Archive | July, 2011

5 major U.S. & Hongkong corporations to invest in Happyland

28 Jul
VNRELast night (07/26) in Long An, Khang Thong Group, the owner of Happyland entertainment complex project held a signing ceremony with five large corporations in the U.S. and Hong Kong.

Items to be invested in projects including the exhibition and convention center 10,000 m², game zone, movie magic zone, water park… is expected to be completed by mid 2012. The total investment value of over $100 million.

The Happyland complex is an entertaiment and resort project and is the largest in Southeast Asia with a total investment of nearly $2 billion. Phase 1 of the project is implemented on an area of 338 ha, with many modern entertainment works. Especially the Happyland theme park with total investment of $600 million. Entire project is expected to be completed and welcome guests in early 2014.

Source: Happyland Media

PVN and Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects signed a contract worth 30 million USD

27 Jul
VNREAccording to Petrovietnam Construction Joint-stock Corporation (PVV), Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects Company of America will make a contract worth $30 million to set up investment project and design PVN Tower 79 storeys high.

Under the contract, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects Company will establish investment project in six months (8/2011-2/2012) and implement the technical design in four months (2-5/2012) to the project can begin in the last quarter I/2012.

PVN Tower is invested by PVN – the members of the National Petroleum Corporation, will be built on an area of 6.5 ha in land lot X1, Me Tri commune, Tu Liem District, Hanoi.

This is a complex project, including Grade A office, Class A apartments, 5 star hotels, shopping and retail centers, petroleum industry museum and petroleum media center.

With a total investment of approximately $600 million was raised from the equity of PVV, partners in the country and abroad, the project will be built according to modern technology, eco-friendly and coult stand the earthquake level 7 MSK (6 Richter ) – higher than the current construction standard of Vietnam.

Earlier in March this year, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects Company passed three other competitors and won the first prize in the architectural design competition for PVN Tower project.

Source: PVN

Vietnam – Singapore: Comprehensive Connectivity

27 Jul
VNREOn the occasion of Singapore’s 46th National Day (August 9, 1965 – August 9, 2011) and the 38th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Singapore (August 1, 1973 – August 1, 2011), reporter Dang Yen interviewed Mr Simon Wong Wie Kuen, Ambassador of the Republic of Singapore to Vietnam, on the progress in bilateral relations between the two countries.

What is your evaluation of the progress in bilateral relations between Vietnam and Singapore over the years?

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Singapore on 1 August 1973, bilateral relations have progressed rapidly, underpinned by excellent political and economic relations. Politically, there are frequent high-level exchanges by the leaders of both sides. Last year, Singapore Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong visited Vietnam on three occasions. In particular, PM Lee’s official visit in January 2010 was a chance to showcase the notable achievements made by both countries in strengthening bilateral cooperation. PM Lee and PM Nguyen Tan Dung co-witnessed the ground breaking of the newest Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP) in Hai Phong city and the award of a branch licence to the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS).

In 2010, Singapore was the largest foreign investor in Vietnam with cumulative investments of nearly US$23 billion in 900 projects. In addition, bilateral trade achieved an overall four-fold increase since 2000 to reach US$10.1 billion in 2010. In 2009, Singapore was Vietnam’s 5th largest trading partner.

Relations have now extended beyond the political and economic spheres to include other important areas such as defence, education and human resource development. Defence ties received a boost with the signing of the Defence Cooperation Agreement by the leaders of both sides in September 2009. In the area of human resource development and training, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of both countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide training for middle- to senior-level officials from the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV). I am delighted to note that the first run of the course was conducted successfully earlier this year. I will continue to play my part to build on the excellent bilateral relations and to explore new and creative opportunities to enhance the bilateral relationship.

Singapore has consistently ranked as one of the top countries in Asia and the world for the good quality of its institutions and its competent macroeconomic management. What are some useful lessons which Singapore can share with Vietnam in these areas?

Sound economic management, which involves sound monetary policy combined with appropriate fiscal policy, is crucial to ensure macro-economic stability. To achieve sustained growth, structural policies are also important to ensure that our economy can meet the challenges brought about by demographic changes, technological advancements and globalization. Macro-economic policies cannot work in isolation and an over-reliance on any specific policy instrument can result in unintended consequences. Singapore’s sound economic management reflects in part the judicious mix of policies the government has pursued. For instance, during the financial crisis in 2009, the monetary policy responses adopted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) were deliberately graduated and underpinned by the objective of promoting price stability in the medium term. We did not react to every single development in the economy or the financial markets, as this would have introduced unnecessary volatility and uncertainty. MAS responded to the deterioration and subsequent recovery of external demand by allowing the Singapore dollar to depreciate and appreciate respectively. At the same time, because of our fiscal prudence achieved by a policy of spending within our means and maintaining a stable and diversified base of revenues, we were able to deploy the US$16.8 billion Resilience Package to encourage the domestic economy. Fiscal prudence combined with the effective use of monetary and fiscal policy instruments during the financial crisis is something that I think Singapore can share with Vietnam.

A healthy trade balance is also important in pursuing sustained economic growth. Singapore’s economic diversification policy has played a part in ensuring that our exports continue to grow and maintain a healthy trade balance. In terms of industry structure, Singapore has maintained a globally competitive manufacturing sector producing high value-added goods, while at the same time it has built up the competitiveness of its services sectors, including export-oriented ones like tourism and financial services. Singapore has also diversified its sources of external demand to reduce reliance on any one particular market.

What are, in your opinion, some notable achievements in economic cooperation made by both countries after the implementation of the Connectivity Framework Agreement?

The Connectivity Framework Agreement serves as an overarching platform for bilateral economic cooperation. Since coming into force in early 2006, Connectivity has achieved good progress in all six sectors of cooperation: (i) education and training, (ii) finance, (iii) information technology and telecommunications, (iv) investment, (v) trade and services, and (vi) transportation.

Since its implementation, Connectivity has successfully facilitated several private sector projects in Vietnam, and directly or indirectly contributed to nearly US$14 billion worth of Singapore’s registered investments in Vietnam. Some of the more notable projects facilitated under Connectivity include the development of the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks (VSIPs), PSA’s joint venture project with Saigon Port to build and operate a deep-sea container terminal in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province and the establishment of branch offices by our banks (DBS, UOB and OCBC) in Vietnam. Other significant investments are in the industrial/tech parks (Ascenda-Protrade’s 500 hectare Tech Park in Binh Duong), real estate (e.g. Keppel Land, Ascott Group, and CapitaLand), healthcare (e.g. Parkway Health’s US$770 million hospital project in Ho Chi Minh City and Thomson Medical Center’s project for Protrade’s Hanh Phuc International Women and Children Hospital), and hospitality (e.g. Banyan Tree’s investment in a world-class hospitality project on Lang Co Beach in Thua Thien-Hue province).

Over the years, education and training cooperation between Vietnam and Singapore has further strengthened and now forms one of the key pillars of the bilateral relationship. How would you assess the cooperation in recent times?

Education and training has been identified as one of the six key pillars of cooperation under the Connectivity Framework Agreement. Singapore and Vietnam have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Educational Cooperation in April 2007. There have been various initiatives since then, notably, the Vietnam-Singapore Centre for Educational Excellence (VSCEE) which was jointly set up in March 2008 by Singapore’s National Institute of Education (NIE) and Vietnam’s National Institute of Education Management (NIEM) to focus on leadership training for school principals and professional development for education administrators.

The Singapore Scholarship and ASEAN Scholarship are offered to Vietnamese students to study in schools and universities in Singapore. We have also established links at the tertiary level through MOUs, staff and student exchanges, training and visits. For instance, in March 2011, the National University of Singapore’s School of Computing (NUS SoC) co-organised the 3rd NUS SoC Vietnam Research Workshop in Hanoi with Hanoi University of Science & Technology (HUST). There is also an ongoing school twinning programme between 13 pairs of schools from Vietnam and Singapore which has yielded rich learning experiences for the teachers and students. Furthermore, with the sponsorship of the Estate of Tan Sri Khoo Teck Puat administered by Singapore MOE, the SEAMEO Regional Language Centre (RELC) in Singapore recently welcomed the 9th batch of 30 English Language teachers from Vietnam in early June for an English training course.

I am confident that our education cooperation will continue to grow from strength to strength.

Tourism is one of the areas where there is great potential for both sides to further advance the bilateral economic relationship. What is your evaluation of the current level of cooperation in this sector, as well as further prospects for tourism cooperation between Vietnam and Singapore?

Singapore and Vietnam have traditionally shared close ties in tourism cooperation. Since the signing of the Singapore-Vietnam Tourism Cooperation (SVTC) Agreement in 1994, there have been regular exchanges and meetings between the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) as a way of sharing expertise in tourism development. I am pleased to note that the next SVTC meeting will be held in Vietnam in the third quarter of 2011.

Vietnam is blessed with a magnificent natural environment, wonderful culture and a long and beautiful coastline. The natural beauty of the limestone karsts of Ha Long Bay in the north, the ancient cities of Hoi An and Hue in central Vietnam and the beautiful beaches of Nha Trang and Mui Ne in the south, are but a few examples of the sights in Vietnam which excite tourists the world over. It is no wonder that Singapore companies are eager to play their part in the development of Vietnam’s tourism landscape, as signalled by Banyan Tree’s US$900 million investment to develop a world class resort project in Lang Co Beach.

Going forward, there are many other areas where Singapore can cooperate with Vietnam in the tourism sector. Cruise tourism is an example. At the invitation of VNAT, STB had undertaken two trips to Vietnam in 2009-2010, to study the potential for the development of ports in Vietnam for cruise tourism, and the attractiveness of various points in Southeast Asia as cruise destinations. There is scope for closer collaboration between STB and VNAT in building ports of call along Vietnam’s long and beautiful coast, so that Vietnam is able to benefit from developing its maritime tourism and cruise industry.

Singapore remains one of the largest investors in Vietnam. What are the crucial factors which have attracted Singapore investors and investments to Vietnam?

Singapore investors have been attracted by Vietnam’s strong economic growth over the past decade. Despite the global financial crisis in 2009, Vietnam’s economy rebounded strongly in 2010 with GDP growth of 6.8 percent. Vietnam has also successfully attained Middle Income Country status. Combined with its strong annual economic growth of more than 7 percent since 2000, Vietnam has become an attractive destination for Singapore investors.

Vietnam’s abundant natural resources and human capital are also key factors in attracting investors there. Located within a 3-hour flight radius from Singapore, Vietnam is easily accessible by Singapore companies through numerous daily air services. This has enabled Singapore companies to be well-linked to their investments in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese government’s continued efforts to create a more conducive business environment have enticed our companies to invest in Vietnam. Singapore investments are also encouraged by the strong bilateral relations shared between Singapore and Vietnam, particularly the strong economic cooperation facilitated through the Connectivity Framework Agreement. Furthermore, Vietnam’s increasing efforts to integrate with the global economy through its participation in international organizations and free trade agreements have enhanced Vietnam’s attractiveness as an investment destination.

Source: VCCI News

Vietnam Seeks More Investment from Japan

27 Jul
VNREVietnam wants Japanese businesses to increase their investment in the country through the form of public-private partnership (PPP).

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong expressed the desire while speaking at the Vietnam-Japan Investment Forum held in Tokyo on July 22.

He said, from now to 2020, Vietnam would need a major source of investment to develop the country’s infrastructure, estimated at US$16-17 billion per year, while the capital investment from traditional channels only would meet 50-60% of demand.

As a result, the pilot scheme for investment under the PPP form was approved. This was one of the key policies of the Vietnamese Government aiming to create a legal corridor for attracting more sources of investment from the private sector for developing infrastructure and public services in Vietnam.

The Deputy Minister said the Vietnamese Government expected to successfully implement PPP, attracting not only capital sources but also advanced technologies and effective management experience from the private sector.

He expressed hopes that Japan, as a strategic partner of Vietnam, would continue to closely co-operate with the country to successfully deploy the PPP programme, affirming that the Vietnamese Government always highly valued the efficiency of investment capital from Japanese investors.

Responding, Japanese Deputy Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Naoyoshi Sato said the Japanese government is considering joining in the PPP projects.

He also highlighted some of Japan’s strong points on technology and experience in the fields of high-speed railways, sewage treatment and rubbish recycling.

At the event, which was jointly held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), the Mainichi Daily News and the Nikkan Kogyo Newspaper of Japan, representatives from Vietnam informed Japanese businesses about regulations related to investment activities under the PPP form, its potential in Vietnam as well as some trial PPP projects in transportation, energy and urban infrastructure.

According to MPI, by June this year, 1,552 projects of Japanese businesses were valid in Vietnam, with a total investment of US$21.3 billion. Japan was the fourth-largest investor out of 93 countries and territories investing in Vietnam.

Source: VNA

Land Lease – Another Business Hardship

27 Jul
VNREThe enforcement of the Government Decree No. 121/2011/ND-CP on amendments and supplements to some articles in the Decree No. 142 on the collection of land and water surface rents is causing more difficulties for businesses which are also being troubled by economic problems, high interest rates and manufacturing downscale.

At a recent workshop entitled “Solving land leasing problems for businesses and tax-related issues” held in Hanoi by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the Ministry of Finance, the Administrative Procedure Control Agency (APCA) under the Government Office, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Vietnam Business Forum Newspaper, many delegates complained about higher land rent in 2011 over 2010 and gave voice to regulations on land rent rates applied to businesses at tax offices.

According to this decree, land rent rates are determined on market prices of land-use rights transfer in an ordinary business condition instead of being fixed annually by the provincial or municipal People’s Committees. Currently, the percentage of land rent rates has been revised up from 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent of the total rent value, or a three-fold increase, while land rent rates also climbed from 1.5 to 5 folds from the previous rates, depending on locality and type of land.

A representative from the Economics and Land Development Department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment said the ongoing reality showed that costs for land clearance are very high; market price-based compensations for non-farming land are also relatively high, and if rent rates are not hike to 1.5 – 2 percent, the State Budget will have “nothing to collect.” Moreover, Vietnam has eight or nine first-grade urban zones where land prices are extremely high and rising strongly.

Director of Hai Phong City-based Hong An Equipment Company said his company was shocked at the rent notice dispatched by the Hong Bang District Tax Office as the amount of rents soared to VND412 million in 2011, 18.5 times higher than in 2010. Not only Hong An Equipment Company, many other companies were also upset by new rent notices in 2011. For instance, Hai Phong Auto Company will have to pay VND3,185 million in 2011, a five-time fold increase from VND626 million in 2010; and the Construction Joint Stock Company No. 9 saw a more than 10-time increase in rent pay from VND55 million in 2010 to VND555 million in 2011.

A representative from Ha Long Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Association, Quang Ninh province said land rent rates in 2011 were 1.5 – 5 times higher than in 2006; and the rent rate was also raised from 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent, or a 3-fold rise over 2006. It is extremely irrational when land rent expenses jumped 4.5 – 15 times within just five years.

Therefore, most businesses agreed that the Decree 121 needs a proper enforcement roadmap and schedule. The change in rent rates must be based on specific conditions of each business and a sudden big change is unacceptable.

“The adjustment to land rent must be practicable. A careful study in the applicable time is essential to ensure harmonious benefits of businesses and the government and suit economic conditions of each locality,” said chairman of Ha Long Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Association.

Attending companies requested the government to reconsider land rent rates and allow a delay in land tax payment in 2011 to 2012 and subsequent years.

After hearing and recording opinions from businesses, Deputy Finance Minister Do Hoang Anh Tuan said the Finance Ministry and the VCCI will send their requests to competent ministries and government agencies to find best solutions to support companies to deal with new difficulties. He admitted that the time for enforcing the Decree 121 is not convenient and its contents are not sufficient. Therefore, companies can put forth proper rates of land rents for 2011 to cope with existing difficulties.

Reported by Trinh Hai | VCCI News

Resort project breaks ground in Da Nang

27 Jul
VNREThanh Do Construction and Investment JSC started construction on the Empire Residences and Resort on Sunday.

With an investment of VND10 trillion (US$476 million), the project occupies 51ha on the coast of Ngu Hanh Son District, central Da Nang City.

The resort will contain five-star hotels, health care centres, restaurants, commercial and sports areas, and villas.

Source: VNA

New railway to connect Cambodia and Vietnam

27 Jul
VNREA new railway section connecting Cambodia with Vietnam will be built at an estimated cost of $686 million, transport officials said.

The 257-kilometre railway is part of larger rail system connecting six countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS).

The section will link Kampong Speu province’s Oudong district in Cambodia with Tay Ninh’s Loc Ninh district in southern Vietnam.

A Chinese firm began a $3-million feasibility study for the Kampong Speu-Vietnam railway in July 2009.

According to the study, the project is expected to facilitate trade and economic development among GMS countries, especially for agricultural and mining industries.

In 2008, China pledged $500 million to help fund the Cambodia-Vietnam railway project.

In 2009, the Cambodian government signed agreements with Royal Group and Australia’s Toll Holdings to set up a joint venture that would operate the entire railway service in Cambodia for 30 years, at a cost of $145 million.

Source: Dan Tri

VinaProjects wins new residential project in Ho Chi Minh City

26 Jul
VNRE VinaProjects has secured another third party client, Tran Thai Investment Corporation, for the 22 storey Louis Tower project on Nguyen Huu Tho Street, District 7, HCMC.

The Louis Tower project is a part of 13.6 hectares Phuoc Kien residential project and includes 321 well equipped and modern apartments. The project has strategic location next to Phu My Hung Township and convinient access to district 1, 4, 8, Binh Chanh as well as the Mekong Delta provinces.

VinParojects will provide full Project and Construction Management services including front end Technical Design Services and Tender Management for the project. The project duration is 28 months starting from August 2011.

Even in a very tough current market, winning this project is a reflection upon the excellent work VinaProjects has done in the field and further confirm VinaProjects’ growing reputation of quality and services.

Source: VinaProjects

Is Vietnam the New Frontier for Architects?

25 Jul
VNREIt might have been unthinkable as a place to do business just a few decades ago, when half of the country was at war with the United States. It doesn’t have the resources of China, its booming neighbor to the north. And its communist government might not appeal to citizens from capitalist nations.

But quietly, Vietnam has in recent years become a hot spot for many Western architects, as work in their home countries remains elusive. About two dozen North American and European firms now have projects in the Southeast Asian nation, including Foster + Partners, HOK, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). And some are opening permanent offices there, according to architects working in the country.

Vietnam is “starting to dip its toe into the pool with more Western buildings, because it wants to make a mark on the international scene,” says architect Anthony Montalto, a principal with Chicago-based Carlos Zapata Studio. “There is definitely an opportunity to try something fresh.”

Two of his firm’s buildings — reportedly among the first by U.S. designers to be built in Vietnam — appear strikingly different from the low-slung and boxy structures in the country’s cities. Its 68-floor Bitexco Financial Tower, completed in 2010 in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), features a helipad jutting like a diving board from its glass-walled upper stories. And in Hanoi, the firm’s 450-room waterfront Marriott, which resembles a crooked horseshoe if viewed from above, is now under construction.

Many of the opportunities in Vietnam entail urban planning. Unlike buildings, master plans do not require collaboration with licensed local architects, perhaps making them easier for Westerners to take on, according to sources.

HOK, for one, was recently hired by Sacom, a telecom and real estate company, to conceive a 27-acre development in Ho Chi Minh City (where the firm has a six-employee office, founded in 2009). Geared toward young professionals, the scheme features 1,600 homes and is crisscrossed by canals, says Tyler Meyr, an HOK senior associate. Like many projects in Vietnam, the Sacom development will be built on state-owned farmland, which is viewed as expendable now that the country is transitioning from agriculture to heavy industry, architects say.

The state, and the population at large, do not seem to bear a grudge against America, despite the fact that it conducted a decades-long war there, adds Meyr. “They are in a very optimistic time and thinking about the future rather than the past,” he says.

That upbeat mood can be explained partly by the influx of jobs due to foreign investment. With 87 million people, Vietnam is seen by many as a favorable place to locate factories because the labor force is comparatively cheap—about half that of manufacturing districts in China, according to World Bank figures. Intel, for one, opened a $1 billion semiconductor factory in the country last year. The United States’ normalization of trade within Vietnam in 2000 has also strengthened relations and spurred development, analysts say.

In turn, architects have come knocking, prompted by continued softness in the U.S. building industry. There are about a dozen American firms working in the southern city of Long Xuyen alone, explains architect Ming Wu, a design principal with Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects (EE&K, now owned by Perkins Eastman). “Every day, more and more foreign architects are piling into Vietnam,” he says.

In Long Xuyen, which is on the Mekong Delta, EE&K has proposed a multibuilding project for downtown, in addition to conceiving a master plan that calls for transforming 470 rural acres into dense urban neighborhoods. Both schemes await approval.

EE&K is tapping into other cities, as well. In Ho Chi Minh City, it is working alongside Carlos Zapata on a mega-development dubbed Ma Lang Center. In Hanoi, the same team has created a master plan for a new 200-acre district called Hoang Mai Park City. British firms are showing up in Vietnam, too. Last fall, Foster + Partners broke ground on a bank complex in Hanoi.

One of the busier global firms in Vietnam might be SOM. It has six projects in the country, all master plans. It recently was tapped for Green Tech City, in Hanoi, which features two villages and a lush park that will act as a sponge for rain runoff, says Daniel Ringelstein, SOM director of urban design and planning.

Working in Vietnam does have its drawbacks. Projects don’t always pay competitive fees, and some cite systemic corruption in the awarding of contracts. Also, clients often emphasize cars over trains, meaning the country might repeat mistakes seen in the United States. “We’ve learned in the West that if you build more roads, it won’t solve traffic problems,” Ringelstein says. “It means more cars will come.”

Reported by C. J. Hughes | Architectural Record

EcoXuan Lai Thieu – Ideal home, enjoy leisure

23 Jul

VNRE – EcoXuan is a 10.8 ha boutique development created to provide discerning residents with a complete lifestyle. The master plan is based on the developer’s LiveLearnWorkPlay philosophy that emphasizes a wholesome and balanced way of life.

Rollover the plan and discover what’s in store for you at EcoXuan.

The Location

EcoXuan is strategically located along Highway 13, just 16 km north of Ho Chi Minh City. It is easily accessible from Ho Chi Minh City along National Highway 13. In the near future, access will also be available via the soon to be completed Phu Lung Bridge, connecting Lai Thieu Town to District 12.

Within a 5 km radius you will find:
1. Hanh Phuc Women and Children’s Hospital
2. Minh Long Plaza
3. Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP)
4. Song Be Golf Club
5. The Canary
6. Metro Hypermarket, Co-op Mart & Lotte Mart
7. Mien Dong International Hospital

The Idea

That fresh, new life you have always desired awaits you at EcoXuan, a signature enclave at the northern gateway of Ho Chi Minh City. Emerging from Lai Thieu’s fertile fields, EcoXuan promises a holistic and sustainable lifestyle in a lush garden setting.

From beautiful homes to resort-style amenities and comprehensive services, everything is in place for you to LiveLearnWorkPlay in a brand new way.



For further information please contact:

Setia Lai Thieu One Member Company Limited
Add: Office 02-03, 88/10, Dong Nhi, Lai Thieu Town,
Thuan An District, Binh Duong Province
Tel: 84.650.379 7255 – Fax: 84.650.379 7225