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Investors optimistic for 2016

HA NOI – Vietnamese investors are expecting more transactions from State-owned enterprises’ (SOE) equitisation rather than by private/family firm owners, Grant Thornton Viet Nam’s latest survey said.

In the 14th survey on the private equity sector, carried out between December 2015 and January 2016, a majority of the respondents maintain their positive views about Viet Nam’s economy. Eighty-six per cent of the respondents expect the level of investment activities to increase in Viet Nam in the next 12 months.

Workers of Lam Thao Fertilisers and Chemicals Company, a subsidiary of Vinachem, transport fertiliser. Vinachem shares are among the top most wanted items on the local market. — VNA/VNS Photo Trung Kien

Workers of Lam Thao Fertilisers and Chemicals Company, a subsidiary of Vinachem, transport fertiliser. Vinachem shares are among the top most wanted items on the local market. — VNA/VNS Photo Trung Kien

Grant Thornton Viet Nam said the positive outlook of the market was the result of various improvements made recently, such as two legislative changes to promote private sector participation in the Government’s infrastructure projects and increased foreign ownership limits in listed companies, the Asean Economic Community (AEC) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

According to an assessment made by the American Chamber of Commerce, Viet Nam ranked second among the AEC members and the first among the TPP members that received more investments after joining the groups,the survey said.

It is expected that Viet Nam will receive more FDI on the back of the AEC’s removal of non-tariff barriers, removal of tariff from more than 90 per cent of the goods currently subject to tariffs, and a reduction in others between now and 2018.

The TPP membership will help Viet Nam to integrate with the global supply chain and also increase its trade volume with major economies such as Japan and the United States.

The survey also found that a majority of participants expected to be “net buyers” rather than “net sellers” in 2016.

In 2015, 222 SOEs were equitised, raising the number of equitised SOEs to 478 for the 2011-15 period. The government aims to equitise about 174 SOEs in the 2016-20 period.

Nevertheless, private equity investors expect more supply from equitisation, and are awaiting “major names” such as Mobifone, Satra, Benthanh Group and EVN, as well as PVN, TKN and Vinachem.

The retail sector and the food and beverage sector are currently considered the two most attractive industries for Price Earnings transactions. They were selected by 51 per cent and 41 per cent of the respondents, respectively.

Viet Nam is being considered to be one of the most promising consumer markets in Asia, benefiting from a large population, rapid growth of per capita income, and increasing urbanisation.

According to A T Kearney, a well-established global consulting firm headquartered in Chicago, the attractiveness of Viet Nam’s retail sector was ranked 28th globally. Though fast-growing in recent years, the sector is in its early development phase, with modern trade channels accounting for just 20 per cent, which is fairly low compared with other regional countries.

The large population with a growing middle class, together with growing urbanisation that will cause changes in shopping habits, will provide solid support to facilitate faster growth rates, expected at CAGR 13 per cent in the 2015-2018 period. This has lured both large international and domestic investors such as Berli Jucker (Thailand), Aeon (Japan) and Vingroup, creating fierce competition in this industry.

With the retail sector opening up for investments, it is expected that there will be more PE transactions in this sector in 2016.

Having key drivers similar to the retail sector, the demand for the food and beverage sector is rising fast. The increase in disposable income levels has caused diversified demand from low-to-high end products, changes in lifestyles, and the habit of drinking and eating out, particularly in major cities. It is expected that during the 2015-2020 period, the growth rates of beverage sub-sectors and packaged/fast food sub-sectors will be in range of seven to 11 per cent and three to nine per cent, respectively.

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Campaign ramps up cybersecurity

Intellectual protection enforcement agencies nationwide have handled 26,004 cases, with imposed fines totalling VND68 billion (US$3 million), according to Tran Minh Dung, chief inspector of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Dung announced the figures yesterday at the launch of the one-month campaign commemorating World Intellectual Property Day.

Vice Minister of Science and Technology (MOST) Tran Viet Thanh speaks at the event. — Photo VNA

Vice Minister of Science and Technology (MOST) Tran Viet Thanh speaks at the event. — Photo VNA

Dung said that according to rough statistics from Task Forces (Program 168) in the term 2012-15, enforcement agencies confiscated and destroyed or removed about 70 tonnes of food; tens of thousands of imported bottles of liquor; nearly 27,000 medicine products; 80,900 fertilisers, and millions of electronic goods, handbags, footwear and clothing, all of which faked trademarks and infringed the rights of genuine industrial property owners. They also confiscated tens of thousands of stampless and illegally-imported CDs and DVDs.

In computer software ownership enforcement alone, Chief Inspector of the Ministry of Culture-Sports-Tourism (MOCST) Vu Xuan Thanh said, “In 2015, MOCST inspectors spot-checked 89 companies for compliance with existing computer software ownership laws in various places nationwide. Inspecting teams examined 3,942 computers and issued fines for civil offenses worth VND2.5 billion.”

As chairman of the one-month campaign’s launch, Vice Minister of Science and Technology (MOST) Tran Viet Thanh said the purpose of the initiative is “press ahead the establishment, application, development and enforcement of IP rights; ensure that IP rights become a useful tool to promote science and technology development, and socioeconomic development as a whole; and create society-wide awareness on the need to observe international agreements related to IP.”

The campaign, lasting from March 31 to April 30, will sponsor educational and training activities, followed by enhanced enforcement activities in the following months, Thanh said.

“Going forward, to stick to Viet Nam’s TPP commitments, we will scan, revise and update our legal framework related to intellectual property, especially in association with patents, trademarks, geographical indications, know-how, copyrights and enforcement of intellectual property rights,” Thanh said.

“Keeping this in mind, the Vietnamese Government and the country’s entire intellectual property right registration and enforcement system are making steps to improve and take to new heights the efficacy of intellectual property right protection and enforcement in Viet Nam.”

Building on the many years of co-operation with Vietnamese governmental bodies, Roland Chan, a senior director of BSA-The Software Alliance, said that over the years, BSA has initiated many awareness campaigns aimed at educating and assisting companies to address their software licensing and management issues.

Roland said the programmes have been successful, but they are now seeing a rise in cybercrime, which transcends borders. Organisations and business owners must be vigilant to protect themselves and their businesses from the growing threats of malware and data theft through the adoption of an effective and efficient software license management practice, Roland said.

The good news is that with effective management of software assets, the risk of a cybersecurity breach is greatly diminished. Part of BSA’s goal in this new campaign is to draw greater awareness of cybersecurity risks that come with the use of unlicensed software.

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Kaspersky Lab, WISeKey launch mobile app to secure users’ data

Kaspersky Lab and Swiss cyber security company WISeKey have launched a special edition of the cyber-resilience app WISeID Kaspersky Lab Security that integrates the best technologies from both companies to offer safety for mobile users’ data.

WISeID Kaspersky Lab Security protects mobile users' personal information from cyber criminals. — VNS Photo

WISeID Kaspersky Lab Security protects mobile users’ personal information from cyber criminals. — VNS Photo

The new app locks personal data such as account usernames and passwords, credit card numbers and access PINs into a secure personal data organiser, creating accountable identities for online activity while the data itself remains protected in a secure cloud vault.

It includes Kaspersky Mobile Security SDK, a robust and proven solution for protecting mobile phones against security threats. Its inclusion delivers advanced security features like web and network protection, device protection and risk detection.

WISeID keeps passwords in an encrypted vault, generates hard-to-crack passwords, and safely synchronises data between computers and devices on multiple platforms using secure cloud storage.

Mobile security threats are increasing in number and sophistication. Though mobile operating systems provide app developers with significant security features, hackers are still able to use many different infection vectors to place malware.

WISeID is available for iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac OSX, Windows, and Kindle.

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VN network security at high risk: experts

Viet Nam is a main target for hackers in the network environment, said Nguyen Van Thinh, deputy head of the Department of Cyber Security under the Ministry of Public Security, at the Security World 2016 conference on Tuesday.

Up to 600 hacker groups attacked Vietnamese e-portals last year, and most of the attacks came from abroad. — Photo genk.vn

Up to 600 hacker groups attacked Vietnamese e-portals last year, and most of the attacks came from abroad. — Photo genk.vn

The event aims to set up security measures, ensure information security for e-Government, propose measures to protect enterprises’ databases and curb data leaks.

Thinh attributed the increasing number of attacks to serious security loopholes that have not been repaired on most electronic websites and information portals.

Up to 600 hacker groups attacked Vietnamese e-portals last year, and most of the attacks came from abroad. Foreign hacker groups continuously attack specific targets with upgraded malware, experts said.

According to Truong Thi Le Thuy, director general of Cisco Viet Nam, hackers are continually developing their technology and strategies, which are becoming more sophisticated in order to steal information, data and money without being detected.

“Network security in Viet Nam is facing an alarming situation, which requires organisations and businesses to urgently find technological solutions to protect themselves from unforeseen security invasions,” Thuy said.

To protect information security in Viet Nam, Thinh suggested solutions including strengthening communications and education to raise awareness on insecurity, as well as writing and enacting provisions and laws to address the problem.

In addition, he also proposed the early promulgation of instructions for the law of cyber information security and international co-operation in the field of information security.

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