According to Nguyen Thanh Son, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, there are 4 million Vietnamese people living in 103 countries and territories. The Overseas Vietnamese Business Association has got 200 members from different countries in the world. Vietnamese sell Chinese goods
The four million overseas Vietnamese could have been the important distributors of Vietnamese goods in the world market. However, in fact, the goods that the Vietnamese business community distributes are mostly Chinese, Thai, Turkish and South Korean, not Vietnamese.
Having returned to Vietnam when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs opened a forum on the cooperation between Viet Kieu and domestic businessmen to boost export, Pham Ngoc Chu, Chair of the Vietnamese Business Association in Hungary, who is also chair of a big supermarket group, frankly said that Vietnamese manufacturers still cannot penetrate the European market, because they do not understand the taste of the European customers and they lack a methodical export strategy.
Official statistics show that 2000 containers are carried to thousands of trade centers in Moscow, Berlin, Praha, Kiev and Kharkov. However, most of them are the goods from China, Thailand and South Korea.
“We do not sell Vietnamese goods not because we do not love Vietnamese goods. The problem is that it is very difficult to sell Vietnamese goods,” he said.
According to Chu, Chinese businessmen mostly offer to sell simple handicrafts which have short life circle and can be consumed in big quantities, such as gloves and towels. Meanwhile, at the exhibitions of Vietnamese goods, Chu only can see painstaking, durable and expensive products which are not in high demand.
“Vietnam made handicrafts are very beautiful and meticulous, such as stone flower vase, wood carved statures, lacquer ware and embroideries. However, if European consumers buy these products, they will not think of buying the products for the second time until many years later,” Chu noted.
“There are the lacquer paintings of leader’s portraits. I know that the products show the national cultural character. However, it is very difficult to sell them. If lucky, we would find only one buyer in every one million people,” he added. “If Vietnamese manufacturers ignore the market rules and cannot choose the suitable market segments, they would not succeed.”
Also according to Chu, in long term, Vietnamese enterprises should sell their goods themselves and build their brands in the European market, while they should not do this through any intermediaries, because selling goods through intermediaries does not allow them to cement their firm positions on the market. Especially, in many cases, their brands could be stolen. Domestic manufacturers should join hands with Viet Kieu
When Vietnamese businessmen go abroad, they can cooperate with the branches of Viet Kieu’s businesses in the countries. “We are glad to welcome Vietnamese fellow-countrymen to the US and we are ready to give advices, because we well understand the market,” said Bui Tuan Linh from the Viet Kieu Businessmen Association in the US.
Nguyen Trung Thuc, chair of the Vietnam-Germany Small and Medium Enterprises’ Association has also urged Vietnamese businesses to cooperate with Viet Kieu businessmen. He said that Viet Kieu, who has good trade relations with local consumers and enterprises, could serve as the “most effective trade promotion officers” for Vietnamese goods.
According to To Hoai Nam, Deputy Chair of the Vietnam Small and Medium Enterprises’ Association, it is estimated that 42,000 small and medium enterprises export goods abroad, accounting for seven percent of the total registered businesses.
Nam said the cooperation with Viet Kieu businessmen would pave the way for Vietnamese businesses to better penetrate foreign markets, because Viet Kieu businessmen well understand the culture and the taste of local consumers. Pham Huyen