News on 9 September 2016


1) Vietnam's 'Silicon Valley' sparks startup boom

Recent Vietnamese graduate looking for an English-language teacher? There's an app for that. Or hunting the best bowl of pho in your Hanoi neighbourhood? There's now an app for that, too.

A decade ago such technology would likely have been developed in California's Silicon Valley. But today those apps are being churned out by Vietnam's startup sector -- an industry driven by local techies trained overseas but returning home to prowl for opportunities.

The sector's growth in a young tech-hungry nation has caught the eye of foreign firms -- President Francois Hollande on Wednesday visited French tech firm Linkbynet in Ho Chi Minh City, the country's startup hub.

Much of the technology, which also includes popular mobile games and e-commerce software, is being produced for local consumers in Vietnam, where the median age is 30 and internet connectivity is rapidly expanding.

"The local market is large, young, fast-growing, and not fully tapped," said Eddie Thai of 500 Startups, a venture with a $10 million pot -- mostly of foreign cash -- to splurge on tech enterprises for Vietnamese users or made by local developers.

US-born Thai, 31, whose parents left during the Vietnam War, belongs to a vanguard of entrepreneurs who have arrived to offer expertise in the country, where Intel and Samsung already have a foothold in the hardware industry.

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2) Ho Chi Minh City losing 28 percent of tap water through leaks

Ho Chi Minh City is losing more than a quarter of its tap water through pipe leaks and ruptures, which translates to a loss of more than US$130,000 every day.

Figures from Saigon Water Corporation (Sawaco) showed that the ratio of leaked water has been reduced from 41 percent seven years ago to 28 percent now. That is still 556,000 cubic meters of clean water going to waste.

The company plans to improve leakage control and bring the rate down to 25 percent by 2020, its representatives said at a meeting Wednesday.

In comparison, the ratio in the neighboring Binh Duong Province is 8 percent. Deputy CEO of Sawaco Bui Thanh Giang said it is short of fund to replace the pipeline system, which has become old and broken at many parts.

Around 150 kilometers of water pipes, or half of the system in the city downtown, have been in use as long as 80 years.

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3) First international cruise ship calls at Cam Ranh International Port

The first high-class international cruise ship has moored in Cam Ranh International Port. Most of the passengers are from China and Korea. They were taken to beauty spots in Nha Trang such as Long Son Pagoda, Ponagar Temple, Chong Rock and commercial centers.

Legend of the Seas is a big-sized cruise ship with a load of 5,200 tons, 264 meters in length, 32 meters in width and 50 meters in height.

According to Deputy director of Cam Ranh International Port Vu Anh Tuan, the port can receive ships up to 110,000 tons. Beside operating tours for passengers, the port supplies many maritime services like necessities, fuels, etc.

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4) Deputy PM urges stricter enforcement of traffic regulations

Hanoi — Deputy Prime Minister Trưong Hòa Bình has asked localities and agencies to strictly enforce traffic regulations, particularly government Decree 46, to cut down on traffic accidents.

Bình made the request at a meeting to review traffic safety in the first eight months of this year, held by the National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC) yesterday.

Việt Nam recorded 13,612 traffic accidents, 5,728 deaths and 11,781 injuries in the first eight months of this year, according to Khuất Việt Hùng, deputy chief of NTSC.

Compared to 2015, the figures have fallen by 6.9 per cent, 1.6 per cent and 18.5 per cent, respectively.

Drinking while driving was the main cause of traffic accidents and authorised agencies failed to check whether the drivers were under the influence of alcohol, the NTSC said In August, 1,760 traffic accidents occurred nationwide, leaving 705 dead and 1,495 injured, a year-on-year increase of 7.8 per cent in the number of deaths.

Participants at the meeting blamed the rise in traffic accidents in August on loose management of transport services, transport infrastructure and mainland and waterway transport.

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