Insurance Market Opens Up to Foreign Competitors

HCM CITY — Last week’s licensing of two American insurance companies is a strong sign of the Vietnamese Government’s intention to open up its fledgling insurance market, according to an official from the finance ministry.

With the addition of the two companies, New York Life and ACE, the total number of American life insurance outlets doing business in Viet Nam now stands at three.

Foreign Companies Get the Nod to Set Up Subsidiaries

HA NOI — Foreign-invested enterprises, already allowed to convert to joint stock companies, will shortly be able to reorganize under the parent-subsidiary model, under a plan approved in principle by the Prime Minister.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) will begin working this week with relevant offices on regulations that would govern a foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) organization as a parent company.

Vietnamese Company to Publish Foreign Best Seller

The Vietnamese company First News inked an exclusive agreement with an American publishing corporation for the right to translate and distribute their books in Vietnam.

First News signed the contract with the US publishing corporation L. Ron Hubbard for exclusive distribution in Vietnam of the book entitled “Dianetics Modern Science of Mental Health.”

The deal includes three other books all penned by Doctor Hubbard.

Foreign firm gets green light to build hangar in Vietnam

A foreign company will invest 500 million USD to build a hangar for heavy aircraft maintenance in central Quang Nam province following recent approval by the prime minister, said a provincial leader.
The project is scheduled to start this year at Chu Lai Airport in the Chu Lai Open Economic Zone.

The PM also approved two other major foreign investment projects in the Chu Lai OEZ – a 400 million-USD nitrogen fertilizer and construction glass plant and 400 million-USD thermoelectricity plant.

AmCham praises Viet Nam’s progress in law

"We are pleased to see progress on important legislation, including the Unified Enterprise Law and the Common Investment Law. These laws, when enacted, represent an excellent opportunity for Viet Nam to demonstrate that it is taking practical and significant steps to meet its obligations under international bilateral trade agreements and its commitments under the WTO entry process."

Intel signs deal to help develop 'digital Vietnam'

The world's largest chipmaker Intel has signed an agreement with the Vietnamese government to improve the accessibility of information technologies throughout the country, the company's CEO said.
Intel president Paul Otellini said the foundation would aim to boost communication infrastructure across ministries, government, provinces and various organisations.

The company also wants to help Vietnam develop a robust local IT industry and increase computerisation in schools.

Otellini denied revealing how much the company would spend on the program.

HCMC property market heats up with available condos

The recent rising number of available condominiums in Vietnam’s southern hub Ho Chi Minh City, fueled by support from local banks, has given a big boost to the local property market after a stagnant period.

In the last few months, a huge number of housing projects to build condo blocks have been announced, attracting the attention of local house buyers.

In particular, buyers are falling for the attractive, low-priced condos within a housing program launched by a group of two local property developers and two banks, which will supply 20,000 to 30,000 condos.

VN bourse welcomes foreign firm


HCM CITY — An auction was held last Friday to sell shares of the Taya (Vietnam) Electric Wire and Cable Company, the first ever held for a foreign-invested business.

The auction was held at the HCM City and Ha Noi stock markets.

More than 2.440 million shares of the VND183 billion (US$11.5 million) Taiwanese-owned company were sold for almost VND46.2 billion, with the average price at VND18,922.

The highest price was VND29,100, while the lowest was VND18,000, the same as the starting price.

Commercial banks need equitisation


HA NOI — Bankers and their regulators met yesterday to discuss ways to raise foreign direct investment in the banking sector, with most agreeing that an immediate equitisation of State-owned commercial banks would give the slugglish sector a financial kick-start.

Nguyen Hoang Hai, general secretary of the Viet Nam Association of Financial Investors, said that State-owned commercial banks should move quickly to value their uncollectable loans and total assets in order to take the necessary steps towards equitisation.

New decree fights money laundering


HA NOI — The Government issued a legal framework for anti-money laundering that provides guidance for setting up systems to report and investigate suspicious transactions.

Experts have warned that cash-based economies such as Viet Nam are hotspots for money launderers. The move is seen as a strong commitment to combat these activities.

Decree No 74, issued on Tuesday, will come into effect on August 1.