Channel NewsAsia eager to open Vietnam bureau

May 26, 2014 | 15:55
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Regional broadcaster Channel NewsAsia will open a Vietnam bureau this year to improve its coverage of the Indochina region, especially the country, which is Apple’s fastest growing market currently.

Announcing the move during the broadcaster’s Vietnam Business Insights event in Ho Chi Minh City on May 22, its managing director Debra Soon said the channel was working on a government permit, which means the opening date and the office location in the city are still unknown.

The new office will be the channel’s 14th in Asia following the launch of the Yangon bureau this January in Myanmar.

“Do you know that Apple is experiencing a sales boom here? Well, probably across most of Asia, but Vietnam is five times ahead of India. You are Apple’s fastest growing market, driven by a consumer boom amongst young people, to be connected and global.”

She continued her explanations, “Facebook is also benefiting from this boom. With 8.5 million users in 2012, this number more than doubled to 20 million in January this year, with one million added each month.”

Soon announced the new bureau would allow the channel to more closely follow the country’s economic developments and business news. “We want to be able to tell the story of Vietnam’s growth and development, its challenges and people from the ground, from here, and not via reports from others. This will enable us to report with depth and integrity. We’ll be able to help Vietnam make connections with the rest of Asia.”

She added Vietnam, particularly Ho Chi Minh City, was a rapidly-growing and vibrant business hub. Regarding recent demonstrations against China’s stationing an oil rig in Vietnamese territorial waters, she said: “My team was concerned when the recent unrests were first reported. As a former journalist, my instincts are usually to dive straight into a situation and to go for it. As I understand it, many of the businessmen here today just returned to Ho Chi Minh City. The situation has stabilised somewhat, and I’m sure our presence here with you gives added confidence to the situation in Vietnam.”

Delegates at Vietnam Business Insights shared views on redefining sustainable business growth for Vietnam, with a look at how the transformation of state-owned enterprises and the private sector need to drive growth in the country.

Ho Chi Minh City Securities Corp. CEO Johan Nyvene, a panel speaker, said Vietnam had re-emerged from global economic challenges and had rewarded savvy investors with good opportunities. Leading Vietnamese economist Dr Le Dang Doanh noted the strong economic outlook for the country, with international financial institutions forecasting a stable annual GDP growth rate at 5.6 – 5.7 per cent in the coming years. But he said there remained challenges. Meanwhile, Warrick Cleine CEO of KPMG Vietnam and Cambodia, said sustainable growth would not occur without a robust corporate sector. “There’s a real need for local companies to step up their service levels to be competitive,” he said.

Addressing the forum, Vietnamese Deputy Minister for Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong said, “For 2014 and the following years, we had set our priority as to stabilise the macro economy, curb inflation and better deal with difficulties in production and business. Our GDP target for this year is 5.8 per cent, with an export value increase of 10 per cent and the CPI rate is about 7 per cent.” 

By By Tuong Thuy

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