Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Foreign investors eye Vietnamese beverage market

An increasing number of foreign giants are eying the beverage market in Vietnam due to the country’s young population boom and high demand for fizzy drinks. 

With beer consumption increasing from 2.8 billion litres in 2012 to over 3 billion litres in 2013, Vietnam has become the biggest beer consuming market in Southeast Asia and third in Asia .
Foreign investors eye Vietnamese beverage market
Foreign investors eye Vietnamese beverage market
Photo: vietbao.vn
Mutar Kent, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the Coca-Cola Company, said he sees a number of development opportunities and potentials in Vietnam, citing the country’s consumption of non-alcoholic drinks is only about 20 percent that of the world’s average level.
The company also owns other products in Vietnam such as Fanta, Sprite, Joy bottled water, Minute Maid fruit juice and Dasani mineral water.
In 2012, the company announced a plan to invest 300 million USD into Vietnam , raising its total investment in the country to 500 million USD in 2015.
In mid-June 2014, it inaugurated four new production lines in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City .
Another giant, PepsiCo, which entered Vietnam in 1991, is also expanding its investments in the market. In 2010, the company pledged to pour 250 million USD into Vietnam over the next three years.
In 2012, it bought the SanMiguel factory in southern Dong Nai province and inaugurated the PepsiCo plant in northern Bac Ninh province – the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia with 70 million USD in investment capital.
In April 2013, PepsiCo and Suntory Holdings Limited agreed to form a strategic beverage alliance in Vietnam , introducing Olong Tea Plus and Moutain Dew to the public.
PepsiCo, in particular, has produced a series of beverages such as Sting, Twister, Lipton Ice Tea, Aquafina and 7UP Revive.
Giants such as Danish Carlsberg Breweries and Thai Beverage Group (ThaiBev) are strengthening their market shares in Vietnam .
ThaiBev, owned by the third richest billionaire in Thailand , revealed its intention to buy the Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Corporation (Sabeco) for 2 billion USD.
It is also seeking a large number of shares in Vietnam ’s top milk company Vinamilk. The billionaire’s company F&N Dairy Investments Pte Ltd holds 11.04 percent of the charter capital and is now the second largest shareholder of Vinamilk.
Meanwhile, Denmark ’s Carlsberg hopes to increase its market shares of Habeco to 25-30 percent from the current 17.23 percent, but it is yet to realise the wish.
It owns 55 percent of the shares at a beer factory in southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province and 60 percent at the Southeast Asian Brewery Halida. In 2011, the company bought Hue Brewery Ltd (Huda Beer).

Monday, May 11, 2015

New housing law triggers market stir

New housing law triggers market stir

Posted: 10 May 2015 09:50 PM PDT
VietNamNet Bridge – Real estate developers are anticipating the implementation of the Law on Housing which opens more rights for foreigners to own property in Vietnam this July. Deputy managing director of Savills Vietnam Troy Griffiths has a look at the proposals.

Real estate developers are actively preparing to sell housing to foreigners from this July when the revised law on housing comes into force. Developers are obviously ready now as the products will initially be the same as offered to domestic buyers. Depending on the level of interest from foreigners, there may be changes to cater for offshore investors. An example of this may be to offer terms that suit investors more than occupiers, such as guaranteed returns.

Foreign developers, however, already have their sales channels in place and can move to the market quickly. Local developers will need to have a good sales strategy and either align with good marketers or go direct themselves to these foreign markets. This is all contingent on the amendments allowing foreign investment as contemplated.

While welcoming the decree on increased foreign ownership rights, Troy Griffiths argues the devil is in the details
While welcoming the decree on increased foreign ownership rights, Troy Griffiths argues the devil is in the details
In conjunction with our regional offices, Savills is already planning to host several events. One of the key issues now is having sufficient quality stock to provide investors with a good choice.

Regarding the type of products which would be most attractive to foreigners, I think it will be the broader-based investment product.

Many of our neighbouring countries have record low deposit rates, so if Vietnam offers a product that has reasonable yields then this will be very attractive.

There will be variations around this theme as some areas will also provide capital growth, thereby enhancing total returns in Vietnam. Other regional markets have had restrictions in policy as well as soft economic conditions weakening their residential markets. This together with low performance by cash and other asset classes should see a flight to Vietnamese property with good total returns.

The key markets will be those that have mature trading as well as access to the larger populations with investment potential. We see these markets as primarily Singapore and Hong Kong. Recently there have been very successful project sales in Cambodia and Myanmar that have marketed investment products. Generally these are smaller more affordable apartments with some sort of guaranteed return. Historically, developers have aimed for the end-user market, catering to the ultimate occupants. However, for investors they will care more about the potential to rent and receive a yield. This may change the focus to better locations, higher density districts and those with emerging capital growth potential.

Recently, we have seen some agencies from abroad coming to Vietnam to introduce their products. I think this could be a good option. Provided Vietnam’s amended laws support purchasers’ rights, then this will certainly work. It has worked extremely well in other locations. This is why the flight of investment capital has continued from Asia into Australia and the UK. Fundamentally it’s the transparency and enforceability of title and rights that purchasers are seeking.

For example, in 2014 a single residential agent in our Savills Taiwan office brought over 80 residential investment sales into Australia.

However, this is a competitive market with purchasers having a number of good choices available within the region, so the product will need to be priced and delivered against this backdrop.

On the attractiveness of the revised law for foreigners to buy houses in Vietnam, let us see how the decrees and circulars guide the amendments. It would be premature to comment prior to these being circulated. We are very happy that the government continues to provide policies that assist property development.

If the guiding decrees effectively limit the foreigner purchasers to those that are working in Vietnam then the impact would be very limited.

However if the amendment permitted ‘golden visas’ or investment then there would be strong demand. The next step to be contemplated is the ‘exit’. If there is potential for foreign investment then competing countries would also offer depreciation allowances to be offset against income for tax. There would also need to be a solid capital gains taxation regime and a clear pathway for repatriation of dividends.

In the coming time, if we look to mature markets with relaxed foreign ownership then usually no greater than 5 per cent annually of all transactions are to foreigners.

I expect the government to offer a support policy to assist the residential sector; however there will be strong parallel guidance through visas, tax and dividend remittances etc.

Amongst our regional peers, the Malaysia My Second Home programme is hugely successful and has been running for over 15 years, however there has not been a massive influx of any single foreign nation, nor have there been adverse effects. To the contrary, the scheme has worked very well, actively attracting foreign capital to Malaysia.

VIR

Monday, May 4, 2015

HCM City: Schools fail to meet population needs — Talk Vietnam

HCM City: Schools fail to meet population needs


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HCM City (Photo: vinacorp)

The growth rate of new schools in the country’s business hub Ho Chi Minh City has not matched the rise in population in recent years, according to Le Hong Son, head of the municipal Department of Education and Training.

The number of schools in HCM City has risen by 1.2-1.5 percent in the last 10 years, but the population has now reached 10 million.

Since 2010-2011 academic year, the number of schools in the city has increased by 564.

However, the city is still faced with a shortage of schools because of a lack of land and funds, even though the city has allocated 26 percent of its budget for education investment.

Binh Tan District, for example, will need to double its existing number of schools to a total of 121 by 2020 in order to have enough classrooms.

The district wants to reach its target of improving training quality by reducing the number of students in each classroom and having more classrooms with modern equipment.

The target to achieve universal education for children aged 5 also would be reached. The district now has three wards without public kindergartens.

Ta Tan, head of Tan Phu District’s educational division, told Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper, that the shortage of schools had prevented the district from reaching modern training standards.

In the last 10 years, the number of students had increased by 1,000-2,000 each year, he said.

The district has outlined many projects to build schools, but most of them have been delayed because of slow site clearance and lack of money.

The outlying Hoc Mon District in the last 10 years has had 29 schools but its number of students has increased by 200 percent.

Because of a shortage of land in the city’s inner districts of 1, 3, 5, 10 and Phu Nhuan, expansion of small schools cannot be done.-VNA

Friday, May 1, 2015

Cancer centre opens in HCM City — Talk Vietnam

Cancer centre opens in HCM City


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Vice Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (five from left) and other city’s representatives cut the ribbon to inaugurate the cancer centre (Photo: VNA)

A cancer centre was inaugurated on April 30 at the Hospital of Cho Ray in Ho Chi Minh City.

With a capital investment of 428 billion VND (20 million USD), the facility has 14 floors and contains 250 beds for patients.

The centre will examine, diagnose and treat patients suffering from tumours and cancer.

Speaking at the ceremony, Vice Chairwoman of the National Assembly, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, applauded the efforts of Cho Ray hospital staff to treat patients across the country.

According to Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, the centre will contribute to reducing overloading in hospitals in HCM City and will improve the sector’s healthcare mission.

In 2014, Cho Ray hospital treated about 1,000 cancer cases by using radiation therapy and completed over 500 liver cancer surgeries.-VN

Saturday, April 11, 2015

From Russia no love: ruble slump squeezes SE Asia tourism - All Vietnam




The ruble’s sharp decline is exacting a toll on Southeast Asian tourism as Russians think twice about doubling their budgets for their next beach holiday in Vietnam, Thailand or Cambodia.

A Thai street vendor waits for customers at Patong beach in Phuket
A Thai street vendor waits for customers at Patong beach in Phuket
(Photo: reuters)
The rouble fell 43 percent last year against the dollar, hurt by plunging oil prices and Western sanctions imposed over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine political crisis. A Russian tourist now needs to fork out as much as 140,000 rubles ($2,479) for a trip to Vietnam, including plane tickets and accommodation, up from 60,000 rubles last year, a state-run Vietnamese newspaper estimated. For those who do make it to Vietnam, they are buying instant noodles instead of eating out, local media reported.
Russians account for billions of dollars in tourism revenue in Southeast Asia and rank second after Chinese travelers in number. Food menus in Russian are ubiquitous in Phuket. Street vendors in Vietnamese beach towns have picked up Russian words. In 2013, when Russian tourist arrivals in Vietnam more than doubled, national carrier Vietnam Airlines launched direct flights linking Moscow with the former U.S. airbase in Cam Ranh near the popular coastal town of Nha Trang.
In January-to-March, some 95,800 Russians visited Vietnam, down 27 percent from a year earlier and the first quarterly fall since 2012. Cambodia’s Tourism Ministry counted nearly 18,300 Russian tourists in the first two months of 2015, down 51 percent. Thailand drew 1.6 million Russian tourists in 2014, down 8.6 percent. Arrivals slumped 46 percent in January this year. In the same month, Russian visitors to the Philippines dropped 12 percent.
“Russian tourists have been steadily declining in Thailand since last year particularly because of the depreciation of the rouble,” said Surapong Techaruvichit, president of the Thai Hotels Association. “Destinations that have traditionally been popular with Russians, including Phuket and Pattaya, have been hit hard.”















From Russia no love: ruble slump squeezes SE Asia tourism - All Vietnam

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Photos: Behind the curtain of the water puppetry stage — Talk Vietnam

Photos: Behind the curtain of the water puppetry stage


VietNamNet Bridge – Working behind the curtain, appearing on the stage for just a few seconds to say hello and thank-you to the audience before each performance, water puppetry artists still have to be made up even though they cannot be seen.
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Water puppetry is a unique folk art of Vietnam, favored by foreign tourists.
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The audience cannot see the face of the artists. They only see the wooden puppets on the water. The artists always hide themselves behind the bamboo screen.
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But they still have to do make-up before each show to appear before the audience to bow for several seconds. These photos were taken behind the screen at the Thang Long Water Puppetry Theatre (57 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hanoi).
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The theatre serves over 1,000 foreign visitors each day.
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The theatre has about 40 artists, divided into two groups. During the shows, artists have to stand in the water so they wear protective clothes and rubber gloves.
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Previously, artists did not have rubber clothes so they had to dip their bodies into water, even in winter.
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Ms. Vo Thuy Dung, 28, said she followed her mother, who has retired, to work at the theatre. She is seven months pregnant but she still works.
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The theatre chooses 14 popular plays to perform every day. These players are selected from over 400 folk plays.
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“Artists must have both control techniques and know how to transfer emotions into puppets,” an artist said.
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The theatre has participated in many international art festivals in more than 20 countries.
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Behind the screen during a performance.
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When the show ends, the artists quickly remove the rubber outfits to dress traditional costumes to appear on the state to greet the audience.
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The 20-minute break between each show is the time for the artists to learn from experience.
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Some actors find a place to take a nap to prepare for the next show.
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This is a puppet repair man named Le Quang Minh, 49. He has worked for the theatre for more than 22 years.

Thang Long Puppetry Theatre was founded in 1969 with the first name Kim Dong puppet troupe. It was renamed Thang Long – Hanoi Puppetry Theatre in 1975. From a group of nine artists and poor facilities, the theatre now has 22 artists, 15 musicians and 5 technicians.



Photos: Behind the curtain of the water puppetry stage — Talk Vietnam

Monday, March 16, 2015

Vietnamese hackers allegedly steal 50,000 accounts — Talk Vietnam

Vietnamese hackers allegedly steal 50,000 accounts




More than 50,000 accounts of customers of Vietnam’s state-run telecom giant VNPT were stolen and leaked on the Internet over the weekend, company spokesperson Bui Quoc Viet said on March 15.

The accounts, including personal information and login credentials, belong to customers of the VNPT branch in the southern province of Soc Trang, Viet said.



“Hackers targeted the software used to look up customer information hosted on an old server that is being replaced at VNPT Soc Trang,” he elaborated.

Viet did not comment on the culprits behind the attack, even though Security Daily, a Vietnamese-language Internet security website, reported on Saturday that a hacker outfit called DIE Group has claimed responsibility.

It may be a Vietnamese hacker group, Security Daily said.

DIE Group has posted the stolen accounts on their Facebook page, saying they are from “more than 10,000 mobile phone and landline accounts of VNPT,” according to Security Daily.

The login section on the VNPT Soc Trang website is seen in this screenshot taken in Ho Chi Minh City on March 16, 2015.
The login section on the VNPT Soc Trang website is seen in this screenshot taken in Ho Chi Minh City on March 16, 2015.
Security Daily said on its website that the real number of stolen accounts could be as many as 50,000, which was later confirmed by the VNPT media person.

The stolen accounts include the name, address, phone number, username and password that can be used to log in to the customer service section on the VNPT Soc Trang website.

“Hackers can use such information to log in and launch other attacks using the authorized access,” Security Daily warned.

“The leaked information can be a gold mine to spammers and swindlers.”

VNIST JSC, the operator of Security Daily, said the incident suggests that there are dangerous security holes in the VNPT system, which makes it vulnerable to hackers.

“Thanks to such vulnerabilities, hackers may be able to steal most of the information, including the system administrative accounts, from VNPT databases,” the company said.

The vulnerability was fixed on Saturday, VNPT deputy general director Pham Duc Long told tech website ICTnews the same day.

“VNPT has strengthened security in its entire network to ensure customers that their private information is safe,” Long was quoted as saying.

The attackers said on Facebook that they had decided to leak the stolen information online after “receiving no response from VNPT about our discovery of their security holes.”

DIE Group, however, did not reveal the usernames and passwords of the stolen accounts for fear that they may be used by other hacker groups, according to their Facebook status.

VNPT, fully known as the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group, is a telecommunications company owned by the Vietnamese government.

The Hanoi-based company boasts more than 60 million mobile phone subscribers, nearly 10 million landline phone subscribers and “dozens of millions of Internet users,” according to its website









Vietnamese hackers allegedly steal 50,000 accounts — Talk Vietnam


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Celebrating International Women’s Day a luxury for these women (pics) — Talk Vietnam

Celebrating International Women’s Day a luxury for these women (pics)





While many women are pampered with flowers and gifts on International Women’s Day, March 8, from their loved men, others are too busy eking out a meager living simply to survive and support their family.

One of the virtues Vietnamese women are endowed with is wholehearted devotion and sacrifice for the sake of their family, particularly for their husbands and children.   The deeply moving stories below highlight such a virtue.
One of the virtues Vietnamese women are endowed with is wholehearted devotion and sacrifice for the sake of their family, particularly for their husbands and children. The deeply moving stories below highlight such a virtue.
Female cyclo rider

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Nguyen Thi Tro and her husband, Le Van Bi, who went fishing on the Huong (Perfume) River in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, were relocated to Phu Vang District, some 10 kilometers from the provincial capital of Hue, some years ago.

Bi switched to riding cyclos to support his wife and two kids.

However, misfortune befell the poor family as the husband was diagnosed with a serious liver disease in 2013.

Tro then took on the breadwinning role and decided to ride her husband’s cyclo for a living.

Nguyen Thi Tro is pictured riding her cyclo at noon. Photo:  Tuoi Tre     Tro (right) and her young son scavenge for snails for their meals. Photo:
Nguyen Thi Tro is pictured riding her cyclo at noon. Photo: Tuoi Tre Tro (right) and her young son scavenge for snails for their meals. Photo:
Tuoi Tre

Cyclos are used to refer to bicycle taxis that are a sort of pedicab having one or two passengers in a seat in the front and the driver pedaling in the rear.

The woman herself is also suffering from rheumatism and a large tumor on her back.

As Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters gifted her a bouquet, she said it was the first she has ever received on International Women’s Day.

Tro (left) and her son are shown making votive papers for some additional incomes. Photo:  Tuoi Tre     The woman makes sure her son is kempt and ready for school. Photo:  Tuoi Tre
Tro (left) and her son are shown making votive papers for some additional incomes. Photo: Tuoi Tre The woman makes sure her son is kempt and ready for school. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Tro (left) said this is the first bouquet she has received on International Women’s Day. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Female garbage scavengers

Le Thu Suu, 56, and her sister-in-law rode their carts carrying heaps of rubbish through streets which glitter with bouquets and gifts intended for women on their special day.

She and her husband rented a shabby room in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City.

Suu left her hometown in the northern province of Vinh Phuc and began collecting scrap and garbage in the southern metropolis seven years ago.

The weather-beaten woman also rides carts with as much as 200 kilograms of wares each day to earn some additional incomes.

A  Tuoi Tre  reporter is seen presenting a bouquet and gifts to Le Thi Suu (right) after she arrived home from half a day scavenging for garbage on March 6, 2015. Photo:
A Tuoi Tre reporter is seen presenting a bouquet and gifts to Le Thi Suu (right) after she arrived home from half a day scavenging for garbage on March 6, 2015. Photo:
Tuoi Tre

Le Thi Dong, 47, who lives in a rented room near Suu’s, has also scavenged for garbage for several years to provide for her ailing husband and growing children in her hometown.

The emaciated woman, who weighs over 30 kilograms, is sometimes on the brink of collapse at the dumping grounds, but pushes herself to stand up at the images of her husband and children waiting at home.

Two middle-aged women support entire family

For years, Nguyen Thi Mai Lan, 56, and her sister, Tram Anh, have been supporting and taking meticulous care of their 85-year-old mother, who suffers diabetes and senile dementia, and their paralyzed 91-year-old father.

Chaos sometimes breaks out in their plain apartment in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City when their three mentally-ill younger brothers, who have depended totally on the two women for care for many years, have tantrums.

Without sufficient medicine, the men would grow furious, hurt themselves, and threaten to kill the entire family.

Lan remains unmarried while Anh is divorced.

The latter runs a small clothing stall in District 3, which is the entire family’s livelihood.

Devoted young wife

Tran Thi My Hanh, from the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre, is tending to her husband, whose body has been wasted away with a terminal-stage cancer, at the Ho Chi Minh City Oncology Hospital.

Hanh’s mother passed away when she was only three and her father followed his wife some years later.

She toiled hard to support herself and her younger brother.

In 2008, Hanh got married to a young man who lived nearby and they were happily blessed with two kids.

Some years later, her husband was diagnosed with cancer but she could not afford long-term treatment.

During a talk with Tuoi Tre reporters two days ahead of the women’s day, the young woman could not hold back her tears at the grim prospect of losing her husband soon to the sinister illness.

A  Tuoi Tre  reporter is pictured gifting a bouquet to Tran Thi My Hanh (center), who is tending to her terminally-ill husband (lying) at the Ho Chi Minh City Oncology Hospital. Photo:  Tuoi Tre
A Tuoi Tre reporter is pictured gifting a bouquet to Tran Thi My Hanh (center), who is tending to her terminally-ill husband (lying) at the Ho Chi Minh City Oncology Hospital. Photo: Tuoi Tre



Celebrating International Women’s Day a luxury for these women (pics) — Talk Vietnam

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

6,200 hospitalized for fighting during Vietnam’s Tet holiday — Talk Vietnam

6,200 hospitalized for fighting during Vietnam’s Tet holiday


More than 6,200 people were hospitalized nationwide from February 15 to 22, the first eight days of the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday that ended on Monday, for treatment of injuries caused by fights, the Ministry of Health reported the same day



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>> 35 die per day over 9-day Tet holiday in Vietnam

Of these people, 15 died due to their critical condition, the ministry said.

Dong Nai, Dong Thap, An Giang and Kien Giang Provinces in the southern region are among the localities that had the most people hospitalized after fighting during the period.

Such fights were triggered by different causes, including conflicts after traffic collisions, assaults under the influence of alcohol, and quarrels during gambling, the ministry said.

The Hue Central Hospital’s Trauma and Orthopedics Center reported that it received 35 patients who were victims of fights from February 15 to 22.

On February 22 alone, as many as 15 such patients were hospitalized, the most of this kind on a single day in many years, the hospital said.

Dr. Ha Van Tam, director of the Tan Chau Town General Hospital in the southern province of An Giang, said five patients with injuries due to fights were taken to the hospital on February 20 and one of them, a man named T., has died.

T. had been stabbed with a knife after leaving a drinking party where he and another man had a row. The attacker was one of the members of the party, according to T.’s relatives.

Dr. Bui Van Te, director of the An Giang Province Central General Hospital, also said his infirmary received more than 10 patients who were victims of fights that resulted from feuds erupting among drinking companions or among gamblers.

A total of 284 such patients were taken to many hospitals in the province from February 15 to 22, local health authorities reported.

This figure was much higher than that during previous Tet holidays, they said.

Similarly, the Kien Giang Province General Hospital received about 10 victims of fights per day during the holiday, said Dr. Nguyen Tien Dung, of the hospital’s emergency department.

The number of people who suffered injuries brought about by assaults from drinking companions was higher than in the previous Tet, Dr. Dung said.








6,200 hospitalized for fighting during Vietnam’s Tet holiday — Talk Vietnam

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tet flower street in Vietnam’s southern province to offer air balloon view — Talk Vietnam

Tet flower street in Vietnam’s southern province to offer air balloon view




Visitors to the annual flower street held in celebration of the Lunar New Year, or Tet in Vietnamese, in a southern province will be able to view it from above the sky with a maiden hot air balloon service to be inaugurated tonight, February 16.



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Two big air balloons will be in service to allow visitors to enjoy the beautiful flowers from 30 meters above the ground, according to Tran Dang Ninh, director of the Tran Bien Temple of Literature, the organizer of the event in Dong Nai Province, around 40km from Ho Chi Minh City.

“Each balloon can serve three to four passengers, and a journey lasts for five to seven minutes, enough time for visitors to take aerial photos,” Ninh was quoted by Dong Nai newspaper as saying.

The hot air balloon will be controlled by a foreign professional crew.

The Tran Bien flower street is running from February 16 to 24, or the 28th day of the current lunar year to the sixth day of the next one at the Temple of Literature in the provincial capital city of Bien Hoa, according to the newspaper.

This is the third time Dong Nai organizes the flower street. The event this year is held under a series of activities to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the foundation of the Tran Bien Temple of Literature.

Built in 1715, Tran Bien is one of several such temples in Vietnam that honor Confucius, along with sages and scholars.

Themed “Dong Nai Spring,” the 1.2km street features models and decorations that reflect the province’s history, culture, and people.

Visitors to the VND11 billion (US$512,629) event will also be treated to many music and culinary activities.

The Ho Chi Minh City street flower, now in its 11th year, will also kick off tonight in the city’s downtown. This year’s flower street, themed “Vietnamese Identity and Spirit,” will run for seven days.

Today is the 28th day of the lunar year, meaning the Vietnamese Tet, the country’s largest public holiday, is only three days away.

Below are some photos taken at the Tran Bien flower street by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

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Tet flower street in Vietnam’s southern province to offer air balloon view — Talk Vietnam

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Museum of Ethnology holds joyful activities to celebrate Tet




The Museum of Ethnology holds joyful activities to celebrate Tet





(VOVworld) – The Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi has cooperated with Lao Cai province to hold ethnic folklore music shows and games during the traditional lunar new year festival.

People play tug-of-war at the Museum of Ethnology in a spring festival
People play tug-of-war at the Museum of Ethnology in a spring festival
The festival will introduce cultural characteristics of the Mong, Dao, Nung, and Bo Y in Lao Cai province and their festivals like Gau Tao, pan-pipe dance by a “Thang Co” hotpot, and ritual and wedding dances of the Dao. Visitors to the Museum can play various folk games of the Tho, Si La, San Chay, Dao, and Mong.

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Prestigious teachers write calligraphy words of good luck for people
Prestigious teachers write calligraphy words of good luck for people
Artisans from northern provinces of Bac Ninh, Hai Duong, and Hai Phong will perform puppetry, make To He, print Dong Ho paintings, write calligraphy, and produce earthen firecrackers.

During the 4th and the 5th day of the lunar new year, visitors will experience unique games by ethnic people in Lao Cai and other traditional activities in the north and a firework display















The Museum of Ethnology holds joyful activities to celebrate Tet — Talk Vietnam

Friday, February 6, 2015

Sapa – focus of tourism sector in 2015

Sapa – focus of tourism sector in 2015





(VOV) -The Lao Cai provincial’s People Committee on February 6 announced a number of noteworthy tourism events in 2015.

This is a golden opportunity for domestic and foreign visitors and travel agencies to update information on ideal destinations in Lao Cai.



The reproduction of Lao Cai markets in Hanoi from February 6-15 is the first highlight of tourism events in 2015.

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The following events include Upper Temple Festival, the spiritual tour along the Red River, Sapa Cultural Week, Bac Ha Horse Race, Vietnam Mountain Marathon 2015, and mountain bike tours 2015.

Particularly, the Sa Pa Culture-Tourism Week held in Sa Pa town, Sa Pa district is expected to lure a large number of tourists during holidays. During the week, new tourism products will be introduced such as specialised tours, night at Sa Pa love market, flower display along the roads, street festical and a photo exhibition.

Speaking at the press conference in Hanoi, Director of Lao Cai provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Tran Huu Son said that last year, the number of tourists travelling to the province increased thanks to the opening of Noi Bai-Lao Cai expressway.

He hopes that new tourism products including eco and village tours will help domestic and foreign tourists enjoy a very good time in a best destination in Vietnam.






Sapa – focus of tourism sector in 2015 — Talk Vietnam

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Manila says China starts dredging at another reef in disputed waters

Manila says China starts dredging at another reef in disputed waters





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An alleged Chinese land reclamation project on what is internationally recognized as the Johnson Reef in the East Sea, the Vietnamese term for the South China Sea. Photo credit: AFP/JIJI

China has started dredging around the disputed Mischief Reef in the South China Sea, a Philippine navy commander said on Thursday, signalling Beijing may be preparing to expand its facilities in the area.

Last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping tried to set Southeast Asian minds at ease over the country’s regional ambitions, but Beijing’s reclamation work in the Spratlys underscore its drive to push claims in the South China Sea and reassert its rights.

China has already undertaken reclamation work on six other reefs it occupies in the Spratlys, expanding land mass five-fold, aerial surveillance photos show. Images seen by Reuters last year appeared to show an airstrip and sea ports.

China has claims on almost the entire South China Sea, which is believed to have rich deposits of oil and gas. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims on the sea where about $5 trillion of ship-borne trade pass every year. Vietnam calls the waters the East Sea.

Rear Admiral Alexander Lopez, commander of the Philippine military’s western command, told reporters on Thursday a Chinese dredging ship was spotted at Mischief Reef, about 135 km southeast of the island of Palawan.

“We don’t know what they plan to do in Mischief,” he said. “They have long been doing that, only that it was Fiery Cross that got a lot of attention because that was on a bigger scale.”

IHS Jane’s said in November images it had obtained showed the Chinese-built island on the Fiery Cross Reef to be at least 3,000 meters (1.9 miles) long and 200-300 meters (660-980 ft) wide.

Lopez did not say when China started the dredging work or give any details on the extent of reclamation at Mischief Reef, saying only the work had been “substantial”.

Surveillance photos that were taken of Mischief Reef last October showed no reclamation work in the area.

The photos, seen by Reuters, showed two structures, including a three-storey building sitting on an atoll, equipped with wind turbines and solar panels.

China occupied Mischief Reef in 1995, building makeshift huts, which Beijing claimed provided shelter for fishermen during the monsoon season. But, China later built a garrison in the area, deploying frigates and coast guard ships.

In 2002, Southeast Asian states agreed with China to sign an informal code of conduct in the South China Sea to stop claimant states from occupying and constructing garrisons in the disputed Spratlys.

Last year, the Philippines and Vietnam protested China’s reclamation work as a violation of the informal code.

North of Mischief Reef, China on Thursday defended the actions of a coast guard vessel in the Scarborough Shoal after the Philippines accused it of ramming three fishing boats.

China’s coast guard sent a dinghy to drive them away and slightly bumped one of the fishing vessels,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news briefing in Beijing.

“We ask that the Philippines strengthen education and indoctrination of its fishermen to prevent such incidents from happening again.”

A Philippine military spokesman, Colonel Restituto Padilla, described China’s action as “alarming” saying the local fishermen were trying to seek shelter due to bad weather.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Allowance for poor for upcoming Tet

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has announced a plan to offer each poor household in the city VND850,000 (US$39.8) as an allowance on the occasion of the upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, which will fall on February 19.
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>> Highest Tet bonus in HCMC is $21,400
The Vietnamese southern hub currently has 29,106 poor households. Under the current poverty threshold, a resident is considered poor if his or her income is less than VND16 million ($749) per year.
In addition to poor households, elderly people who are at least 80 years old and people who regularly receive social welfare will also enjoy an allowance of VND850,000 per person.
War invalids, sick soldiers, revolutionary senior officials, women with the title of “Vietnamese Heroic Mother”, and some other subjects will be given support ranging from VND960,000 ($45) to VND2.5 million ($117).
Meanwhile, civil servants at State administrative agencies in the city and employees at the SOS Village in Go Vap District will be given VND1.2 million ($56.2) per person, according to the plan.
Financial support for all the above groups for Tet is higher than last year, according to the People’s Committee

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Careers with the highest incomes in VN — Talk Vietnam

Careers with the highest incomes in VN





VietNamNet Bridge – Pilots, air traffic controllers, and oil and gas officers have some of the highest incomes in Vietnam.

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A report released recently by Vietnam Airlines showed that in 2013, the pilots working for the air carrier received VND74.8 million a month. The figure was VND4.5 million lower than 2012 and VND6.7 million than 2013.

However, the salary is still considered “sky high” if compared with other careers, especially civil servants who receive less than VND10 million a month.

While pilots are believed to be workers who have the highest income, air stewards hold the most “admired” job, while stewards are called “sinecurists” because they are not required to have higher education, but still can earn VND18-19 million a month.

Becoming pilots and stewards is the dream of many women under 30 and men under 40.

Labor experts pointed out that the salary paid by air carriers is not the only source of income for stewards. They can also make money with the legal trading of goods across border gates.

The incomes of oil and gas companies’ officers are also high. In 2013, a worker at PetroVietnam, the national oil and gas group, received VND16.2 million a month, the highest pay level among the 17 state-owned economic groups and general corporations.

Air traffic controllers rank third in the list of admired jobs. Kienthuc.net quoted sources as saying that an air traffic controller can earn VND15 million a month.

However, like pilots and air stewards, air traffic controllers are listed as a “dangerous career” because their operations can affect the lives of many people.

Human resource officers, technical and financial service providers have also seen their incomes increase rapidly in recent years.

In HCM City, sales and marketing are the best-paid jobs. Salary Guide 2014, a report of Adecco, showed that human resource development in Vietnam has potential for higher incomes in the future.

In general, the salaries paid to chief officers are much higher than that paid to the normal workers in the same business field.

A report from the Vietnam National Tourism Administration (VNAT) showed that a foreign CEO working for high-end hotels in Vietnam can receive $10,000-15,000 a month, or VND210-320 million. It is estimated that there are some 5,000 3-5-star hotels in Vietnam.

In the banking sector, the CEOs of the top 10 joint-stock banks can earn up to $1 million a year on average, or VND21 billion. The CEOs of some big banks earn VND4.8-7 billion a year, while other high-ranking bankers earn VND2 billion a year on average.

Chi Mai









Careers with the highest incomes in VN — Talk Vietnam

Monday, January 19, 2015

Young woman’s social enterprise revitalises do paper-making trade | VXArtNews

VietNamNet Bridge -Do (poonah) paper, used to make the famous folk painting Dong Ho, has been given new vitality thanks to an art project created by a young NGO employee, Tran Hong Nhung.

Visitors learn how do paper is produced during a Dance of Paper workshop.
Visitors learn how do paper is produced during a Dance of Paper workshop.
For Nhung, who works for a German NGO in Ha Noi, her connection with the traditional handmade paper in northern villages was fate.



The endeavour, a company selling modern products made out of do paper and hosting workshops on the handicraft, began four years ago. Nhung helped a Vietnamese-German friend learn more about Vietnamese calligraphy, which is often beautifully featured on the paper. The duo accumulated a lot of knowledge about the papermaking process and its long history.

“I was worried by the critical fact that there are only a few households in the North that still do this craft, but on a very small scale,” Nhung said. “It is impossible to preserve authentic calligraphy if we can’t preserve our traditional papermaking.”

After a time, Nhung’s friend became disinterested and the project was put on hold. But in 2013, Nhung decided to return to it because she didn’t want to waste the effort they had already put in.

To devote more time for her “spiritual child”, as she calls it, Nhung started working part-time at the NGO.

On her journey toward preserving do paper, Nhung teamed up with two young people, Duong Hoang Linh and Nguyen Hong Nhung, who became the project’s art designer and technical adviser, respectively.

With her business mindset coming from a Foreign Trade University bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree on Business Management in France, Nhung, CEO of the project, said she thinks the key to preserving the paper-making is to increase the amount of products made with the paper.

“Like any other farmers, the do tree growers just care about economic benefits. Once the paper is being used widely, the demand for raw materials will increase, and growers definitely will invest more in this kind of plant,” Nhung said.

Using modern designs for do paper products can increase consumption of the material, Nhung said. So she and her teammates aimed to create products with both traditional and contemporary features.

In January 2014, the group officially launched their product line, including notebooks, matchboxes, photo albums, postcards and calendars. They use typical Vietnamese images, such as street vendors or a tangled mass of power lines, to adorn their unique products, which are available in many souvenir shops in Ha Noi, HCM City and Hoi An.

Stable income

The products not only helped create more demand for do paper, they created a stable income for the project so it could expand.

Product line: Some of the do-paper notebooks created by Nhung and her team. - Photos courtesy of Zo Project
Product line: Some of the do-paper notebooks created by Nhung and her team. - Photos courtesy of Zo Project
“Before the market would accept our products, we all had to spend our own savings for this ‘spiritual child,’” Nhung said.

She also held workshops that gather young people and expats living in Ha Noi to learn about do papermaking and its history.

“I’m very happy to see most of my workshops’ attendees and project’s volunteers are young people,” Nhung said. “It’s the young people who are working to preserve traditions.”

In March last year, Nhung also started Vu Dieu Cua Giay (Dances of Paper), an art event where young artists can showcase their works created from do paper.

Sponsored partly by the Danish Embassy in Viet Nam’s Cultural Development and Exchange Fund (CDEF), the event not only encouraged artists to use the traditional paper more, but also helped do paper makers understand the importance of their job.

“The do paper makers were quite excited, because none of them could imagine their paper being used in such creative ways,” she said. “The event seemed to give them more meaningful reason to continue their job.”

Nhung said she intends to turn her two-storey rental house into an art space displaying artworks and products using do paper.

She has kept in close contact with artisans in Dong Cao Village in Bac Ninh, currently the only village in Viet Nam producing the paper. Nhung said she hoped to connect different papermaking villages so they could exchange their experiences and preserve the traditional craft.

The project recently won a Social Enterprise Support Programme award for 2014, and earned a US$10,000 grant. The award seeks out and gives support to social enterprises during critical development periods to enhance their effectiveness and social impacts.

With the grant, Nhung and her team will invest in new products and research.

In the summer, Nhung will travel to northern mountainous provinces to learn about the regions making the materials, and make a proposal on the long-term economic benefits of do trees.

VNS












Young woman’s social enterprise revitalises do paper-making trade | VXArtNews

Friday, January 16, 2015

Vietnam, Cambodia reach 2015 anti-crime plan — Talk Vietnam

Vietnam, Cambodia reach 2015 anti-crime plan





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Scene at the talk between Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security and Cambodia’s Ministry of Interior. Photo: VNA

Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security and Cambodia’s Ministry of Interior have signed a plan on their cooperation in 2015 following talks between the two ministers in Phnom Penh on January 16.

During the talks, Minister of Public Security Tran Dai Quang and Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng agreed on measures to fight hostile forces’ plots and attempts aimed at undermining the traditional friendship between the two countries and harming national security and social order in each country.

They said the two sides will jointly work to combat criminal and economic offenders, especially those engaging in the trafficking of drug, women and children, cross-border smuggling by road and air, and criminals on the wanted list.

They consented to ensure security and order in border areas and the development triangle as mentioned in a joint statement of Vietnamese, Cambodian and Lao Prime Ministers during the eighth summit of Vietnam – Cambodia – Laos development triangle in Vientiane, Laos on November 25, 2014 and a joint statement reached at the second Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam ministerial meeting on anti-crime cooperation in Vietnam on July 29, 2014.

The same day, meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen later, Minister Quang informed the host of the outcomes of his talks with the Interior Minister.

He expressed his belief that the Cambodian people will reap more successes on their path to prosperity.

PM Hun Sen voiced his hope for stronger bilateral cooperation to ensure security and order, defeat all undermining plots and activities by hostile forces, prevent terrorism and fight all kinds of crime.



Vietnam, Cambodia reach 2015 anti-crime plan — Talk Vietnam