E-commerce now a useful weapon
Economists all said that Vietnam witnessed the very rapid spread of the online sales channels in 2011. A survey conducted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) on 2004 domestic enterprises, showed that nearly 100 percent of businesses utilized e-commerce at different scales and levels. 70 percent of businesses said that online sales amounted to 33 percent of the total sales.
Tran Dinh Toan, Deputy General Director of OSB, the representative of Alibaba.com in Vietnam, a B2B website with 24 million members worldwide and 180,000 members in Vietnam, has noted that besides small businesses, which develop online sales to save costs, more and bigger enterprises have tried e-commerce.
MOIT has cited some well known names such as Tan Hiep Phat, Dong A Plastics, Hapro, Cadisun, Hoa Phat and Viglacera have been developing e-commerce. Tan Hiep Phat, for example, has been not only trying to consolidate its leading position on the domestic market with 2 billion liters of drinks sold per year, which is even higher than that of Coca Cola, Pepsi or Nestle, but also to access foreign consumers through e-commerce.
“We receive 150 inquiries a month on average from all over the world through e-commerce channel such as Alibaba.com,” said Vo Thu Nha, a senior executive of Tan Hiep Phat Group. Meanwhile, Dong A Plastics said it gets 40 inquiries a week through the channel.
“This is now for the second consecutive year we introduce our products on websites. We have received a lot of information inquiries from foreign importers through the channel,” said Dang Hoai Thuong from Huu Nghi Company.
A lot of sweets companies have said the orders from Thailand and Japan have been obtained from the online advertisements. Huu Nghi signed contracts worth 20,000 dollars thanks to the online channel. Huu Nghi is now the member of many e-commerce channels, and is the golden member of a website with the annual fee of up to 3000 dollars
A representative of Trung Thanh Group has also said it has signed a contract on exporting spices to South Korea, while new markets including the US and the Middle East have shown their interests.
Will B2B websites still develop strongly in 2012?
In the past, big enterprises only focused on seeking clients through traditional channels, such as trade fairs and exhibitions, with the support of Vietnamese officers at embassies, through the third parties or loyal relationships. However, the traditional channels have become too costly, unfavorable and unsuitable to the new circumstances, where businesses need to save every dong to cut down expenses and compete with rivals.
In the global financial crisis, not only small businesses, but big ones also have to narrow their scale and cut down expenses by trying to approach clients through e-commerce in general and B2B in particular.
According to Dang Quang Vu, Head of Import-export division of Hapro which specializes in exporting handicrafts to the US, Japan and Europe, in the past, the company mostly sought clients at big trade fairs. However, recently, Hapro has lost some clients in the stiff competition, which has forced Hapro to use e-commerce to obtain more business advantages.
Vu said that e-commerce is now an important sale channel for the survival of the company.
When asked about the new tendencies of e-commerce in Vietnam in 2012, Tran Dinh Toan said besides the consumer-oriented e-commerce models such as B2C and C2C, or Groupon which have been developing very rapidly, the B2B model, especially cross-border B2B would also grow strongly, since big enterprises are now trying to seek opportunities from foreign countries.
Source: VnExpress, Buu Dien