SOE capital divestment still slow

As many as 19 State-owned enterprises (SOEs) were approved for equitisation as of the middle of June, lower than the same period last year.

As many as 19 State-owned enterprises (SOEs) were approved for equitisation as of the middle of June, lower than the same period last year. Dang Quyet Tien, Deputy Director of the Corporate Finance Department under the Ministry of Finance, made the statement during a meeting in Ha Noi Thursday. – VNS Photo

Dang Quyet Tien, Deputy Director of the Corporate Finance Department under the Ministry of Finance, made the statement during a meeting in Ha Noi Thursday.

Tien said the reduction in the number of firms approved for equitisation shows continued sluggish progress of divestment and equitisation in Viet Nam.

He gave some examples of SOEs that need to accelerate the equitisation process, such as the Viet Nam Southern Food Corporation, The Electricity of Viet Nam Group and the Viet Nam Rubber Group.

He attributed the slow process at SOEs to the firms’ leaders’ hesitation and lack of assertiveness, adding that the economy’s capital absorption capacity of businesses remains weak.

According to Tien, the larger the scale of a business, the more difficult it is to conduct equitisation. The process requires that each firm clarifies the responsibilities of leaders through various periods, partly affecting their credibility and thus leading to avoidance and delay.

Regarding State capital divestment process, the Ministry of Finance reports that in the first five months of 2017, State units divested VND3.4 trillion (US$150 million) and collected VND14.8 trillion through the divestment. However, a large part of the collection came from the sale of stake the Viet Nam Dairy Products Joint-Stock Company (Vinamilk) late last year, reaching more than VND11 trillion.

At the meeting, Tien also mentioned some contents of the draft decree amending and supplementing some articles of Government’s Decree No 91/2015/ND-CP dated October 13, 2015 on investment of state capital in enterprises and management and use of capital and assets at enterprises, adding that Decree No 91 shows some particular limitations.

Tien said the draft amended the determination of the starting price of state capital when conducting State capital transfer, indicating that the determination of the starting price is made through an organisation competent enough to conduct price evaluation. The firm must ensure that land use rights at the time of state capital transfer are valued correctly.

The draft also stipulates the method of transfer of state capital invested in joint stock companies, adding that the transfer method is different due to two separate cases.

The first case is transferring state capital invested in joint stock companies which have been listed on the stock market or registered for transactions on the Upcom. The second one is transferring state capital invested in joint stock companies which have not been listed or registered for transactions on the Upcom.

Source VNA

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Must-visit temples in Vietnam

VietNamNet Bridge – Temples are among Vietnam’s most popular attractions, where travelers can marvel at intricate carvings and well-preserved architecture as well as experience the local culture during their holiday. 

A predominantly Buddhist country, there are thousands of pagodas and shrines dedicated to the revered icon. Here are the most well-known temples in the country.

Tran Quoc Pagoda 

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Opening Hours: Daily 07:30 – 18:00

Location: Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi

Tran Quoc Pagoda is the oldest of its kind in Hanoi, dating back to the 6th century during the reign of Emperor Ly Nam De Dynasty (544 – 548). 

The Buddhist shrine has undergone several changes throughout the years, particularly its renaming from An Quoc to Tran Quoc (protecting the country) by Emperor Le Huy Tong in the 17th century.

Although it’s now set on an islet within West Lake, the pagoda was originally located on banks of Red River before it’s relocated in 1615 due to the river’s encroachment. 

Surrounded by lush greenery, Tran Quoc Pagoda was a favorite amongst the kings and royal families for festivals, full moons, and Tet Festival.

Standing at 15 metres, the main pagoda is made up of eleven levels, while its surrounding buildings include an incense burning house and a museum housing historic relics. 

You can also see intricately carved statues dating to 1639, each of which bear unique facial features.

Cao Dai Temple 

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Location: Long Hoa Village, Tay Ninh Province

The Cao Dai Temple, about 100 km northeast of HCM City, is a technicoloured religious site that was constructed in the 1930s. 

Cao Daists believe that all religions are ultimately the same, combining Hinduism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity and Islam into a monotheistic religion. 

Open to the public, there are daily worshipping ceremonies held every six hours where you can photograph devotees in action, with long flowing robes of white for lay followers and yellow, blue or red for priests, while bishops have the Divine Eye embroidered on their headpieces.

There are nine hierarchies of worship including a pope, cardinals and archbishop with festivals, rituals and prayer all practiced regularly. 

The temple is similar in design to a Christian Cathedral featuring side aisles and an altar, as well as a long central nave, all positioned as they would be in a Christian Church. And there is even a high dome decorated with clouds and saints. 

The main focal point is a Divine Eye symbolising God which has the Ying and Yang icon in its pupil. 

Ceremonies take place daily with two services accompanied by musicians and a choir singing in English to traditional Vietnamese music.

Worshippers at the Cao Dai Temple strive for world peace and harmony with beliefs steeped in a number of world religions. 

Followers must obey the five virtues of Confucianism – humanity, obligation, civility, knowledge and reliability — and have belief in the Buddhist principles of rebirth and karma. 

Watching Caodiasts pray is one of the major highlights when visiting the temple as they dress in long flowing robes of white for lay followers, yellow, blue or red for priests whilst bishops have the Divine Eye embroidered on their headpieces. 

During worship men are seated on the right and women on the left with all devotees seated in orderly rows. 

The building is a combination of Neo-Gothic, Baroque and Oriental design and is very ornately decorated including dragon wrapped pillars, seven-headed cobras and ceilings of sky blue.

Worship takes place every six hours and starts at midnight with chanting at 06:00 and 18:00 daily. 

Visitors are permitted to watch from the galleries and may take photographs; knees must be covered and shoes removed before entering. 

Silence is requested when a service is taking place. This is one of 1,000 Cao Dai Temples located in Vietnam.

Bai Dinh Pagoda 

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Location: Gia Sinh Commune, Gia Vien District, Ninh Binh Province

Bai Dinh Pagoda is situated to the west of the ancient city of Hoa Lu, which belongs to the Gia Sinh commune in Ninh Binh, about 95km from Hanoi. 

Bai Dinh Pagoda covers an area of 539 hectares which includes 27 hectares of the ancient segment of the pagoda, and 80 hectares of the new Bai Dinh Pagoda.

During the ancient times of Ninh Binh more than a thousand years ago, there were three ruling dynasties namely, Ly, Dinh, Tien Le. All three dynasties believed in Buddhism which they deemed as the state religion. 

The strong belief in Buddhism spawned a plethora of pagodas all over Vietnam, which included the renowned Bai Dinh Pagoda in Mount Dinh.

Bai Dinh Pagoda consists of the old and new sections. The newer section is a representation of Vietnam’s past, its traditional cultural identity, and majestic architecture. 

Because of these designs and fragments of the past, the pagoda is a main attraction for tourists. 

The new section of Bai Dinh Pagoda is recognized as the biggest pagoda in Southeast Asia.

Ancieny Bai Dinh Pagoda is a distant 800 meters from Tam The Temple along Mount Dinh. 

This well-known pagoda is situated near the top of the forest, which also includes the God Cao Son Temple, Nguyen Temple, and Buddhist Cave. 

The many architectural designs and antiques inside the pagoda depicted the former reign of the Ly Dynasty, and have made it an important historical and cultural relic of the country.

The large cubes were one of the distinct architectural designs of the ancient Vietnamese. 

The main difference between the design of the Bai Dinh Pagoda and other pagodas in China is the dark color of the phoenix-like structure. 

The details in the structure also represented the traditional handicraft villages found in Vietnam.

Bai Dinh Pagoda has earned distinction as a well-known temple throughout Asia. The records of the temple include:

Asia’s biggest gilt-bronze statue: 100 ton statue in the French Colonial District.

Biggest bronze replica of Buddha in Southeast Asia: 100 ton statue just outside the actual temple.

The biggest bell in Vietnam: The Great Bell weighs an astonishing 36 tons inside the Bell Tower.

The biggest pagoda in Vietnam: The pagoda complex covers 539 hectares.

The Pagoda’s Horn Corridor is the longest in Asia: Horn Corridor measures around 3km.

The complex has numerous statues: 500 blue stone statues that measure 2m high.

The biggest Boddhi temple in Vietnam: 100 statues are taken from Bodhi, India.

The Temple of Literature

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Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 8:30 – 11:30 & 13:30 – 16:30

Location: 58 Quoc Tu Giam Street, Dong Da District, Hanoi

The Temple of Literature is often cited as one of Hanoi’s most picturesque tourist attractions. 

Originally built as a university in 1070 dedicated to Confucius, scholars and sages, the building is extremely well preserved and is a superb example of traditional-style Vietnamese architecture.

This ancient site offers a lake of literature, the Well of Heavenly Clarity, turtle steles, pavilions, courtyards and passageways that were once used by royalty. 

Visiting the Temple of Literature you will discover historic buildings from the Ly and Tran dynasties in a revered place that has seen thousands of doctoral graduates in what has now become a memorial to education and literature.

Originally the university only accepted aristocrats, the elite and royal family members as students before eventually opening its doors to brighter ‘commoners’. 

Successful graduates had their names engraved on a stone stele which can be found on top of the stone turtles.

The Temple of Literature is a place of study rather than a religious landmark. 

There are five courtyards at the temple, two brimming with landscaped gardens. The third is home to a large pond known as the Well of Heavenly Clarity; the fourth courtyard is called the Sage Courtyard and features a statue of Confucius and a house of ceremonies; and the last courtyard is Thai Hoc in which stands a large drum and bell tower. 

This historic site is ranked as one of Hanoi’s most important cultural places and is steeped in Vietnamese history.

The layout of the temple is based upon the birthplace of Confucius with a magnificent main entrance and a path, once reserved solely for the king, running through the centre. 

The immaculate gardens are rich in ancient trees and are considered a serene place in which students can relax. 

There are stone statues and inscriptions dotted throughout the temple which has retained many of its original features as the most renowned landmarks of academia in Vietnam.

Thien Mu Pagoda

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Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 17:00

Address: Kim Long Road, Huong Long Ward, Hue

Thien Mu Pagoda is set atop a hill just outside Hue City Centre, offering breathtaking views of Perfume River and Hue Imperial City. 

One of its standout features is a 21-metre-tall octagonal tower called Thap Phuoc Duyen, which was built in 1844 under the reign of Emperor Thieu Tri. 

Meanwhile, the main sanctuary houses wooden sculptures of temple guardians, gold-plated Buddha statues and a two-tonne bell cast in 1710. 

Thien Mu Pagoda was also the home monastery of Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc, who famously self-immolated in 1963 in protest against the persecution of Buddhists by the South government.

Van Thuy Tu Temple

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Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 17:00

Address: 54 Ngu Ong Street, Phan Thiet City

Van Thuy Tu Temple is the largest and oldest whale temple in Phan Thiet, displaying skeletal remains of whales as well as fishing boats, conical hats and authentic artefacts from the Nguyen Dynasty. 

Built in 1762 to commemorate Ca Ong (Lord Whale), locals believe that whales are benevolent creatures that protect fisherman from bad weather and dangers at sea. 

Today, this small temple houses the skeletal remains of more than 500 whales that are over 100 years old, including a 22-metre-long skeleton that’s believed to have been the biggest in Southeast Asia. 

Numerous artefacts from the Nguyen Dynasty are also displayed within the main hall of the temple, such as written decrees by 24 former kings, terracotta statues, incense table, lacquered boards, and an antique bronze bell.

Religious ceremonies such as Spring Festival, Whale Worshipping Festival, and Peace Prayer Ceremony are held at the temple every year, where locals gather and pray for smooth sailing, good weather and fishing harvest. 

Visitors can also expect an array of activities such as solemn rites, folk singing, and boat racing during these events.

Jade Emperor Pagoda 

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Opening Hours: 08:00 – 17:00

Location: 73 Mai Thi Luu Street, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City 

Emperor Jade Pagoda, also known as Tortoise Pagoda, is one of the five most important shrines in Ho Chi Minh City. 

Built at the turn of the 20th century by a community of Cantonese who migrated from Guangzhou province in Southwest China, this pagoda is a fine representation of the Mahayanist branch of Buddhism that is practiced widely in Vietnam. 

Open daily, the temple can get busy with locals who come here to prayer or make votive offerings of flowers, as well as lighting candles and joss sticks, offering an atmospheric feel to the place.

In the main hall, the Emperor Jade Chua Ngoc Hoang or the ‘God of the Heavens’ reigns supreme. Aided by two assistants, the Emperor decides who can enter this higher realm. Those who don’t pass this gate will meet with the formidable ‘God of Hell’, on the left, who will send sinners to one of the 10 levels of hell. 

Life in purgatory is magnificently if somewhat gruesomely represented by the intricate carvings on the temple wall, depicting different kinds of punishments that await transgressors.

In a different hall, the goddess of fertility Kim Hua, surrounded by figures of women and small children, blesses childless couples who pray for an offspring here. 

The goddess of mercy Kuan Yin, who forms a very important part of any Taoist temple, has an altar in a room on the top floor.

Emperor Jade Pagoda is a living and working shrine very much in use by the locals who come here to pray or make votive offerings of flowers, and light candles and joss sticks. 

With worshippers coming and going, the temple can get busy and feel a little cramped. Its dimly lit, the narrow passageways filled with smoke lend an atmospheric feel to the place, adding to its charm.

There is an overcrowded tortoise pond in front of the temple grounds and feeding the animals is considered part of the merit-making, temple-going rituals.

Perfume Pagoda – Hanoi

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The Perfume Pagoda is a dramatic temple complex believed to have been first built in the 15th century. This series of Buddhist temples are built into a mountain range in a maze of alleyways carved into the rock, with rich forests and flowing streams all around. 

Located around 60 km south of Hanoi, in the Son Mountains, the journey here is an experience in itself: first you must take a two-hour journey by car or bus before travelling by boat to the foot of the mountains.

The Perfume Pagoda, known locally as Chua Huong or ‘inner temple’, is at the centre of a very revered and sacred site featuring a maze of mainly Buddhist temples built into the limestone cliffs of Huong Tich. At the heart of this complex lies the Perfume Temple or Perfume Pagoda in the Huong Tich Cave.

It is believed that the first temple was built here in the 15th century, although legend declares that the site was actually discovered over 2,000 years ago by a Buddhist monk who was meditating nearby. 

The mountain foothills are an area of great natural and spiritual beauty filled with streams, tropical plants and temples.

There are many pagodas to visit, each offering a different shrine, most of which are Buddhist although one or two are animist. 

The Perfume Pagoda attracts pilgrims and tourists seeking good luck from the stalagmites and stalactites inside the cave which have been named according to the individual blessing they can bestow. 

Dun Tien offers prosperity and Nui Co offers the chance of giving birth to a girl whilst Dun Gao translates as a ‘rice stack’ to those hoping for a bountiful harvest.

The entrance to the vast and mysterious Perfume Pagoda and Huong Tich Cave resembles that of an open dragon’s mouth and is decorated in ancient Chinese letters which translate to ‘first grade cave of the South World’. This writing dates back to 1770.

Inside the cave are many statues carved from green stone which decorate an intricate shrine, including one of Lord Buddha and another of the Buddhist goddess Quan Am. 

Smooth stalactites and stalagmites also fill the cave which are constantly touched by pilgrims believing them to deliver miracles and good luck. 

You will find the temple very cool inside and also very busy especially during the Chua Huong festival which lasts from January to April.

It’s well worth taking time to stop and enjoy the view enroute to the temple as the scenery is very interesting, dotted with fruit trees including apricots and medicinal herbs grown by local farmers. 

Other temples to see within the complex include the Vong Temple, Thuyet Kinh Cave and Thien Son Pagoda.

The journey to the Perfume Pagoda is itself an interesting experience. Located about 60km southwest of Hanoi in the Huong Son Mountain range you will need to take a car for around two hours before boarding a wooden or iron boat to reach the temple complex.

The boat journeys down a narrow flowing steam fringed by rice fields, temples and grass and you will have the option to stop and visit some of these temples. 

However, if you are short of time its best to head straight to Huong Tich Cave. 

It’s an uphill walk to the Perfume Pagoda which will take around one hour and things can get slippery, so remember to bring walking shoes or boots.

The Mieu Temple

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Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 17:00

Address: Le Huan, Thuan Thanh, Hue City

The Mieu Temple, part of the UNESCO-protected Complex of Hue Monuments, was constructed by Emperor Minh Mang in 1821 in commemoration of former emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. 

One of the most well-preserved structures in the complex, this ancestral temple houses an ornate three-tiered pavilion, various personal items and portraits of its 10 emperors, as well as nine dynastic urns that were cast between 1835 and 1836. 

While travellers are free to explore the temple site, guided tours are available for those looking to know more about the history of Hue.

Giac Lam Pagoda

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Opening Hours: Daily 05:00 – 12:00 & 14:00 – 20:00

Address: 118 Lac Long Quan, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City

Giac Lam Pagoda, built in 1744, is the oldest Buddhist temple in Ho Chi Minh City and, as such, was listed as an important historical site by the Vietnamese Department of Culture in 1988. 

Situated in Binh Than District, the pagoda is surrounded by spacious walled gardens and fronted by statues of mythical dragons while its ceremonial hall is dominated by a large statue of Amitabha Buddha, who is surrounded by five smaller carvings. 

Outside, a 32-metre-tall stupa dominates the temple grounds, which contain a Buddha relic housed on the top floor. Read More…


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Life insurance industry sees increasing M&A activity

As an attractive industry in Vietnam, the life insurance market is luring a wide range of international investors.

Life insurance industry sees increasing M&A activity
The Vietnamese insurance market is awaiting sizeable M&A transactions

Recently, Mirae Asset Life Insurance, an insurer from South Korea, has signed an agreement to purchase 50 per cent of Prevoir Vietnam. Detailed information of the deal, such as the deal value, and the reasons why Prevoir Vietnam chose this partner, has not been revealed yet. However, it seems that the deal will open a new page for the French insurer, which now holds about 1 per cent of the market share in Vietnam.

Prevoir Vietnam was established in 2005 and it started to sell its first insurance products in Vietnam in 2006. It is a subsidiary of Groupe Prevoir, a French insurance firm, which now holds 91.55 per cent stake in Prevoir Vietnam, while the rest is held by Scor Global Vie.

Vietnam Post and the banking system are the two main distribution channels of the French insurer. However, after ending the exclusive cooperation with Vietnam Post, Prevoir Vietnam stopped selling insurance products through this channel, leaving the banking system its only distribution channel. Afterwards, Dai-ichi Vietnam, another insurer in the Vietnamese market, signed an exclusive contract with Vietnam Post.

Prevoir Vietnam used to develop its own agents, but failed. Currently, bancassurance (insurance distribution through banking system) is still its main distribution channel, as Prevoir Vietnam has teamed up with nearly ten banks. Many of them signed long-term exclusive contracts with Prevoir Vietnam.

Mirae Asset Life Insurance is a newbie on the Vietnamese insurance market, but in South Korea, it is a giant, ranking among the top five insurers by assets after it purchased PCA Life Insurance Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of London-based multinational life insurance and financial services company Prudential Plc.

This deal came as little surprise as the Vietnamese insurance market keeps luring in big financial corporations from around the world.

“M&A is the fastest way for this Asian investor to join the Vietnamese market,” an industry insider said.

Recently, M&A in the Vietnamese life insurance market has become quite popular. In April 2017, Aviva Group, a multinational insurance company headquartered in London, completed the purchase of a 50 per cent stake in VietinBank Aviva (Aviva Vietnam) from Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank).

At the end of August last year, Sun Life Assurance Company from Canada purchased the entirety of the stakes of PetroVietnam Insurance Corporation (PVI) in their affiliate PVI Sun Life Co., Ltd., renaming it Sun Life Vietnam Co., Ltd., with 100 per cent of foreign capital.

One of the reasons for the attractiveness of the Vietnamese life insurance market is its annual growth rate of about 20 per cent.

By the end of the first quarter of 2017, Bao Viet Insurance held 21.81 per cent of the market share. Next, Prudential’s market share was 19.68 per cent, Manulife 13.91 per cent, Dai-ichi Life Vietnam 13.44 per cent, AIA Vietnam 10.64 per cent, Generali Vietnam 7.33 per cent, Chubb Life 4 per cent, Hanwha Vietnam 2.98 per cent, BIDV MetLife 1.47 per cent, and Sunlife 1.09 per cent. Other small insurers held less than 1 per cent of the market in terms of revenue from first-time premium collection.

By Ngoc Lan

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Miss ASEAN Friendship 2017: A monumental stage for the moment of truth

The finale of Miss ASEAN Friendship 2017 Phu Yen will be held within hours. One of the major factors in the success of the finale is the stage. An imposing, modern stage was made available for the contestants who stand ready to dazzle.

The Miss ASEAN Friendship 2017 finale stage in Phu Yen province

Based on the unique cultural symbols of each country within the ASEAN community, the stage design team has set up a perfect common background highlighting the significance of each nation on a large LED screen.

The modern equipment, colours, and animations that will be constantly running on the LED screens are arranged in accordance with each national symbol and each dress, making it a truly memorable night for the contestants, the audience, and people who are participating in Miss ASEAN Friendship 2017 in the central province of Phu Yen.

For the people of Phu Yen, Sao Mai Theatre has 3,700 seats for watching live. Organisers also arranged a big LED screen at April 1 Square for those outside the theatre. The audience across the country can also watch the impressive performances of Miss ASEAN 2017 finale live at the VTV6 channel tonight.

On the eve of the Miss ASEAN Friendship 2017 finale, Tran Quoc Tri, chairman of the judging panel, had a brief discussion about the issues that will be raised with the contestants and the basic judgment criteria.

Miss ASEAN 2017: A monumental stage before G hour

What do you think about the Miss ASEAN 2017 contest held in Phu Yen?

It has been a long time since Vietnam hosted an international competition such as Miss ASEAN Friendship 2017. Especially, the ASEAN competition takes places in Vietnam for the first time. Basically, the organising board has made great efforts in promoting the contest so that it garnered wide attention across not only Vietnam but the ASEAN countries and the world at large. A competition like this carries the valuable message that the ASEAN is moving towards becoming a region of peace, prosperity, and development.

As you say, the competition relies on its strong regional and international features, making it a challenge for the jury to introduce a complete, high-standard, yet general set of criteria fitting to the particulars of each country. How has the jury agreed on the criteria for assessing candidates?

Every beauty pageant has common criteria. The first standard is a beautiful face, body balance. The second is the style of the contestants’ traditional costumes, then the ability to communicate. However, the candidate’s behaviour counts for a lot, particularly the knowledge of the ASEAN.

What key formulas will the jury use to evaluate the general knowledge of the ASEAN to select the winner?

Prospective Miss ASEAN must understand the reason why she entered the competition. At the same time, they must have a basic knowledge of the ASEAN, including cultural issues, country-specific issues, humanitarian issues, and issues facing the whole of the ASEAN.

There will also be questions related to the protection of the marine environment and the countries’ relation to the sea. Or, for example, contestants will have to present their feelings about people, culture, and nature in Phu Yen, Vietnam. Miss ASEAN Friendship carry bring this message across the region.

Has the jury trained candidates in fundamental knowledge and basic skills?

The jury has compiled 30 sets of bilingual questions in English and Vietnamese. We have provided lectures to candidates and gave them documents to understand content related to the ASEAN. The jury thinks that the questions are not too difficult, but are not easy, either, and require candidates to actually understand the message of the ASEAN. The jury gave candidates a common basis of knowledge, but what to make of it and how to utilise it is up to them.

Here are some pictures of the Miss ASEAN Friendship 2017 finale stage:

By Ta Hang

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Issues related to supplying modern trade channel discussed

Pham Thi Ngoc Ha, director of San Ha Company, speaks about her company’s experience in supplying the modern distribution channel at a discussion held in HCM City on June 30. — VNS Photo

Quality assurance is the first factor that enables a product to enter supermarkets, delegates told a discussion on bringing goods into the modern retail channel held in HCM City on June 30.

Nguyen Vu Thuan, food merchandise director of MM Mega Market, said goods must ensure traceability of their origin and farm produce and fresh products must meet VietGap, Global Gap and HACCP standards.

Firms that want to supply supermarkets need to understand retailers’ business strategy as well as who their customers are to determine which products are suitable for supply, he said.

Businesses should sit down with retailers to negotiate and make joint business plans like producing retailers’ own brands instead of just focusing on their products, he said.

Pham Thi Ngoc Ha, director of San Hà Company, which has over 30 years’ experience in the meat industry, said the company used to make products for Vissan in the early stages.

It also focused on developing its own brands, she said.

During the co-operation with Vissan, her company got plenty of experience in production and trading, which greatly contributes to its current success, she said.

Tran Van Lieng, chairman of Vinacacao, said if small and medium-sized businesses have innovative and unique products, the modern trade channel should be their target.

He also shared his experience in developing co-branded products for Lotte and Starbucks, saying this is a good chance for a company to promote its brand.

Thuan said MM Mega Market wants to co-operate with suppliers and partners to serve its horeca (hotels, restaurants and catering) customers, mom and pop stores, large offices and manufacturers.

It also wants to partner with enterprises to produce exclusive products, he said.

Businesses have the opportunity to export their products through Thailand’s TCC group, which owns MM Mega Market, he said.

Four containers of farm produce like dragon fruit and sweet potato are being shipped to Thailand every month, and more Vietnamese farm produce would be consumed in that market in future, he said.

The supermarket prefers to source from businesses that produce sustainably, he said.

It has co-operated with more than 650 farmers so far, offering them market information and advice, technical support and support to get VietGap certification and buying large volumes regularly at steady prices, he said.

Tran Le Thuy Trang of Nguyen Tat Thanh University said supermarkets are now very supportive of small businesses, but the latter must offer good quality products and steady supply.

Producers at the event also complained about the long time supermarkets take to make payment, causing difficulties for small firms.

Thuận said the supermarket has different payment policies for different suppliers based on scale and business segment, adding for SMEs supplying fresh food, payment is made in five, seven or 10 days.

Some delegates said distributors’ payment policy would be hard to change, and the Government should set up a fund to support firms supplying modern distribution systems. — VNS

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Forum promotes gender mainstreaming in policy making

Hanoi, June 30 (VNA) – The 5th Vietnam-Korea Women Forum took place in Hanoi on June 30, focusing on the theme of mainstreaming gender into policies towards sustainable development. 

Speaking at the event, Vice Chairwoman of the Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU) Bui Thi Hoa stressed gender equality is one of the principles constitutionalised in Vietnam’s first Constitution in 1946. 

Regulations on gender equality have been included in many legal documents covering different fields such as politics, economy, finance-budget, labour-employment, education-training, healthcare, and population-family, she said, adding that attention have been paid to activities targeting development of women. 

The forum offered a good chance for the Governments, National Assemblies, local administrations and organisations of Vietnam and the Republic of Korea to expand cooperation programmes targeting women’s development in particular and sustainable development of the two nations in general, Hoa stressed. 

Lee Myung Sun, Chairwoman of the Korean Women’s Development Institute (KWDI), underlined the importance to make recommendations to policies concerning women, affirming that the institute will continue promoting cooperation with the VWU to connect women-related agencies and organisations, towards a better future for women of both countries. 

Participants at the forum shared policies and successful models at both national and local levels; outstanding policies on gender equality; experience in applying gender mainstreaming in the budgetary process and gender budgeting. 

They also discussed policies to build women friendly cities in the central city of Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City. 

The forum was organised rotationally by the VWU and the KWDI over the last five years. The previous events focused on female human resources development, vocational training and job creation, creative industry, supporting female-owned entrepreneurs; and international marriage between Vietnamese and RoK citizens.

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First energy-from-waste incinerator built in Can Tho

Can Tho, June 30 (VNA) – China’s Everbright International began the construction of an energy-from-waste (EfW) incinerator, the first of its kind in Vietnam, in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on June 30. 

The project will last 22 years, inclusive of construction period, commanding a total investment of 1,050 billion VND (45.6 million USD). 

Once operational in 2018 on a site of 5.3ha, the incinerator will process 400 tonnes of household waste and generate 150,000 kWh of electricity per day. 

Shao Qichao, General Director of the Can Tho Everbright Environmental Protection Holdings Ltd (EB Can Tho) – the project’s management unit, said the project will create jobs for 45 Vietnamese workers who will undergo four-month training in China before working for the incinerator. 

Vo Thanh Thong, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said the city collects over 650 tonnes of waste per day, or nearly 85-90 percent of the total, which are processed at solid waste treatment facilities in O Mon, Thot Not and Co Do districts using filling and burning technologies. 

He asked Everbright International and EB Can Tho to ensure the project’s progress and environment protection. 

Hu Yan Guo, Deputy General Director of Everbright International, said the company has operated in environment protection and green energy since 2003 with 213 projects in 80 cities and provinces in China, Germany, Poland and Singapore. 

In the waste-to-energy field, it boasts the most advanced technology used for 68 projects with a daily capacity of more than 70,000 tonnes.

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Deputy FM co-chairs 15th East Asia Forum

Beijing, June 30 (VNA) – Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of the Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) ASEAN Vietnam, has co-chaired the 15th East Asia Forum in the Chinese province of Hunan from June 29 – July 1. 

He delivered an opening remark, presided over the first session on reviewing and setting orientations to cooperation, and will make a closing speech. 

Dung said ASEAN+3 (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea) needs to strengthen operations and create a firm position in the regional integration process to effectively tap existing regional connectivity initiatives such as Belt and Road, Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, Partnership for Quality Infrastructure, and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. 

He underscored the importance of maintaining an environment of peace and stability for development cooperation, fostering trust building, shaping an open, balanced, transparent and rules-based regional architecture. 

Themed “20 years of ASEAN+3 cooperation: Towards the East Asia Economic Community”, the event attracted nearly 60 delegates from governmental agencies and scholars from 13 regional countries. 

Participants shared view that over the past two decades, ASEAN+3 has reaped successes in the fields of economy, trade, finance, environment protection, narrowing development gaps, strengthening regional connectivity, and promoting cultural and people-to-people exchange. 

The total annual trade in ASEAN+3 group is stable with more than 700 billion USD, and China, Japan and Republic of Korea have poured in excess of 30 billion USD into the bloc each year. 

As part of the ASEAN+3 Working Plan for 2013-2017, 475 projects have been underway. Member states are actively drafting the Working Plan for 2018-2022, which is scheduled for adoption at the ASEAN+3 Summit in November 2017. 

Participating countries agreed to improve operational efficiency of existing mechanisms, give priority to cooperation in stabilising finance, developing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, narrowing development gap, strengthening regional connectivity and integration while coping with emerging non-traditional security challenges such as terrorism, cyber security, population aging, poverty reduction, food and energy security, and epidemic prevention.

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Vietnam, Laos work to boost security cooperation

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Software industry’s investment climate among featured topics at IT Outsourcing conference in October

The Viet Nam IT outsourcing conference will be held in October in HCM City. — Source of

Viet Nam’s software industry and investment environment will be the featured topics at a Việt Nam IT Outsourcing Conference held on October 19-20 at the convention centre at Quang Trung Software City in HCM City’s District 12.

With a fast-growing economy and a large pool of talent for the engineering workforce, Viet Nam is becoming Asia’s new technology hub, according to organisers of Quang Trung Software City, Investment & Trade Promotion Centre of HCM City, and Viet Nam IT Outsourcing Alliance.

In the past few years, giants like Intel, Samsung, LG, Foxconn, Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Bosch, NTT and others have moved their high-tech operations and outsourcing to Viet Nam.

Viet Nam has moved from being an unknown destination to an emerging market for software outsourcing, the organisers said.

The conference is expected to promote the image of Viet Nam as an attractive destination for IT services, while expanding the search for clients and partners for domestic enterprises.

It will help to create an effective business matching platform for buyers and Vietnamese IT outsourcing vendors.

Presentations about human resources, education and training, the labour market and infrastructure will also be held at the conference.

More than 150 multi-national and high-tech companies from over 20 countries are expected to attend, along with 250 top offshore software outsourcing companies in Viet Nam and 20 IT universities. —VNS

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Djokovic marches into Eastbourne final, Konta withdraws

EASTBOURNE: Novak Djokovic eased into the Eastbourne final on Friday (Jun 30) after beating Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, but Johanna Konta’s Wimbledon participation is in doubt after the Briton withdrew from her women’s semi-final.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic returns to Russia’s Daniil Medvedev during their men’s semi-final tennis match at the ATP Aegon International tennis tournament in Eastbourne, southern England, on Jun 30, 2017. (Photo: AFP/Glyn Kirk)

Top seed Djokovic, playing the week before Wimbledon for the first time since 2010, brushed aside Medvedev 6-4, 6-4 and will face second seed Gael Monfils in Saturday’s final, after the Frenchman edged out fellow countryman Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (7/4).

“I am enjoying undoubtedly this week and the fact that I’m in the finals obviously makes it even better,” Djokovic said. “I’m really glad that I’ll be able to fight for the trophy tomorrow.

“I haven’t had too many opportunities in the last 10 to 12 months. I haven’t had too many finals, so it’s actually a good feeling.

“It comes in the right moment, because I need to build a level of confidence; the matches won obviously help that. Coming into Wimbledon, I’m hoping that I can continue in this path of raising the performance and the quality of tennis.”

But British hopes were extinguished as a back injury forced Konta to pull out of her clash against Karolina Pliskova, with Heather Watson then falling in three sets, losing 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 to former world number one Caroline Wozniacki.

Seventh-ranked Konta suffered a nasty fall in Thursday’s quarter-final win over world number one Angelique Kerber and was subsequently diagnosed with a thoracic spine injury.

Djokovic’s match on Friday was delayed by rain, but the Serb gained control when he broke his fellow wild card to take the opening set, with an early break in the second steering him through to just a third final of the year.

The world number four is seeded second at Wimbledon on the strength of three titles at the All England Club but is looking for his first trophy since winning at Doha in January.

As for Konta, the 26-year-old is Britain’s best hope of ending a long wait for a women’s Grand Slam champion that dates back to Virginia Wade winning the 1977 Wimbledon singles title.

Konta, who won the prestigious Miami tournament earlier this season, had originally been passed fit to play on Friday but decided to pull out to avoid risking further damage.

“We made the decision based on the fact I’m still quite sore through my thoracic spine. Next week is Wimbledon but I make decisions for my health,” said Konta.

“I didn’t sleep too well but I heard that’s normal. It just didn’t feel quite right. The most important thing is I rest well for the next 24 hours and then we’ll see. Right now my priority is to look after myself, quite honestly.

“I’m looking to just make sure that I’m in a good place physically and health-wise to be able to compete next week, but more importantly just to be in a good place health-wise.”

Konta will hope the pain diminishes over the weekend as she is due to play Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei, her conqueror at Roland Garros last month, in the first round at Wimbledon on Monday.

Watson has dropped to 126th in the rankings but put up a stiff challenge against 2009 Eastbourne champion Wozniacki.

However, the Briton was broken as she sought to force a final set tie-break, sending Wozniacki through to a second final on the English south coast.

Source AFP

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Ho Tram Strip inks $63 milion natural gas deal

Ho Tram Project Company (HTP) and PetroVietnam Low Pressure Gas Distribution Joint Stock Company (PVGasD) has inked a memorandum of understanding that will see the Ho Tram Strip move to cleaner, greener and more efficient power within the next 15 months.

The $63 million (net present value) investment will be deployed on a BOO (Build-Own-Operate) model, which will see a power station built within the existing Central Plant Building on the company’s 164 hectare site.

“With our signing today, we become the first tourism developer in Vietnam to fully switch to self-generated, greener energy sources.  This pioneering move sees us invest in a natural-gas fueled plant that will emit less than half of the carbon dioxide and significantly less harmful particulates and carbon monoxide than coal powered systems,” said HTP’s executive chairman Michael Kelly.

Climate-scientists estimate that natural gas emits 50 to 60 per cent less carbon dioxide (CO2) when combusted in a new, efficient natural gas power plant compared with emissions from a typical new coal plant.  They note also that natural gas from a modern facility that minimises methane emissions burn significantly cleaner than other fossil fuels, releasing negligible dangerous chemicals into the environment.

“Our 15 year agreement will provide cleaner-energy for our 1100 room The Grand and Beach Club resorts, supply all of the requirements for The Bluffs golf course including its Gallery Villas, and in future can be expanded to include the newly announced Kahuna condotel, and future facilities including the second integrated resort, additional resorts and entertainment amenities including the forthcoming amphitheater and waterpark,” Kelly said. “This plant will see a significant decrease in both our reliance upon Vietnam’s grid and our carbon footprint. This transition to our own power station via the state of the art technology that PVGasD is deploying sees us able to efficiently use the by-product of electricity generation – heat – to supply hot water for the resorts, but also through harvesting residual energy, it will supply us with cool water for use in the air conditioning systems.”

Switching to its own ‘COGEN’ (co-generated) power system is set to revolutionise the way in which large integrated companies’ source their power in Vietnam. Cogeneration systems, also known as combined heat and power systems, generate both electricity and usable thermal energy. Instead of losing heat energy during the power generation process, Cogen systems re-use the thermal energy for a more efficient and environmentally friendly power source.

“We are extremely excited to be partnering with Ho Tram Strip on a development that will power this project for decades to come with a reliable, scalable and environmentally friendly source of seven megawatts of power together with 2000 refrigeration tonnes capacity for air-conditioning and refrigeration capacity.  This is the first project of its kind to be built at a tourism development such as this, and represents a pioneering move into the way in which enterprises are adopting greener sources of power,” said Do Pham Hong Minh, PVGasD deputy director.

Build out is expected to commence later this year, and the plant is projected to fire-up for the first time in late 2018.

Ho Tram Strip is the first resort complex in the nation to cooperate with a Vietnamese company on such a power station and is leading its peers in technology.

The $63 million investment comes hot-on-the-heels of HTP’s Kahuna condotel preview, itself a $60 million commitment to the nation.  To date, HTP parent company ACDL has current and forward-deployed over $1.1 billion in Vietnam.

The company’s commitment to the nation has seen a flurry of activity in the past few months, with new amenities added to The Grand including restaurant refurbishments and the addition of a spectacular fountain show, both set to go-live in a matter of weeks. 

Meanwhile the 559-room second Grand Tower, dubbed The Beach Club, is reaching for the skies at present.  Construction on the 12th floor is well underway, with the building set to top-out in September ahead of a 12-month interior fit-out for a target opening date around October 2018. 

At The Bluffs, numerous Gallery Villas are under construction.  The company is also well into the approval processes for the development of a charter airport on a site near the Strip. 

HTP recently became the first company in the country to apply to host a pilot programme for local gaming, following the government’s decision to legalise casino gaming for Vietnamese nationals.  It has previously led the pilot for foreigner-only gaming, and at present is the only site in Vietnam able to offer an international standard gaming environment for local play.

Dynamically growing Ho Tram Strip in the grand plan for Vietnam's economic development

Dynamically growing Ho Tram Strip in the grand plan for Vietnam’s economic development

On June 15, Ho Tram Project Company (HTP) announced the development of the third phase of its Ho Tram Strip project, a residential tower, condotel, and villa development, marking another milestone for the project as well as the company. Michael Kelly, HTP’s executive chairman, talked with VIR’s Hong Anh about HTP’s grand plan for Ho Tram Strip and the company’s work to turn the development into a major attraction in the south of Vietnam that also contributes to the economic growth of Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, where the project is located, and the country in general.

Kahuna to make waves at Ho Tram

Kahuna to make waves at Ho Tram

Ho Tram Project Company (HTP) today announced the development of the third phase of its Ho Tram Strip project, its residential tower, condotel and villa development.

The Grand helps Vietnam lay foundation for tourism boom

The Grand helps Vietnam lay foundation for tourism boom

In the year since I was appointed executive chairman of The Grand Ho Tram Strip, I have seen tremendous positive changes take place in Vietnam’s tourism industry.

By Hoang Anh

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