Vietnamese real estate conglomerate to make dream of domestically-made cars a reality

Vingroup is expected to start introducing 'Made in Vietnam' cars to the market within the next two years.

Vietnamese real estate conglomerate Vingroup JSC on Saturday broke ground on its subsidiary VINFAST's new car manufacturing complex in the northern port city of Hai Phong.

The 335-hectare (828-acre) complex would start manufacturing electric scooters in 12 months, sedans and SUVs in 24 months and electric cars in 3 years. By 2025, VINFAST is expected to be producing 500,000 cars a year, making it a leading automobile manufacturer in Southeast Asia.

“Through the automotive industry, Vingroup hopes to help boost the growth of Vietnam's heavy industry and manufacturing, contributing to the country's industrialization and modernization," Nguyen Viet Quang, Vingroup's vice chairman, said at the groundbreaking ceremony.  “The birth of VINFAST shows the aspiration to build a world-class Vietnamese brand.”

VINFAST has signed a memorandum of understanding with a S…

Without US, 11 nations in TPP inch closer to a deal

The remaning TPP members aim to reach a broad agreement at an APEC scheduled for November in Vietnam.
The 11 nations remaining in the Trans-Pacific Partnership after the United States withdrew have inched closer to a comprehensive deal, offering hope that major countries can maintain free trade in the face of U.S. protectionism, a negotiator said on Friday.

The original 12-member TPP, which aimed to cut trade barriers in some of Asia's fastest-growing economies, was thrown into limbo in January when U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement to prioritize protecting U.S. jobs.

Negotiators met for two days in the Japanese capital, Tokyo, to discuss what parts of the original deal they wished to shelve, in a bid to salvage an ambitious vision for a free-trade bloc that originally included the United States.

The 11 TPP members agreed to meet again in Japan next month and aim to reach a broad agreement in November at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting set to …

Vietnam’s government debt jumps 80 pct in four years

Over 42 percent of the $93.4 billion debt was owed to foreign lenders in 2015.
Vietnam's government debt rose a staggering 80 percent beteen 2011 and 2015 to $93.4 billion, according to the latest figures released this week.

More than 42 percent of the money was owed to foreign lenders, the finance ministry said in a report.

The government debt in 2015 was more than twice the country's budget income, the report said.

Debts owed by cities and provincial governments increased three times to $3.3 billion over the same period.

Finance Minister Dinh Tien Dung said at a meeting in March that Vietnam’s public debt and government debt are rising rapidly due to "weak management and use of loans”.

Dung said Vietnam took out several expensive loans between 2011 and 2013 with annual interest rates of as high as 13 percent a year.

Meanwhile, economic growth targets are not being met, he said.

Vietnam recorded its highest GDP growth in five years at 6.7 percent in 2015, thanks largely to crude…

Vietnam to tolerate ‘no mistakes’ at APEC summit after host city's leaders implicated for misconduct

A deputy PM gives the assurance two days after the Party’s top watchdog proposed punishment against Da Nang’s top leaders.

Construction work and logistical preparations for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in the central city of Da Nang, whose top leaders have just been named and shamed in a widening corruption crackdown, must go ahead smoothly and be completed on schedule, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh has said.

There must be "no mistakes" made during the course of the six-day summit, which opens on November 6 in Da Nang, the government's news portal quoted Minh as saying at a meeting of the APEC 2017 National Committee on Wednesday.

Da Nang will host world leaders, possibly including U.S. President Donald Trump, China's Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin at the summit. Roads, meeting halls and a new airport terminal have been built in preparation for the event. That will be the second time Vietnam has host the summit after 2006.

The instructi…

Vietnam to cap foreign ownership at 30 pct for real estate projects in new special economic zones

‘The limit is to guarantee security and prevent acquisitions by foreigners.’
Foreign investors will be restricted to 30 percent ownership of real estate projects in Vietnam's future special economic zones if a new draft law is approved, despite government promises of added incentives to attract overseas investment.

The cap is the same as the one currently imposed across the country. 

The Law on Special Economic and Administrative Units, which is being drafted at the moment, would grant foreign investors 99-year leaseholds on properties in new investment areas, almost twice the 50-year terms granted elsewhere in Vietnam.

But a major barrier remains as the law would only allow foreigners to buy up to 30 percent of an apartment building or resort project in these areas, said Tran Huy Dong, director of the Economic Zones Management Department at the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

“The limit is to guarantee security and prevent acquisitions by foreigners in special economic zones,” D…

Top Vietnamese lawmaker calls for setting up 'red-light areas' in special economic zones

'Life has such realistic demands. We’ve got to go with the flow and work out an appropriate management mechanism.'

Red-light areas, which are still banned in Vietnam, should become legal to boost business in the country’s special economic zones alongside casinos, a vice house speaker said Monday.

Phung Quoc Hien, the vice chairman of the legislative National Assembly, said at a meeting of the Assembly's Standing Committee that Vietnam should consider establishing regulated red-light districts in certain special economic zones where the ban on local gamblers has been lifted on a trial basis.

Authorities in Vietnam's economic hubs have proposed the pilot establishment of such areas like those in Singapore, where prostitution would be regulated.

“Life has such realistic demands,” Hien told Monday's parliamentary meeting, which was convened to debate draft regulations on Vietnam’s special economic zones.

“We’ve got to go with the flow and work out an appropriate management …

Vietnam on red alert as worst storm in years bears down

Doksuri is forecast to hit Vietnam on Friday night with wind speeds of at least 118kph.

Vietnam has been put on red alert as it braces for a giant tropical storm that is forecast to hit the country this week with wind speeds of at least 118 kilometers per hour.

Officials said at a meeting on Wednesday that Doksuri, the 10th storm to form in the South China Sea (which Vietnam calls the East Sea) this year, is also the strongest and there’s a very high chance it will hit Vietnam.

Nguyen Duc Cuong, director of the National Center for Hydrometeorology Forecasting, said that the hurricane has been growing in strength for a week as it moves towards Vietnam.

“This will be the strongest and most dangerous storm to hit Vietnam in recent years,” Cuong said.

The hurricane is expected to make landfall in Vietnam between Friday night and Saturday morning. Cuong said when it does, its destruction might be the worst the country has ever seen.

This is the first time the agency has raised the alert level to…

Storm Doksuri, most fierce in decade, strengthens en route to north-central Vietnam

Tropical Storm Doksuri is picking up strength as it nears north-central Vietnam and is expected to make landfall this weekend.

During an online conference on Thursday morning, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said that it is the strongest storm to have hit Vietnam during the past 10 years.

Doksuri was just140 kilometers southeast of Vietnam's Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago at 4:00 am on Thursday, carrying winds of 90 to 100km per hour and squalls at up to 149km per hour.

The storm is forecast to travel southwestward at a velocity of 15 to 20km an hour over the next 24 hours, according to the National Center for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting.

By 4:00 am on Friday, Doksuri is forecast to reach 190 kilometers east of the coastline from Nghe An to Quang Tri Provinces in north-central Vietnam, with even stronger wind speeds of 135 and 150km an hour and gusts topping 183km per hour.

Waves in the northern part of the East Vietnam Sea will stretch a towering 10 meters high during this …

Thai VietJet Air barred from operating int'l flights, awaits re-certification in Thailand

Thai VietJet Air, a subsidiary of budget carrier VietJet Air, is suspended from operating international flights until new operator certificates are issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), the Bangkok Post reported on Wednesday.

The airline is among 12 small carriers – together accounting for just two percent of Thailand’s air market – affected by an order issued late Tuesday by Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the English-language newspaper said.

The airlines are still permitted to fly domestic routes, but all international flights operated by the affected carriers are to be put on hold, according to the article.

The affected airlines include Thai VietJet Air, Orient Thai Airlines, Mjets, K-Mile, Jet Asia Airways, AC Aviation, Siam Land Flying, Asia Atlantic, VIP Jets, HS Aviation, Advance Aviation and Skyview Airways.

A VietJet Air representative confirmed the suspension to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Wednesday evening, though it stressed that the suspension of…

Vietnam’s graft trial: Defense lawyer blames ousted Party bigwig for sanctioning backyard banking services

The lawyer says Dinh La Thang enabled scandal-hit OceanBank to function as the de facto internal institution for PetroVietnam.

The defense lawyer of a former PetroVietnam chairman facing the death sentence in a massive graft trial has said his client just enforced the executive orders already sanctioned by a recently dismissed high-ranking official who then headed the state energy giant.

Prosecutors on Thursday sought the death penalty for Nguyen Xuan Son, who was Petro Vietnam’s chairman from 2014 until he was arrested in 2015, on charges of embezzlement. Son was also charged with abuse of power and economic mismanagement.

The proposed sentence came as the OceanBank trial, with 51 bankers and businessmen in the dock, was halfway through its expected 20-day duration, opening a can of worms in one of Vietnam’s toughest corruption crackdowns of which PetroVietnam and the banking sector have been at the center.

Son was the CEO of OceanBank between 2008 and 2010, during which time PetroVietna…

Mobile game challenges players to survive traffic in Vietnam

If you still cannot muster enough courage to attempt traffic in Vietnam, do it virtually with an addictive mobile game made by two young Vietnamese.

Available on both the iOS and Android app stores, Coi To Cho Vuot, literally translated as “you can cross if your honking is big enough,” is a 2D game allowing users to guide its main character through the busy streets of Vietnam.

Players must avoid several obstacles, from possible collisions from behind by speedy motorbikes to commuters who cross the streets carelessly. The longer they survive, the more points users gain to unlock new game characters.

Users only need to touch their device screen to swerve left or right or slow down to avoid the obstacles.

Players can choose from a wide range of characters, from the notorious ‘Ninja LEAD,’ a term used mostly to describe female Honda LEAD scooter drivers who cover their body from head to toe to avoid the sun, to the ‘big carcass transporter’.

The field of game play is displayed from a bird ey…