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VietNamNet Bridge - Driving 9km south of Da Nang city center on the famous beachfront boulevard Truong Sa, travelers can find one of the most popular attractions of the region, the Marble mountains. It is a group of five limestone mountains, named after the five elements of the ancient oriental philosophy: metal, wood, water, fire and earth. These mountains have a complicated system of caves and tunnels. In the past they were used as hiding places and important bases for Vietnamese revolutionaries. Among the five, Thuy Son, the mountain of water, is the highest and also the main attraction. Almost all tourists come to Marble Mountains to climb Thuy Son. This mountain has many caves and Buddhist temples, many dating back to the 17th century. Climbing up about 150 stone steps from the foot of Thuy Son, one will reach the most beautiful observatory spot: the Riverview Tower or Vong Giang Tower. The tower was built in the 18th century by Emperor Minh Mang, offering a breathtaking view to Kim Son or the mountain of metal, Truong Giang, and Cam Le rivers and beautiful coast. Tourists may also want to visit the Non Nuoc Village at the foot of Marble Mountains. The village is famous for stone sculptures and handicrafts. Here you can buy many things made of marble stone, from small one like earrings, necklaces, vases to the huge sculptures of Buddha. In the past, rock was extracted directly from the Marble Mountains to make sculptures but now the…... [read more]

Indulging in autumn beauty at Hanoi parks Hai Duong By Hai Duong - The Saigon Times Daily Autumn’s beauty at Bach Thao Park, Ba Dinh District When autumn comes, Hanoi will turn beautiful and comfortable. Cool temperatures return, and life seems to move slower and become more tranquil. In the season of autumn, Hanoians and visitors prefer coming to parks. The city now has around 70 parks ranging from newly-built ones such as Yen Thao and Hoa Binh to old ones like Bach Thao and Thong Nhat. The season makes them ideal places to search for inner peace in a crowded and bustling city like Hanoi as autumn adds romantic and breathtaking views to those parks.... [read more]

Fun in the sun: Breathtaking view of West Lake and the Water Park "I was with my parents, and we were riding on a boat amongst a sea of lotus flowers. I felt like a fairy princess in my favourite childhood movie, Journey to the West," Hoang Kieu To Uyen recalls, as if it had happened just yesterday. "And the funny thing is that I was actually in the West. Well, WestLake (Ho Tay) to be exact". Uyen, 32, is a realtor, and a born and bred Hanoian who has spent most of her life in Ha Noi. When she was an 8-year-old girl, her parents used to take her to the most beautiful places in the city to teach her about the capital. "The lake was so serene and the water was so clear that you could see straight to the bottom in the day light," Uyen says. Like most Hanoians, she is in love with WestLake. The lake is located in the northwestern part of the city, spreading out across an area of 560ha. Long ago, the lake was a branch of the Hong (Red) River, but, as the river changed its course, it became its own body of water. Environmentalists consider the lake to be the lungs, or the natural air conditioner, of the whole city, calming the extreme tropical weather of the industrialising capital. West Lake has always been an area for vacationing royalty. In the past, kings from the Ly and Tran dynasties (1010-1400) built…... [read more]

Having recently returned from a Japan visit, Nguyen Hoang, President of N&G Company, said his assessment is based on not only the presence in Vietnam of Japanese giants such as Shimizu, but also the clear willingness of Japanese enterprises in overseas investment. “During our working sessions in Japan, we found out that up to 214,000 Japanese small- and medium-sized enterprises in manufacturing have never invested abroad and they are now shifting their attention to destinations in Vietnam,” Hoang said. “The question is if Vietnam can quickly meet their conditions.” Japanese businesses want to rent ready-to-use workshops which have medium sizes and offer competitive rentals in multiservice integrated parks to reduce production costs. In the first quarter of 2012, Japanese capital inflows overwhelmed all others, making up about US$2 billion out of a total of US$2.26 billion in foreign direct investment in Vietnam. Most large projects are Japanese funded. Japanese company seeks to invest in Hanoi projects... [read more]

This morning, relevant authorities reached a compromise on the minimum wage increase plan, setting 6.5 per cent to submit to the prime minister for approval. The number was announced by the representative of the National Salary Council at the third meeting organised this morning to discuss the increase of regional minimum wages in 2018.  Accordingly, if the prime minister approves, from early 2018 the minimum wages will be increased by an extra of VND180,000-230,000 ($7.91-10.11), depending on the region. (See the table below) Region Minimum wage in 2017 (million VND)   Minimum wage from early 2018 (million VND) Region I 3.75 3.98 Region II 3.32 3.53 Region III 2.9 3.09 Region IV 2.58 2.76 According to newswire Tuoitre, at the meeting, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs cum chairman of the National Salary Council Doan Mau Diep said that after discussions, the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) put two figures (7 and 6.5 per cent) to vote. As the result, eight out of 14 members voted in favour of the 6.5 per cent plan, and the remaining members selected the 7…... [read more]

In the context of fierce competition among brewers, two of Vietnam’s largest brewers Sabeco and Habeco have millions of dollars on advertisements, which they consider an important weapon in the race to gain the market share, according to newswire Vnexpress. Sabeco and Habeco's advertisement spending bring little to no success (Illustration image) Notably, according to its half year report, Sabeco spent VND740.3 billion ($32.5 million) on advertisements and promotional communications campaigns, equaling 53 per cent of sales expenditure and signifying an increase of VND333 billion ($14.5 million) compared to the same period last year. According to Sabeco chairman Vo Thanh Ha, the corporation is facing heated competition with leading brewers in terms of brand image and financial potential. Besides, customers are increasingly consuming high-end beer products, while Sabeco has yet to come out with products at this segment. Thus, one of the most important targets of Sabeco in 2017 is retaining its existing market share. Habeco, in the first six months, spent VND223 billion ($9.8 million) on advertisements, promotion, and communications programmes, doubling the figure on-year. According to the theory, when firms increase spending on advertisements, their business results will improve. However, in reality, efficiency has been decreasing. In 2012, Sabeco’s revenue was 50 times higher than its expenditure for advertisement, promotion, and communications programmes, however, in the first six months of this year, the figure was 20 times only. Regarding Habeco,…... [read more]

Despite making VND12.23 trillion ($538 million) in the last two years, FPT Telecom continues to make excuses and avoid paying its contribution to the Public-Utility Telecommunication Services Fund.   RELATED CONTENTS: Gov’t to tighten mobile service regulations FPT Telecom closes music streaming site Clients may benefit as FPT, Viettel offer pay TV FPT the sole skimper A report by the Public-Utility Telecommunication Services Fund shows that from 2015 to June 2017, telecommunications operators have contributed VND4.1 trillion ($180.36 million). In 2015, 28 out of 29 companies completed their financial obligations to the fund. However, FPT Telecom JSC did not register a plan, report its financial data nor complete its payment, and only contributed a temporary payment of  VND210 million ($9,238). In 2015, 27 telecommunication companies registered and completed their contributions to the fund in the first six months. FPT Telecom is the only one that has not reported its data and registered its contribution as per regulations. According to the fund’s representative, since FPT has not reported its earnings from telecommunications services, the fund has not been able to determine the exact amount it owes. However, with a revenue of VND5.57 trillion ($245 million) in 2015 and VND6.66 trillion ($293 million) in 2016, that amount is sure to be much larger than their temporary payment. Despite huge revenue, FPT Telecom is the only company…... [read more]

Vietnam’s bustling e-commerce market is drawing more attention from Singaporean firms and startups. Shopee, a Singapore-based mobile marketplace startup, has expanded its operations in Vietnam under the support of Sea – formerly known as Garena – Southeast Asia’s largest internet platform provider. Last week, Shopee Vietnam celebrated its first anniversary. Since its local debut, the firm’s app has been downloaded five million times and its listings have increased by 133 per cent, with a total of four million listings to date. Regionally, Shopee has achieved an annualised gross merchandise volume of over $3 billion, with its mobile market app having been downloaded on over 40 million devices. In the past year, Shopee has advanced online shopping in Vietnam by expanding its range of product listings, providing buyers with a fast and integrated delivery system, and offering buyers more competitive prices. Pine Kyaw, managing director of Shopee Vietnam, said, “Vietnam is the firm’s key market in the region, with the third-fastest user growth rate following Taiwan and Indonesia. We have grown tremendously over the past year and our performance has far exceeded our expectations.” Moving forward, Shopee aims to expand its user base nationwide. “We want to cater to every buyer and seller nationwide. With our robust and well-integrated platform, we’re confident that we can provide an easy and hassle-free shopping experience and be the one-stop shopping destination in Vietnam,” he said, adding that Shopee has…... [read more]

In terms of international finance, three seems to be a relatively small number. But the three super banks from Singapore are presently handling the lion’s share of business and investment activity in Vietnam coming from the Lion City. In the year’s first seven months, Singaporean firms initiated 100 fresh projects in Vietnam, or $2.82 billion, standing second only to Japan in terms of newly-registered capital. The capital is more than double that of the same period last year. As this influx of Singaporean firms continues, banks such as United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB), DBS Bank, and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited (OCBC Bank) – the three largest lenders from Singapore – have made their way to Vietnam to service their countrymen. UOB, in particular, is the latest entrant, and the first bank from Singapore to obtain in-principle approval from the central bank to locally incorporate in the country. DBS Bank and OCBC Bank, meanwhile, are operating as branches and representative offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. With so much activity from Singaporean industrialists, the question often arises if three lenders, with their current operational statuses, are enough to look after investors both within and outside of Singapore? According to UOB, since 2013, the lender has facilitated more than $3 billion of FDI from Asia into Vietnam. UOB’s regional clients have invested in industries such as construction, real estate, manufacturing, and fast-moving consumer goods, all…... [read more]

The first half of 2017 has seen increased interest from Singaporean real estate firms in the Vietnamese market, with Sembcorp, CapitaLand, Mapletree, and Keppel Land among the biggest movers and shakers. Apart from greenfield investments, Singaporean developers are now actively expanding their portfolios through mergers and acquisitions (M&A). A wave of M&A Singaporean investors are focusing on M&A in Ho Chi Minh City. Outstanding deals are the Duxton Hotel Saigon, Empire City, Somerset Vista, Saigon Centre, and the Kumho Asiana Plaza. According to Leong Boon Hoe, CEO of CBRE Singapore, Singaporean investors are seeking new opportunities to diversify their portfolios, often after having already invested in previous emerging markets like Thailand or Bali. After the laws regarding housing and real estate were changed for foreigners in July 2015, foreign real estate investment has become much more transparent. “Owning property in Vietnam is a new trend among Singaporeans. In the ASEAN region, Vietnam is one of the more attractive nations for foreign investment into the property market,” Hoe said. Keppel Land in March this year acquired from its Vietnamese partner, Southern Waterborne Transport Corporation, an additional 16 per cent stake in Keppel Land WATCO I to V – the joint venture entities for Saigon Centre. Keppel Land has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Vietnam’s State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) to collaborate on other investment opportunities in the country. Keppel Land is…... [read more]




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