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.

Population growth slowing but not shrinking, says UN


HA NOI — Viet Nam’s population growth has slowed but the numbers are not shrinking, reports a newly-published review by the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA.

The review shows that worries about a supposed "baby boom" in 2003 needs to be reassessed, it says in a statement issued yesterday.

It shows also that the country’s population programme needs to be strengthened to ensure the continued deceleration of population growth for stable and quality development during the next 40-50 years.

Nation gets tough on fraud, smuggling and corruption


HA NOI — The Ministry of Public Security reported they uncovered 176,534 economic crimes in the 12 years prior to 2005, including 9,960 cases of corruption.

The report was released on June 8 at a conference to review, in the presence of Secretary and Head of the Inspection Commission of the Party Central Committee, Nguyen Van Chi, public security force operations against smuggling and corruption.

Californians get dose of Vietnamese art


HA NOI — The Huntington Beach Art Centre (HBAC) in California will present a new exhibit titled Out of Context, featuring Vietnamese-themed art.

The show, which runs from June 11 to August 7, will feature contemporary art by 13 Vietnamese-American artists living in California and Vietnamese artists living in Viet Nam. The exhibit investigates the wide range of stylistic choices, media and content found throughout the two Pacific Rim areas.

Agents ponder eco-tourist potential


HCM CITY — Although eco-tourism has become a popular trend over the past few years in Viet Nam, many Vietnamese tour developers are still wondering whether this new vacation idea will take off here.

Some tourism experts see great potential for this sector. A pristine natural environment, the main prerequisite for eco-tourism, thrives in Viet Nam, according to Professor Ross Dowling, from the Australian Edith Cowan University’s School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure.

Fighting corruption is priority, says inspector


HA NOI — Corruption in State enterprises, Government agencies and many economic organisations around the country is a big threat to the regime, said Inspector General Quach Le Thanh.

"The fight against corruption is the job of all the Party and all the people. It calls on the strength of the entire political system as well as the active participation of the entire society," said Thanh.

Overseas Vietnamese to set up bank in Vietnam

A group of Vietnamese living abroad has said they are planning to establish a join-stock bank to back investment projects involving expatriates returning to do business in Vietnam.

The Overseas Vietnamese Business Club (OV Club), based in Ho Chi Minh City, is launching a campaign to attract the support of expatriate Vietnamese to the plan.

The bank would provide support for investment projects involving overseas Vietnamese in all provinces of the country, said Nguyen Ngoc My, OV Club chairman.