Joint stock bank unveils new service

HCM CITY — The joint stock Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) announced on Wednesday that it will begin its US dollar/VN Dong option service by the end of this month.

The option is a market-risk hedging instrument. ACB will offer its customers the exclusive right to buy or sell a fixed sum of the convertible currency, paying in Viet Nam Dong within a specified time at a set price. The term will range from one week to six months.

It is one of the first two banks to get permission from the State Bank to offer the service, the other being the joint stock Techcombank.

Banking restructure aims to generate capital for key sectors

HA NOI — The Government will continue to restructure the banking system to encourage citizens to invest their savings and thereby satisfy the economy’s capital demands, according to the Ministry of Finance.

The Financial Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung said that increased revenue gained in this way will be invested in key sectors relating to fertiliser, gas and oil, and electricity.

The State Bank of Viet Nam said that credit growth this year is estimated at 22 per cent and 24 per cent, down from last year’s 25 per cent and 26 per cent.

State to relinquish control of services

Ha Noi — A recent resolution states the Government’s intention to give up aspects of ownership and control of several key State-owned functions like education, health care and cultural and sport activities between now and 2010.

The document functions as a review of the first and second Government resolutions (1997 and 1999), focusing on the strengths and weaknesses of the last seven years of implementing the Government policy.

Life insurance market outperforming expectations

Vietnamese and foreign insurers have announced impressive incomes early, revealing the potential in a young market.

Manulife Vietnam in 2002 announced its first profitable year to the tune of VND20bil, three years after setting up shop.

Prudential Vietnam, the second foreign-invested life insurance firm in the country, also reported profits for the first time in five years of operation, banking VND61bil.

Post-telecom clears the way for WTO

If Vietnam joins the WTO on schedule, the telecommunications industry will develop in a direction beneficial to both business and clients, said Post and Telematics Deputy Minister Mai Liem Truc.

However, experts believe there will be no boom in Internet services once the country realises its WTO itinerary.

Focus on investment and expansion

According to Mr Truc, foreign telecommunications groups that have invested in, or are planning to invest in Vietnam, are experienced partners.

U.S. director encourages more Vietnamese indie films

A young American director has recently said he would like to build a film studio that funds Vietnamese independent films to encourage young filmmakers to make artistic, low-cost films.
“To make an indie film, you just need a camcorder and PC with video editing software. The most important thing you need is your own creativity,” said Aaron Toronto, 28.

Hoi An town to offer homestay accommodations

The famous ancient town of Hoi An in central Vietnam will officially launch homestay accommodations in a bid to attract more visitors who prefer to stay in an ancient home rather than a hotel.
Up to 40 ancient houses in Hoi An town, which is recognized as a World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO, will offer homestay accommodations to tourists.

Upgrade work will start on these houses to ensure convenience for visitors, said local authorities.

The town is due to launch homestay services at the beginning of the third quarter of this year.

New U.S. customs ruling threatens Vietnam shrimp industry

Vietnam’s shrimp producers and farmers are likely to face bankruptcy as shrimp exports to the American market, as well as shrimp prices, are dropping substantially following a new U.S. customs requirement over bonds.

Since March this year, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has told American importers of shrimp subject to anti-dumping duties to pay a much larger bond than ever.

CBP determines the amount of bond by multiplying the anti-dumping tax rate by an importer’s value of shrimp imports subject to penalty duties during the previous year.

Vietnam’s software industry targeting at US$1 billion in 2010

After the failure of the goal of US$500 million in the year 2005, the software industry of Vietnam set another aim for itself. That is to reach a revenue of US$1 billion in the year of 2010. Coming together with this target is the program draft for development of Vietnam’s software industry in the phase from 2006 to 2010 compiled by the Ministry of Post and Telecoms. As one more time mentioned in the draft, human resource is seen as the key factor for success of the program.

Education offers e-government boost

Ha Noi — With a high percentage of internet users in higher education, both among faculty and students, the education sector has proven fertile ground for the growth of Viet Nam’s e-government programme.

A recent survey on the use of the internet at universities in Ha Noi showed that almost all young teachers and lecturers use the internet regularly and conduct most of their communications through e-mail.