam’s ability to efficiently manage its public assets so that they have a longer lifespan, higher economic returns, and reduced maintenance needs is essential for it to achieve better value for money from its investments. The country has spent an average of 10 per cent of GDP on public infrastructure per annum over the last decade, which is one of the highest levels in the region. Yet while construction has progressed rapidly, approaches to managing these assets once completed have lagged. Three main issues stand out for their importance: complexity, coverage of the national public asset database, and completeness.

By Bich Thuy



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UK-ASEAN affiliation promising after Brexit

To many in Southeast Asia, Britain’s decision to remove itself from the world’s largest economic bloc looked like a self-inflicted wound.

Whether illogical or inspired, nerves in ASEAN have calmed since the vote. Warnings of economic catastrophe failed to materialise – so far at least – and governments in the region such as Singapore have said Brexit’s economic impact on them is likely to be modest in the medium to long term. That seems like a fair assessment to us.

Yes, companies in ASEAN need to examine the implications of a potential loss of access to the single market via subsidiaries in the UK. However, they should also consider the potential upside of new trade deals between the UK and ASEAN states as a result of the UK’s newfound status.

UK hungry for trade deals

With its relations with Europe thrown into doubt, the UK will be keen to develop deeper relationships in the region. It can build on its historic ties with Singapore and Malaysia and also much of the groundwork laid by David Cameron. The former prime minister was the first European leader to visit Myanmar after the start of its return to civilian rule, and led a trade mission to ASEAN last year.

The UK has much to gain from closer relations. Right now, its businesses do more trade with Belgium – a country of 11 million people – than Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Singapore combined. The opportunity cost will be even starker in 10 or 15 years’ time: by 2030, ASEAN is projected to be the fourth-biggest market in the world after the US, EU, and China, and should deliver more than $2 trillion in new consumption by 2020 according to the IMF. Already its middle-class is estimated to stand at 300 million.

The UK’s new Department for International Trade under Liam Fox will want to conclude free trade agreements (FTAs) quickly – once it is free to do so outside the European Union. That is likely to mean doing deals with individual ASEAN states, not the association itself based on the experience of the EU, whose own efforts were frustrated before it pursued individual bilateral agreements. Still, an EU-ASEAN FTA remains a long-term goal for the EU, and the FTAs it has signed with Singapore and Vietnam now set the benchmark for the rest of the region.

We would expect London to focus on fast-growing Vietnam, Indonesia – with its 256 million citizens – and the UK’s traditional partners, Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore is the UK’s largest trading partner in the region, and the agreement the EU has already struck there (that should come into force in 2018 or 2019) could provide a useful template to accelerate a trade deal with the UK too.

The feeling is mutual

Southeast Asian nations are also likely to be keen to engage with London. While FTAs with the EU will remain a higher priority in most ASEAN capitals, an agreement with the UK could serve them in a number of ways.

A Britain independent of the EU may do away with the non-tariff barriers and other regulations that Asian exporters currently contend with. The UK should also be a nimbler negotiating partner than the EU’s bloc of 28, which must get signoff from each member state in order to ratify. Malaysia’s prime minister has already said he sees Brexit as an opportunity to improve relations, especially in trade and investment.

At the same time, ASEAN states could look to gain from the UK’s weaker negotiating position without the heft of the EU’s internal market behind it. So too the fact that it lacks enough experienced negotiators. Lastly, they know that the UK may need them more than they need it: Asia took 16.3 per cent of British exports last year, while the UK did not rank as a top-10 trading partner for any major Asian nation.

At a political level, there is greater will for trade deals in the region where perhaps there was not two years ago. Talks to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal – to which ASEAN members Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, and Brunei are parties – have changed the conversation, adding to the sense in these countries that trade is core to their growth story.

Lastly, we should not completely discount the political and historic role Britain has played in the region, nor its status on the world stage. The UK is still the world’s fifth-largest economy, a member of the UN Security Council, and a military player in the region.

Privately, a trade deal with the UK would be seen as a feather in the cap in many parts of the region. And for the UK, it would send a useful signal that the country is re-emerging as an independent player on the world stage.

By Stephen Ball KPMG lead partner, UK-ASEAN Business



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Streamlined, Can Tho IZs rise in 2016

This year, the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho saw a phenomenal growth in attracting investment capital to its industrial zones, with their committed investment volume skyrocketing to quadruple annual projections. Vo Thanh Hung, head of the Can Tho Export Processing and Industrial Zones Management Authority (CEPIZA) talked to VIR’s Truc Giang about this outstanding performance.

Vo Thanh Hung, head of the Can Tho Export Processing and Industrial Zones Management Authority (CEPIZA)

This year, the city authorities have committed to accelerating investment and boosting competitiveness to deepen international integration. Has the move positively impacted Can Tho’s efforts to attract investment to its industrial zones (IZs)?

This year has been an outright bonanza for the city’s IZs as the actual committed investment volume has set a seven-year record.

Through the end of November, Can Tho IZs lured seven new investment projects, while seven existing projects requested expansion. City-based IZs are expected to woo more than $200 million in the total investment capital this year alone, nearly four times the annual target.

Next year, several large-scale projects (including one on logistics) are expected to continue this winning streak. Our relevant management agencies are making the necessary procedures to grant investment certificates to the projects.

Through CEPIZA’s business-friendly tactics and infrastructural development, Can Tho IZs have seen a sharp increase in investment capital
Through CEPIZA’s business-friendly tactics and infrastructural development, Can Tho IZs have seen a sharp increase in investment capital

What factors stand behind this breakthrough?

Can Tho’s investment climate has improved markedly in recent years. The local infrastructure system, particularly transport infrastructure, has seen noticeable upgrades, with roads cutting through the city significantly widened.

The bottleneck in direct import-export of goods between Can Tho and other regional cities and provinces will be tackled after the channels for large ships to access Hau River ports are opened.

In the city, Tan Cang Sai Gon Corporation officially inaugurated the first phase of Tan Cang-Cai Cui Terminal (Cai Rang district) in early December, covering over seven of the planned 12 hectares, making it accessible to 20,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT) ships. Kitted out with modern equipment, the port can handle 40 containers per hour and provide a wide range of associated port and logistics services.

In late October, the first container batch moored at Tan Cang-Cai Cui Terminal. It was also the first commercial ship to inaugurate the new terminal.

In addition, the city authorities have been stepping up support to businesses by simplifying procedures. For instance, South Korean firm Taekwang Limited’s $171 million, 62-hectare project received valuable assistance from a special workgroup led by Deputy Chairman of the Can Tho People’s Committee Dao Anh Dung and received cleared space after just 70 days.

On the part of CEPIZA, we have made strenuous efforts to quicken administrative reforms to help firms save time and cost.

Could you elaborate on the measures CEPIZA has taken to propel administrative reforms?

Our staff members are now handling administrative procedures following the approved ISO 9001:2008 system. The ‘work profile’ and ‘one-stop shop’ software items have been deployed across all CEPIZA departments. In addition, each functional department has been regularly revising procedures under their competency, making amendments in a timely manner to help unclog the backup of projects.

In 2016, CEPIZA’s administrative department received a total of 244 files covering 32 administrative procedures, of which 234 files were returned prior to their set deadline, reaching 97 per cent, and the remainder were given back on time.

Administrative reforms and the application of the one-stop shop mechanism have generated impressive results and satisfied businesses’ and investors’ needs.

Investment into city-based IZs has been extremely encouraging. How did CEPIZA prepare to meet investors’ demand for cleared space?

The availability of cleared space was top of the agenda for the city’s leadership. Can Tho was approved by the prime minister to establish eight IZs. Of them, 135ha Tra Noc 1 and 157ha Tra Noc 2 have basically filled up the land for industrial production. As for the others, Can Tho City Investment Development Fund plans to host a ground-breaking ceremony early this month for 110ha belonging to Bloc A of Hung Phu 1 IZ.

The investment pace in building technical infrastructure at the 152ha Bloc B at Hung Phu 1 IZ and at BMC-Hung Phu 2A IZ was reported to be slow because of difficulties in site clearance. This has hindered the city’s efforts in attracting investors.

The Can Tho People’s Committee and CEPIZA, therefore, have urged IZ developers to quicken compensation to be able to expedite cleared space for investors.

The city’s management authorities have committed to revoking projects from financially feeble investors and handing them over to more viable competitors.

Notably, in anticipation of development opportunities after the construction of Vam Cong Bridge is finished next year, the city has focussed on building Thot Not IZ and assigned it the flagship role in its investment attraction strategy in 2017 and the following years.

Vam Cong Bridge crosses the Hau River and connects Dong Thap province and Can Tho through Thot Not IZ. Thot Not IZ enjoys favourable conditions as it is located about 50 kilometres from Can Tho city centre and 9km from An Giang province’s Long Xuyen city. In addition, the IZ is at a crossroads between the Mekong Delta’s provinces off An Giang and Kien Giang. This location is ideal for the IZ to establish itself as a major transit station for regional commodities trading. In addition, the IZ also lies in the centre of plentiful areas for the agricultural and seafood processing industries.

With such strong advantages, CEPIZA commits to fulfilling all necessary procedures to commence Thot Not IZ’s construction in the second quarter next year. The Thot Not IZ Infrastructure Construction Centre is currently in the stage of legal setup, awaiting authorisation to act as the 200ha Thot Not II IZ’s infrastructure developer.



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Predix equips new industrial revolution

Predix, GE’s operating system for the Industrial Internet, provides a platform to build applications that connect to industrial assets, collect and analyse data, and deliver real-time insights for optimising industrial infrastructure and operations. Alvin Ng, general manager of GE Digital in Southeast Asia, talked with VIR’s Hong Anh about the potential for Predix in Vietnam.

Alvin Ng, general manager of GE Digital in Southeast Asia

GE introduced Predix to potential Vietnamese customers in a presentation in Hanoi just a couple of months ago. What was the general reaction?

Vietnam, both as a country and as an economy, has very smart people, especially in the software environment. When I talk about digital in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, the general audience will not catch on as quickly as in Vietnam. The country understands the software industry very well, so the maturity on software and apps is high. The maturity on cloud-based apps, however, is rather lacking. Still, after our presentation, many customers came to us and expressed interest in being part of the Industrial Internet of Things. They might not fully understand what it is, but they feel like they need to be part of it.

Does Vietnam have the necessary hardware to adopt Predix apps?

Predix can be used on hardware of any vintage or vendor. As long as there are sensors on the hardware, we have the platform to analyse the collected data. The important thing for digital transformation is leadership. Since digital means transparency, if the company leadership wants transparency, they will be decisive to implement the digital transformation.

When companies use apps that run on Predix, they generate a lot of data. Does GE own this data?

There is an agreement between GE and the customers. If you say it is your private data, GE will not touch it. But when customers allow their anonomised data to be part of GE’s database, it gives them access to larger sets of data aggregated from other industrial companies allows you to make comparisons and find the best practices.

Predix is unique in that customers own their data. With some other cloud platforms, unless you have a separate agreement with your cloud vendor, the vendor takes ownership of your data through the terms and conditions, because it sits on their physical system. At GE Digital, customers own their data and can encrypt it. We will store the encrypted data, administer the servers, but we cannot have a look unless the customers give us access.

Cyber security is a concern in Vietnam, not only in banking, but in other sectors too. With Predix, how does GE prevent cyber crimes?

We acquired Wurldtech in 2014, to bring cyber security to all our products from edge to cloud. In information technology (IT) security the focus is on protecting the data, data security, and data privacy. Most of the attacks we see in IT involve data theft. On our platform we address this with multiple layers of security throughout the platform, not just the encryption. Customers hold the key and can decide who gets to access the data. In terms of operational technology (OT), a lot of the equipment – for example a power plant or oil rig or factory – and the industrial control systems (ICS) it runs on were created 15 to 20 years ago, sometimes up to 40 years ago. They were not designed to exist on a modern day network, which make them more vulnerable to attacks. What we did last year was bring out OpShield, which is a security device that sits in an industrial network and protects the ICS from cyber attacks. Not only can we protect the equipment from malicious attacks, we can also create a baseline of known behaviours. When we see any activity that falls outside of that baseline, we can take action, block traffic, generate an alarm, and send someone to investigate.

Our approach to security is to first secure the platform from edge to cloud, then to secure the OT environment. We also have an expert risk assessment service for our customers where we can assess the potential risks within their industrial environment. Lastly, at GE we take product security very seriously. Today, when you buy a locomotive, steam turbine, MRI machine, or CT scanner, these assets come equipped with OpShield.

GE officially opened the Predix platform for outside companies in February. After being available to outside developers for almost a year, how popular is it now?

Internationally, we have 20,000 developers working on Predix, meeting our goal for the year. Within the region, there are about 3,000-4,000. In Vietnam in particular, FPT is one of our distinguished partners.



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Digital transformation: GE embraces digital leader role

As the Industry Internet adds value in all business areas, machinery and plant engineering companies must make the decision whether to take on the role of the digital leader, the one to operate and optimise systems in a factory, boost their share in value creation or leave this to manufacturing or software giants. GE has decided to be the digital leader. Hai Tram reports.

The issues are not technical, but strategic

The issues are not technical, but strategic

The manufacturing industry is in the throes of a major upsurge in innovation. The progressive digitalisation of industry – known as the Industrial Internet – is increasing the efficiency of production processes and generating additional growth. As a result, companies that master these new digitalisation rules can make better decisions, improve process integration, and develop new business designs.

According to Oliver Wyman’s study, entitled ‘Digital Industry – The True Value of Industry 4.0’, the global value-added potential of Industry 4.0 will hit $1.4 trillion by 2030, driven by cost reductions and profit growth. Most technical drivers of the digital transformation have been identified. They include the growing availability of networked machines in production facilities, more extensive 3D printing processes, simulation software, and the almost real-time availability of large data sets (‘big data’).

In this context, companies in the machinery and plant engineering industries will need to address primarily strategic issues, not technological ones.

The principal strategic issue is digital leadership. In the future, who will operate and optimise the systems in a car factory? Will these activities be performed by the company supplying the robots, the automotive manufacturer or a third-party software giant? Who will be capable of analysing the operating data? These questions are all related to the so-called application expertise and are truly the core issues of Industry 4.0. In the future, they will stand at the heart of mass customisation.

Machinery and plant engineering companies can not only boost their share in value creation in their traditional business sectors, but also in related industries by taking process integration into their own hands.

With total integration with the digital world a necessary step for industry, GE has made a transition to a big data power

GE has identified nine distinct points across the value chain, ranging from improving research and development efficiency to optimising the production network. The key aspect of digital value is a better understanding of actual customer demand that allows more precise forecasts and smarter pricing based on the customers’ willingness to pay. This potential will be reflected by global margin growth worth $600 billion. Making production more flexible, for example by allowing mass customisation, is the second most important aspect in terms of impact, adding $300 billion.

The advent of the ‘Digital Industry’ will fundamentally transform each and every company in the manufacturing industry. As the trend takes flight, executives, for their part, will be increasingly required to set up more transparent, data-based processes for their decision-making.

However, it seems that only a small number of managers feel that they are well-equipped to meet these new challenges. When surveyed for the study, a typical response from machinery and plant engineering company decision-makers was that there is not enough “creativity to think outside the existing operating models and business designs”. In addition, 86 per cent of the respondents deplored the lack of “in-house software and data capabilities” within their companies. Furthermore, 84 per cent acknowledged that they did not have the necessary “expertise to analyse large data volumes”, nor to derive real insight or recommend tangible improvement measures.

This shows that becoming the kind of firm that can thrive in digital industry is a significant challenge. It will require incumbent industrials to develop skills in data-based insight generation, to upgrade technology, to become more innovative, and to make organisational changes that promote these advances.

Therefore, industrial companies seeking to exploit their digital potential will need to transform many dimensions of their business and operating models and build a broad set of new capabilities.

Companies should not underestimate the urgency of getting this process underway, because it could take a decade or more to make the full transition. Customers’ expectations regarding digitisation will rise at an increasing pace and start-ups or fast-moving incumbents will seize the opportunities. In other words, “laggards will be losers”.

With its digital technology, GE provides added value to its already-contracted clients

From hardware to software

GE’s crusade to break open the tide of digitisation started in 2011. In 2008, in the midst of the global financial crisis, the surroundings of GE’s chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt might have seemed like the world was coming down on him, with share prices falling from $60 in 2000 to below $6 in 2008, and the company stripped of its triple-A credit rating by Standard & Poor’s. To top it off, Immelt was forced to cut the dividend for the first time since 1938.

It was then that Immelt started thinking about data. Many GE’s manufactured assets were becoming equipped with sensors to collect information. That often resulted in immense amounts of data: a jet engine, for instance, spits out roughly a terabyte’s worth of everything from fuel usage through heat levels to the size of the specks of dirt that fly through the engine, on a trip across the US. What were GE and its customers supposed to do with all that data?

Immelt considered teaming up with a tech company to create software that would analyse vast amounts of the data, but when the tech company figured that out, what would it need GE for? He thought GE would be better off developing this software on its own. If nothing else, the company would be able to utilise the technology to improve its own productivity, and if things went well GE would be able to sell it as an add-on to service contracts with industrial customers.

Jeff Immelt, GE’s chairman and CEO
Jeff Immelt, GE’s chairman and CEO

He thus decided that GE needed to start building analytic and big data capability. It was the time when Immelt went after William Ruh, then-vice president at Cisco Systems. Ruh was astonished to get a call from a recruiter representing GE. He thought GE knew nothing about software. But he travelled to Fairfield in January 2011 to meet with Immelt. He was impressed by his vision and took the job. By the end of 2011, GE opened a software center in San Ramon, California.

Convinced that GE needed a cultural revolution, Immelt sought assistance from Eric Ries, a tech entrepreneur and author of “The Lean Startup”, a book that espouses the importance of releasing early versions of products, getting customer feedback, then “pivoting” or changing them if necessary to improve them. Ries helped GE tailor its own version of his methods, which the company calls FastWorks. FastWorks, according to GE, enabled the development of a new gas turbine in a year-and-a-half, rather than the usual five.

At the end of 2013, GE had 750 people working in its San Ramon office and had developed an early version of Predix, an operating system like Windows or Android but for the Industrial Internet. The company developed applications, enabling Predix to ingest and analyse vast amounts of data from sensor-equipped machines.

In April 2015, Immelt announced his plan to sell $200 billion of GE Capital assets within two years. Along with unloading most of its risky financial business, GE struck a deal to sell off its appliance division to Chinese conglomerate Haier and increased its share of the global power industry with its 2015 purchase of Alstom, a French energy company, for $10 billion. As a result, 90 per cent of GE’s profits will come from industrial operations by 2018.

The head count at the San Ramon office is now 2,000. When GE announced plans to open a software division in 2011, it expected to have a team of 400. Today, it has more than 14,000 software engineers, data scientists and designers helping to fuel software development for GE and its customers, and that number is expected to grow in coming years. Software revenue is on track to grow 20 per cent, increasing to more than $6 billion, in 2016, less than a year from the creation of GE Digital.

GE is beginning to sell Predix-based services to customers who design their own industrial equipment. Pitney Bowes is using Predix on its mailing-label machines and letter-sorting devices in corporate mailrooms. Toshiba is using it on elevators. A total of 20,000 developers from GE, partners, developers, and innovators are working on the platform to create industrial apps and solutions.

GE faces competition from all sides. Amazon and Google are getting into the Industrial Internet of Things along with IBM and Microsoft and dozens of small startups. However, knowing that the digital transformation that is underway in the industrial world is one of those times where a company has to get it right or become obsolete, GE seems to have made a smart choice. Only GE brings the combination of industrial domain and software expertise.

“If the ‘industrial’ does not converge with the ‘digital’, it will trigger a collision and we may see more formerly great companies fall by the wayside, while those that get the convergence right rocket to the next level,” said John G. Rice, vice chairman of GE and president and CEO of GE Global Growth Organization. “We are partnering and collaborating with our customers, suppliers, and developers to ensure we are not left on the sidelines.”



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Hanoi: US holds 139th repatriation ceremony

(CPV) – The US Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), the Vietnam Office for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) just co-hosted held its 139th repatriation ceremony at Hanoi-based Noi Bai International Airport.

During the ceremony, Vietnam officially transferred custody of remains believed to be those of US personnel missing from the Vietnam War.

Joint US-Vietnamese recovery teams located these remains during the 125th Joint Field Activity which took place in North and Central Vietnam from October 27th to December 9th, 2016.

Photos: US Embassy Hanoi

Photos: US Embassy Hanoi


Photos: US Embassy Hanoi

Photos: US Embassy Hanoi

“During the last search mission in Vietnam, 76 dedicated Americans and their Vietnamese partners excavated six sites. They worked in some of the most unforgiving terrain and weather conditions. The mission successfully recovered through excavation or received from Vietnamese citizens four sets of remains to be further examined in DPAA’s Central Identification Lab in Hawaii. We are so grateful for their sacrifice and dedication to this noble cause,” said US Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius.

Since 1985, US-Vietnamese joint personnel accounting cooperation – through the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Accounting Agency and its predecessors in coordination with the Vietnam Office for Seeking Missing Persons – led to the accounting of 711 Americans in Vietnam and a total of 1,028 from countries associated with the Vietnam War.

There are around 1,260 Americans still unaccounted-for in Vietnam from the war./.

ATP



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Prime Minister urges for Hung Yen’s rapid, sustainable growth

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked the northern province of Hung Yen to focus on reforming its administrative system towards a modern, dynamic and effective administration, while improving its business and investment environment.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the ceremony (Source: VNA)

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the ceremony (Source: VNA)

Attending a ceremony on December 11th to mark the 185th founding anniversary and 20th anniversary of the re-establishment of Hung Yen, the PM said he hopes the province will optimise its advantages and enhance competitiveness for more rapid and sustainable development.

He asked the province to post a provincial competitiveness index equal to the average level of the region in the 2017-2018, while mobilising resources for the building of the socio-economic infrastructure system, promoting production and improving products’ quality, and developing high technology agriculture.

Hung Yen should also pay more attention to human resources development and the application of high technology, while ensuring social security for locals, he said, adding that the province should further boost tourism in line with the conservation and promotion of cultural values.

The PM also requested the locality to strengthen the prevention and combat of corruption and wastefulness, while effectively implementing the Party’s resolution on Party building and Politburo’s direction on strengthening the study and following moral example of President Ho Chi Minh.

Located in the left bank of the Red River and the centre of the northern delta, Hung Yen, also known as Pho Hien, was a busy urban area and a bustling commercial port of the north after the capital city of Hanoi in the 17th century. Its name also attached with the legend of Chu Dong Tu, one of the four immortals of Vietnam.

Hung Yen province was founded in 1831 and re-established in 1997. The province, which has long tradition of patriotism, is home to many famous patriots, including Trieu Quang Phuc, Pham Ngu Lao, Nguyen Thien Thuat and Hoang Hoa Tham.

Realising the Party’s renewal policy, Hung Yen has risen to a locality with economic growth higher than the country’s average. Per capital income of the locality has increased 10 times compared to that in 20 years ago. Its economic structure has changed rapidly towards modernisation and industrialisation. Hung Yen expects to be among 16 localities with highest budget collection in 2017.

On the occasion, PM Phuc presented Independence Order (First class) to the Party Organisation, administration and people of Hung Yen to recognise devotion and contributions of the province to the national construction and defence./.

CPV/VNA



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Over 600 people run for wildlife protection

Over 600 participants took part in a fun run at Ciputra urban area, North Tu Liem District, Hanoi on December 11, aimed at supporting and acting to prevent the extinction of wild animals while urging the community not to use herbal medicinal products derived from endangered wildlife.


The annual half marathon Red River Run aims to call for action to protect the wildlife.

Themed “Run for Wildlife – Take Action against Extinction”, the tenth Red River Run 2016 was held jointly by the Red River Runners (RRR) Club and the non-governmental Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV).

Unlike previous events, participants at this year’s run could choose to run in teams to affirm their support for the protection of bears, tigers, rhinos or pangolins, with different distances of 5km, 10km and a half-marathon distance of 21km, as well as a children’s category. The four mentioned endangered animals are at risk of extinction because they are hunted and used in traditional medicine.

ENV Deputy Director Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung called for action against wildlife extinction, saying that one of the meaningful and practical actions each person could do to stop the slaughter of wildlife in the nature was choosing modern medicine instead of using traditional medicinal products derived from endangered species.

In addition to individual runners, the run also drew the participation of teams from several foreign embassies in Hanoi, the European Union Delegation in Vietnam, the US Agency for International Development and a number of businesses.

This is the fourth consecutive year the money raised from the tournament will be used to support activities to tackle illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam.

Richard Leech from RRR Club said that the event offered a good opportunity for runners to exercise and help contribute to the protection of endangered wildlife species.

Leech also expressed his hope that the message of the event would inspire others in the community to act together to protect wildlife.

After joining the run with her daughter, Hoang Phuong Hoa, a resident of North Tu Liem District said that it was a significant activity which helped participants to make exchanges and get some physical exercise, while urging the community to raise awareness and take action to protect wildlife.

Last year, the Red River running competition brought together more than 500 individuals and groups.



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