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Vietnamese firms strive to access foreign distribution channels    
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Vietnamese firms strive to access foreign distribution channels A booth at the Vietnam-Hanoi Goods Week 2017 at an AEON Mall in Japan (Source: AEON Vietnam)
May 23 2018

Along with ensuring quality and safety, Vietnamese firms should make their products’ price suitable and meet customers’ demands to sell in foreign distribution channels, said Naohisa Saeki, AEON Vietnam’s Deputy General Manager.

Last week, Vietnamese products were for the first time sold in the Japanese-owned supermarket AEON Mall in Ho Chi Minh City during a “Vietnamese Products Week”, which ran from May 12-18. 

The event aimed to promote the export of Vietnamese products through the distribution channel.

The 140 products introduced at the event included processed food, farm produce, organic products, consumer goods, handicrafts and gifts produced by 16 Vietnamese enterprises, many of which have engaged in programmes to stabilise food and foodstuff prices of Ho Chi Minh City.

Naohisa Saeki said the supermarket has recognised that many Vietnamese enterprises are capable of becoming its suppliers.

He said the most important requirement of AEON is safety. He added that to sell Vietnamese products abroad, domestic firms should enhance their products’ quality and meet all international standards, while ensuring completing orders on time.

In October 2017, the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre also held a programme to introduce Vietnamese products to AEON. Following the event, 23 enterprises became suppliers of the retailer.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, since early 2000, the Vietnamese retail market has attracted many foreign investors, with pioneers including Metro of Germany and Bourbon of France. This has given chances for Vietnamese firms to access foreign distributors in Vietnam instead of exporting their products through an importer.

With the ratio of direct exporting of Vietnamese products abroad, especially wooden products, garment, leather and footwear, low in both revenue and volume, the ministry started working to connect foreign distributors in Vietnam and domestic firms.

The activities benefited both Vietnamese firms and foreign distributors, as Vietnamese firms better understood the demand of customers and learnt modern management methods, while distributors had more diverse and quality products. Both sides enjoyed higher profits due to cutting intermediary costs.

Since it was first held in 2011 in Casino supermarket chain in France, Vietnamese Products Week abroad have been held in many retail chains, including Metro, Carrefour and Segos of France, Lotte, Emart of the Republic of Korea, AEON of Japan and Central Group of Thailand.

Shiotani Yuichiro, General Director of AEON Topvalu said that in 2016, AEON imported US$200 million worth of goods from Vietnam to sell in its supermarket. In 2018, AEON will continue hosting Vietnamese Products’ Week in July and September, creating chances for enterprises to seek partnerships.

Since 2015, Lotte Mart Vietnam has also used Vietnamese firms as suppliers. In 2016, Lotte Mart imported VND1.3 trillion (US$57.2 million) worth of Vietnamese goods. Its supermarket chains in Indonesia and China alone bought about 100 billion VND of Vietnamese goods. The most popular productd of Vietnam included aquatic products, garments, and consumer goods.

In 2017, Lotte Mart spent more than VND 2 trillion for Vietnamese goods, mostly farm produce, fresh products and consumer goods with high quality and reasonable prices. The distributor is seeking new suppliers from Vietnam.

In 2018, the Ministry of Industry and Trade will hold a number of conferences to train Vietnamese firms to enhance their competitiveness and capacity in accessing foreign distributors.

The events are hoped to connect domestic firms with foreign distributors, helping the firm learn of the requirements and demands of the partners.

At the same time, the ministry will also encourage FDI distributors to transfer technology and improve capacity for domestic enterprises, thus helping them join supply chains in other countries. - VNA