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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 14/1   2009-01-14 - VNA, TN

Viettel boasts over 150,000 mobile phone subscribers abroad

The military-run telecom service provider, Viettel, on Jan. 13 said it has so far attracted over 150,000 mobile phone subscribers in Cambodia and Laos .

The company registered more than 100,000 mobile phone subscribers in Cambodia and 50,000 others in Laos , after only two months entering these two neighbouring markets.

It has also completed procedures for opening its representative offices in Myanmar , and plans to invest in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , Cuba and Venezuela .

Viettel, which made debut in 2004, now is leading Vietnam with some 25 million subscribers. It provides mobile phone, fixed line telephone, wireless fixed telephone and internet services.

It was ranked 83rd among the 100 biggest telecom companies in the world with a total brand value of 536 million USD, according to Informa PLC, a world leading statistics provider.

Meanwhile, Wireless Intelligence, a global database of mobile market information, also ranked the company the 41st biggest telco in terms of the number of subscribers among 650 telecom companies worldwide.

Thai businesses seek investment opportunities in Lao Cai

A delegation from the Thai Board of Investment (BOI), led by the Acting Director of BOI’s Investment Development Assistance Bureau Songsak Limbanyen, visited the northern province of Lao Cai on Jan. 13 to seek business opportunities.

During a working session with representatives of the provincial authorities, the delegation received information regarding the potential offered by the province in areas including agriculture, industry, and trade and tourism.

The delegation also made enquiries regarding provincial preferential policies in Lao Cai’s key economic zones, such as the Kim Thanh trade zone, among others in the area. The Thai businessmen paid particular attention to the investment opportunities offered by Sa Pa town, one of the country’s key tourist destinations.

The Thai businesses expect to invest in the construction of Lao Cai’s urban infrastructure, Limbanyen added.

BIDV, IBM Vietnam sign strategic cooperation agreement

IBM Vietnam is to assist the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) in developing its IT systems, reviewing its business model and implementing its strategic plans.

An agreement to this effect was signed by representatives from IBM Vietnam and BIDV in Hanoi on January 13, with the aim of uniting through strategic cooperation to develop state-of-the-art IT solutions and to train IT professionals for BIDV.

By signing this agreement, IBM will become BIDV’s major supplier of technology and integrated solutions, as well as IT services and products.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, BIDV’s President Tran Bac Ha affirmed that BIDV will continue to invest in IT and make full use of all available technology in order to become Vietnam ’s leading banking organisations and one of the most modern technological financial groups in Southeast Asia .

IBM Vietnam’s General Director Vo Tan Long said he believed that the strategic agreement represents a step forward in terms of cooperation with BIDV.

Health ministry encourages foreign drug companies

Vietnam has taken steps to ensure an open, fair and transparent environment for foreign pharmaceutical companies to do business in Vietnam , said Deputy Minister of Health Cao Minh Quang.

At a discussion between the Healthy Ministry and foreign pharmaceutical businesses in Hanoi on January 13 he also fielded questions and provided information on Vietnam ’s legal framework related to the pharmaceuticals industry.

The discussion included a chance for participants to ask about clinical trials of new medicines, Vietnam ’s WTO commitments and what can be expected in the coming time, among other issues.

The Ministry also announced that as of January 1, foreign and foreign-owned businesses without a trade presence in Vietnam may import but not distribute pharmaceutical products.

Vietnam welcomes the participation of all economic sectors in the production, trade and distribution of medicine, the Ministry said.

It also highlighted that international cooperation will be utilized in ridding the country of fake, low-quality and non-origin medicine.

Also, price structure changes will be made public in every phase, which will help the industry achieve its economic, medical and social objectives.

The Ministry also said it encourages foreign investment into the production of medicine from local materials and ingredients.

In 2008, Vietnam spent more than 1.4 billion USD on pharmaceuticals, a 25 percent increase against 2007 and half of which were locally produced.

Saigonbank aims to raise $27.4 million in share sale

Saigon Bank for Industry and Trade Joint Stock Co. plans to raise VND480 billion (US$27.4 million) from a share sale in February to expand operations, the Ho Chi Minh City-based lender said in a statement last week.

Saigonbank plans to sell 48 million additional shares with an offer of VND10,000 from February 2 to February 25, the statement posted on its website said.

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