Visa on arrival Vietnam / Visa exemption to lure more local tourists to Myanmar.
Travel enterprises expect that the visa exemption agreement for ordinary passport holders signed between Vietnam and Myanmar will help attract more Vietnamese tourists to the peer ASEAN nation in the future.
Under the agreement, citizens of both countries who hold ordinary passports valid for at least six months beyond the date of arrival will not require visas for stays up to 14 days. The decision will take effect from October 26.
The visa exemption will help local travelers save US$30 for visa application fees and save them the time-consuming process of waiting for visa procedures. Currently, visitors in HCMC have to send their passports to Hanoi for visa applications and wait for four to five days, the enterprises said.
The visa exemption will facilitate travel, investment and trade as Myanmar is the only nation in ASEAN that grants visas at the embassy in Hanoi City only, said Vo Anh Tai, general director of Saigontourist Travel Service Company.
Saigontourist has seen more local travelers heading to Myanmar. Last month, the enterprise sent three groups and the figure may increase when Myanmar’s rainy season is over.
Fiditour Company has also organized four or five trips to Myanmar every month. In early 2012, Fiditour signed a tourist exchange agreement with Myanmar Tourism Service Company to develop the market.
This has resulted in the number of tourists increasing by 20%. The market will rise further as local enterprises are keen to explore the new market while many others want to reach the country for pilgrimages or sightseeing.
Tu Quy Thanh, director of Lien Bang Travelink Company, said that the company organizes a trip to Myanmar every month, mainly for those who seek investment and business opportunities in
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However, Thanh said tour prices to Myanmar are rather high compared to other regional countries, ranging from VND16-18 million for a five-day trip. There are only three direct flights between HCMC and Yangon per week, so many people in the city have to travel from HCMC to Hanoi City to fly to Yangon if they want to travel on other days.
Tycoons fall hard due to securities investment
The stock market is no longer a chicken that lays golden eggs for securities tycoons in Viet Nam, with many incurring heavy losses and others being forced out of the market or even prosecuted for securities fraud.
On Wednesday, shareholders of Au Viet Securities Company (AVS) agreed to dissolve the business after six years of operations, selling assets and canceling all of its listing on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange.
The company's equity by the end of last year totalled VND216 billion (US$10.3 million) while their income still reached VND161 billion ($7.7 million), enough to pay shareholders VND4,500 on each share of holdings, a sum nearly equivalent to the share price on the stock market.
According to the chairman of the company Doan Duc Vinh, he and other executives struggled long and hard with the decision to close the business.
He said they used their experiences in the securities and financial markets to analyse the macro economic situation and review the investment strategy of the company, and this had shown that cutting their losses was the only viable option.
AVS are far from the only company to be suffering on the stock market. Many others have also struggled and been forced to reduce their activities (either by removing brokerage services or terminating their membership on the two stock exchanges). These include CLS, Sao Viet, Lien Viet, An Phat and Dong Duong.
However, while some can make a soft landing, others must accept heavy losses which bring them to the verge of bankruptcy or even prosecution.
Sacombank Securities (SBS), a financial arm of Sacombank, fell from a position of dominance on the market two years ago with a capital size of VND1 trillion ($47.6 million) and is now heavily indebted, with a negative equity capital of VND250 billion ($11.9 million).
Although the company showed determination to restructure, it is still facing the risk of a mandatory delisting. To make the situation even worse, all of the firm's leaders withdrew from their positions at the same time on Thursday, creating chaos at the top.
SBS shares are now trading for less than VND1,000 ($0.05) on the bourse.
SME Securities (SME) is in a similar situation. Some years ago it was a big company with large capital and advanced technology. However it was forced to delist shares in October 2012 due to prolonged losses. Its leader was later prosecuted for fraud involving asset appropriation.
According to market insiders, there are too many securities companies operating in the relatively small market of Viet Nam (the number stands at over 100) and it is inevitable that only the strongest ones can survive, especially during the market's restructuring process.
FPT enjoy 5 per cent leap in profits this year
Software giant FPT posted a revenue of VND3.5 trillion –a 5 per cent increase – in the first two months of this year.
pre-tax profit reached VND326 billion, achieving 100 per cent of its two-month plan. Its after-tax profit stood at VND270 billion.
Shareholders are due to meet in Ha Noi early next month.
FPT Telecom is recognised as one of the top 10 service providers in telecoms and television in Viet Nam.
Giant electronics plant under construction
Construction has started on an electronics accessories manufacturing plant in northern Thai Nguyen City, 70km northwest of Ha Noi.
The plant, Glonics Vietnam backed by covers more than 6ha, with a total investment capital of US$10 million.
It will specialise in producing electronic parts for cell phones and LCD TV, with a production capacity of 500 million products a year.
When finished this November, the facility will create 5,000-10,000 jobs.
Long-awaited security software makes debut
CMC InfoSec of Viet Nam has announced this week its CMC Mobile Security for Windows Phone and iOS after a year of launching security software for the Androi system.
So far, CMC has launched three security software systems for Android, iOS and Windows Phone, aimed to enhance the security capacity of most smartphones.
HCM City launches mobile innovation contest
Registrations are being taken for a contest to choose the best developers of mobile applications from Southeast Asia.
Organised by the HCM City Department of Information and Communication in co-ordination with mLab East Asia and the World Bank's Information for Development Programme, the Mobile Innovation Challenge 2013 aims to contribute to the growth of the mobile-applications sector. It will also provide opportunities for the mobile-applications community to realise innovative ideas and meet investors.
The last day for submission is April 14. Awards