|Startups are raising far more funds than in previous years. Photo: BBVA|
The first-quarter report of South Korean venture fund Nextrans showed that investment in startups jumped by 34 per cent on-year to $100 million, with foreign investors being dominant.
However, the number of deals fell 20 per cent to 16. This decrease is quite small compared to the 20 deals in 2020 and 30 deals in 2019. Despite the reduction, the total deal value has increased remarkably by 34 per cent on-year, excluding unannounced deals.
Foreign investors outperformed their local counterparts with nine deals, the report said. The total investment by local actors was under $10 million, while it was $100 million for foreign investors.
Seed funding and Series A investment, the first two stages, remained dominant, accounting for 70 per cent of deals, much higher than in 2020 and 2019.
Fintech once again led with four of the 16 deals, followed by logistics, hospitality, real estate, education, and healthcare.
Vietnam is expected to grow at the fastest rate in Southeast Asia in terms of digital financial services revenue in the next five years, reaching $3.8 billion by 2025, the report said.
The most notable deals in the first quarter were an investment of $2.6 million from a group of investors led by Singaporean venture capital firm Jungle Ventures in electric motorbike brand Dat Bike, and a $1 million investment by investment fund AppWorks in healthcare service booking platform Docosan.
There are around 180 venture funds in Vietnam, including VSV Capital – Vietnam Silicon Valley, Mekong Capital, 500 Startups Vietnam, Vietnam Investment Group, IDG Ventures Vietnam, and Nextrans while others from South Korea and Japan are also looking for opportunities to invest.
By Nguyen Huong
|More and more US-based businesses find Vietnam a good replacement for China|
Hong Kong-based QIMA specialised in providing supply chain compliance solutions has just released a survey of over 700 companies across the globe. Of this, the number of US-based respondents selecting the Southeast Asian country as the leading sourcing location has doubled against four years ago, to 43 per cent in early 2021.
Similarly, 25 per cent of EU companies also listed Vietnam as one of the three leading sourcing markets in this year’s first quarter, down 15 per cent on-year but up 11 per cent against the same period of 2019.
Of all establishments switching to suppliers in new geographic regions last year to avoid COVID-19 impacts, nearly one-third revealed that the 100-million population country is one of their best options. For US-based business, the rate was even higher, at 40 per cent.
QIMA also forecast the trend to continue this year. Of the companies asked for finding new suppliers over the next 12 months, 38 per cent of US-based establishments and 28 per cent of those from the EU stated that they are planning to relocate some sourcing to Vietnam or buy more from current suppliers there. On the other hand, only 6 per cent of US-based brands and 11 per cent of those from the EU were looking for suppliers in China.
Also, US-based respondents showed some signs of dissatisfaction with Chinese sourcing. While one-third of them are planning to purchase more from Chinese suppliers in 2021, almost as many reported plans to completely stop buying from the market.
Nevertheless, words and actions often differ. Pointedly, in the survey, 73 per cent of companies said they had plans to look for new suppliers in 2020 but only 38 per cent were able to follow through on those schemes. For brands headquartered in the US, 93 per cent declared to diversify supply chains in early 2020 but only 49 per cent carried out these plans.
By Huong Anh
The decision, which took immediate effect Wednesday, was taken after the Health Ministry consulted experts on ways to keep the larger community safe, said Minister Nguyen Thanh Long.
The decision has been made after several individuals contracted the virus after they’d already completed the 14-day quarantine and tested negative twice or thrice.
In the past week, at least three such cases have been detected.
The latest decision is the second reversal in as many days. The ministry had said a day earlier that those in centralized quarantine facilities would not be allowed to go home after completing the mandated 14-day quarantine and testing negative twice during the period. It had not specified the new duration.
Then, it reversed the decision earlier today, saying the original 14-day quarantine period will remain with strengthened post-quarantine monitoring and restrictions.
Minister Long has urged concerned facilities to impose quarantine procedures strictly to prevent contagion. A person who has completed the 21-day quarantine needs to be supervised for the next seven days at home, he said.
He also asked localities to find and conduct random tests for foreigners who have entered Vietnam recently, as well as employees of bars, karaoke and massage parlors.
Vietnam has confirmed 38 new local Covid-19 cases since April 27 in the latest outbreak, the northern provinces of Ha Nam and Vinh Phuc leading with 14 cases each, followed by Hanoi with four.
Six years later, in summer 2019, I returned to Copenhagen to visit Jorgen Nilsson and his wife Ulla-Stina, my old friends. Jorgen picked me up at Frederiksberg metro station. He welcomed me with open arms: “Hello Little Na, welcome home!”
I rushed to hug him with a heart full of dear feelings. Jorgen and his wife call me Na, a nickname that my parents and close friends often call me. For them, I am always a little Na.
I first met the old couple more than a decade ago in Hanoi while they were visiting the Temple of Literature, as Vietnamese Poetry Day was taking place. They bought my poetry collection ‘ Nhung Chiec Gai Trong Mo’ (Thorns in Dreams) at a bookstore there. When they heard that the author of the collection was attending the Poetry Day at the Temple, they wanted to meet me. It was poetry that brought us together.
Their three-bedroom apartment is located on the fourth floor of an old house without an elevator in Pile Allé Street. The house faces the street and its back opens onto a spacious courtyard, with flower gardens and fruit-laden trees.
My visit was made when Ulla turned 80 and Jorgen was 86. On Sunday, August 25, their daughters, Mette and Lotte, hosted a joint birthday party for them, with around 20 guests. That was the reason I went to Copenhagen at that time.
My room in the house had a window overlooking Frederiksberg park and the Royal Danish Summer Castle. On the chair, Ulla prepared towels and a nightdress robe for me. On the table, she placed a book entitled “Tales from Moominvalley” by Tove Jansson – a famous Finnish female writer, a family album, a map of Copenhagen and an old postcard. I realised that it was the postcard I sent to Jorgen on his birthday in 2014.
In the family album, I saw a lot of my photos, which I had emailed to them over the previous years. The couple printed them and placed them next to the pictures of their own family members. They even noted down the dates of the photos in the way many parents do. My eyes were suddenly stinging but my heart was comforted. I felt relaxed and peaceful. After a long journey, I realised that I will always have a place to live in the bosom of their house.
During my stay with the Nilssons, I cooked some popular Vietnamese dishes such as fried spring roll, ‘ bun cha ’ (noodle with grilled pork), salads of vegetables and dried beef, steamed spring roll, and chicken ‘ pho’ . My hosts were impressed with the fresh and savoury tastes, particularly the sweet and sour sauce, in the Vietnamese dishes.
One day I decided to make ‘bun bo Nam Bo’ (beef noodle without broth). Literally, ‘bun bo Nam Bo ’ means southern-styled beef noodle, but someone told me that it was created by a Hanoian woman dozens of years ago. She opened a restaurant on Nam Bo (now Le Duan) Street in Hanoi, serving noodles with grilled beef, herbs, sweet and sour sauce, and pickled green papaya. Whether from the North or the South, ‘bun bo Nam Bo’ is still one of the most favoured Vietnamese dishes of people outside the country’s borders.
Jorgen Nilsson and Ulla-Stina enjoy ‘bun bo Nam Bo’, cooked by Vietnamese poet Nguyen Bao Chan during her stay with their family in 2019. (Photo: Nguyen Bao Chan)
On that morning, I joined Ulla in a walk along Vesterbrogade, a busy shopping street where we could find the ingredients needed to cook ‘bun bo Nam Bo’ . Ulla asked me whether the dish was only served on special occasions as she found that it required a lot of ingredients and took a lot of time to cook. She was surprised to know that it was just a normal daily dish in Vietnam, she surely has her respect heightened for the patience of Vietnamese women.
To cook ‘ bun bo Nam Bo’, I first thinly sliced beef, then well seasoned it with oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar, pepper, and finely chopped garlic and lemongrass. The beef was stir-fried on a high heat until it was just about done.
I also fried shallots, roasted peanuts, and pickled green papaya, carrots, and lettuce with vinegar, sugar and chilli.
The making of the sauce is vital as it is the soul of the dish. Without the exact measurements, I often mix fish sauce, sugar, vinegar in a sufficient amount of warm water and taste it until they incorporate well together, as the balance can depend on the brands of fish sauce and vinegar. Finally, I add pepper, garlic and some drops of fresh lime to finish the sauce.
I didn’t put all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix them together as is often served at restaurants. Instead, I placed each ingredient in a separate dish so that the diners could mix them by themselves in their own bowls. As it is a beef dish, Jorgen opened a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. The astringent wine mixed well with the ingredients of ‘ bun bo Nam Bo’ , creating an interesting taste.
We enjoyed a cosy dinner full of laughers and tears. I felt like I was at home and Nisson couple were my own parents. I recited to them a Vietnamese folk verse, which literally means “Whoever experiences sweetness and sourness in life together, please don’t forget each other.” They were touched and held my hands. “Na, you are like our third daughter. Thank you for this delicious meal, and thank you for coming back to us,” Ulla told me.
Despite drinking quite a lot during the dinner, I got up very early the next morning. I opened the window and heard the birds chirping from the trees at the park. The air was cold and pure. Looking down, Pile Allé Street was still quiet. The city was waking up. The sky was blushing as the first sunlight began to lighten up the intersection between Vesterbrogade and Pile Allé, gently covering the city with a dreamy golden glow. A new day had come.
I heard Jorgen making coffee in the kitchen. Then the sound of Ulla softly walking toward my room. She knocked on the door and called me in her gentle tone: “Na, let’s get up for breakfast!” – “Yes, I’m up right now,” I replied.
The aroma of coffee and bread filled the air. This city has become so familiar to me! Here the Nilssons gave me a home and a warm kitchen, where I can return any time.
Sydney (VNA) – The Vietnam Trade Office in Australia has said it has taken measures to protect Vietnamese rice trademarks after an Australia n firm registered for trademark protection of rice varieties ST24 and ST25.
Nguyen Phu Hoa, head of Vietnam Trade Office in Australia, said T&L Global Foods Supply Pty Ltd has sought to register the “Rice; Best Rice of the World” trademarks for the two varieties.
Both rice varieties ST24 and ST25 were developed in Vietnam by farmer-scientist Ho Quang Cua and his colleagues and have won international prizes.
The office has spoken with Cua about coordinating action and being actively engaged in discussions with leaders of T&L Global Foods Supply, which said it would check the matter with its brand unit.
The agency has also sent documents and photos to IP Australia to clarify that the ST24 and ST25 rice varieties were developed by Cua and a team of Vietnamese scientists, and have been granted patents in Vietnam.
It has asked IP Australia to consider the matter and to avoid possible disputes that could affect ST24 and ST25 rice exports from Vietnam to Australia.
Vietnam is also meeting with lawyers in Australia to prepare the necessary steps in line with IP Australia’s regulations, Hoa told the Vietnam News Agency (VNA).
He suggested Cua step up completing procedures to join in addressing the case and protecting the trademark.
Do Gia Thang, Director of Nguyen Do Lawyers in Australia, said it takes three to four months to carry out checks on a patent registration.
If an application meets all the requirements, the IP agency will issue a notice accepting the trademark and disclose the decision, he said, adding that the trademark, however, still has to wait for another year before the decision officially comes into force.
This is not the first time ST24 and ST25 rice have lost their trademark protection rights in foreign countries, as there were certain applications made to register ST25 in the US previously.
Vietnam exported rice worth 4.7 million USD to Australia in the first quarter of this year, a year-on-year increase of 66 percent./.