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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 12/11   2008-11-12 - VNA

Experts talk promotion of Vietnamese brands

Domestic and international experts on brand development and representatives of over 150 HCM City-based businesses attended a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on Nov. 12 to discuss what makes a national brand and how to promote it.

At the event, which was co-organised by Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency and Sai Gon Entreprenuers Club, experts shared experiences and talked about creativeness in brand name values, maintenance and development of brands in the face of globalisation and brand booming, and related issues.

The National Brand Council has chosen quality, renovation and leadership competence as the three values of Vietnam ’s national brands, said Do Thang Hai, director of the Trade Promotion Agency.

National image building should be high on agenda of every nation under the conditions of globalisation, Hai said.

Participants at the workshop pointed out that business leaders should attach importance to brand name development and encourage the building of an innovative culture in their enterprises.

MobiFone launches Fast Connect service

Vietnam ’s mobile phone network MobiFone officially launched the Fast Connect service on November 12.

The service will help its customers connect to Internet and send their SMS messages from computer anywhere covered by the MobiFone network.

At a press briefing introducing the new sercvice, Director of MobiFone’s Charge and Marketing Department Dinh Viet Hung said that the MobiFone network has covered 98 percent of aprovinces and cities across the country. That also means, the Fast Connect service is very handy for customers, Hung said.

The success of the Fast Connect service will facilitate the company to futher provide other services, he added.

With the current Fast Connect service package, customers will pay only 1,990,000 VND as service and subscription charges for 12 months, getting a discount of 50%.

MobiFone plans to offer more charge packages of the Fast Connect service to meet customer needs, such as prepaid package, postpaid package and other SMS services.

ESince established in 1993, MobiFone has become the most favourite mobile phone network in Vietnam with almost 25 million subscribers so far.

The MobiFone is striving to have 10.000 base stations and 30 million subscribers by the year-end.

Egyptians sipping Vietnamese tea

Egyptian businesses forecast that Vietnamese tea could soon have a foothold in their market.

Egypt is one of the world’s largest tea importers with an annual demand of roughly 75,000 tonnes of tea, mainly black.

Vietnamese tea exporters have a major opportunity to export to Egypt , a country with a population of 80 million, said Sobhy Ashoosh, director of Egypt ’s Nile International Company, which specialises in tea imports.

The Vietnamese commercial counsellor to Egypt , Dang Ngoc Quang, also believes that Vietnamese tea could successfully compete against other players in the country, as Egyptian customers have similar tastes to those in Iraq and Morocco where Vietnamese tea already enjoys a firm foothold.

Quang said it is advantageous to export tea to the Egyptian market because its government had given priority to tea imports, including simple customs procedures for the popular beverage. The tax rate for tea is a benefit as well, at 2 percent for imports.

To gain a foothold in the market, Egyptian businesses recommend that tea exporters focus on marketing their products, as consumers currently don’t have much information about Vietnamese tea.

In order to introduce Egyptian customers to Vietnamese tea, exporters should move step-by-step, starting with an introduction of their products. Exporters should set up a showroom in Cairo and to facilitate direct transactions with Egyptian importers, said Ashoosh.

The Chairman of the Egypt Chamber of Commerce, Alaa Ezz, recommends that Vietnamese businesses join hands with Egyptian businesses in tea processing and packaging. He believes the cooperation would help Vietnamese tea to meet the taste and quality demands of Egyptian customers at competitive prices.

However, quality over prices is the decisive factor to successfully compete in the Egyptian tea market, said Ezz.

Quang suggested that along with fact-finding trips by Vietnamese tea companies to Egypt, it is also important to encourage Egyptian importers to come to take part in international fairs and expos in Vietnam.

Egypt currently has around 30-40 tea importers and traders.

President highlights Japanese investors’ roles in Vietnam

State President Nguyen Minh Triet hailed the contributions of Japanese economic groups and organisations to the development of Vietnam ’s economy.

Receiving the President and CEO of the Sumitomo group, Kato Susumu, in Hanoi on Nov. 11, President Triet held up the Sumitomo group, the Japan Federation of Economic Organisations (Nippon Keidanren) and the Japan External Trade Organistion (JETRO) as typical examples of Japanese organisations who have made positive contributions to the nation’s economy.

The Vietnamese State and Government are interested in implementing large-scale Japanese-backed projects in Vietnam and hope that Japanese investors will focus their attention on developing Vietnam ’s transport infrastructure, he said.

President Triet expressed his wish that, with their strengths lying in economic potential, sci-tech and management skills, Japanese investors will help boost Vietnam-Japan cooperation in moving towards the efficient implementation of a strategic partnership.

The Vietnamese State and Government are striving to create a better investment environment and an open policy to facilitate foreign investment, including investment from Japanese sources.

Susumu, who is also the Chairman of the Nippon Keidanren’s Japan-Vietnam Economic Committee, described Vietnam as one of Sumitomo’s important business destinations, adding that the group plans to build a second industrial park in Vietnam , following the successful model of the Thang Long IP, and to participate in the implementation of large-scale transportation projects in the country.

He also pledged to stand side-by-side with Vietnamese partners in carrying out these projects.
The guest also expressed his pleasure at recent positive developments in Vietnam-Japan’s trade and economic relations through the implementation of the joint initiative.

Vietnam-Czech business forum opens

The Czech Republic will become an increasingly important partner for Vietnam, providing a gateway for Vietnamese commodities to enter the EU market, a trade expert said in Hanoi on Nov. 11.

Speaking at the Vietnam-Czech Republic Business Forum, Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Doan Duy Khuong added that, with the introduction of flexible mechanisms, Vietnam can act as a bridge for Czech goods to become available in the ASEAN market.

Despite an increase in trade and investment relations between the Vietnamese and Czech business communities, two-way trade is yet to make the most of the potential offered by the two countries, Khuong said.

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Le Danh Vinh requested the Czech Republic’s support in issuing green cards to Vietnamese businesses to facilitate their entry into the market, with the aim of boosting bilateral economic cooperation.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade also pledged to promote industry and trade cooperation between the two countries.

The Czech Minister for Industry and Trade, Martin Riman, said that the Czech Republic’s businesses are hopeful that they can compete in the energy, auto industry, environmental and service sectors in the Vietnamese market.

An agreement regarding the Hanoi-Hai Phong auto expressway was signed by Vietnamese and Czech businesses at the function.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, by Sept. 22, the Czech Republic had invested in 15 projects capitalised at nearly 54 million USD in Vietnam, ranking 40 th out of 81 countries and territories investing in the country.

During 2007, Vietnam exported agricultural products, garments and textiles, footwear, handicrafts and computer components worth a total 102 million USD to the Czech Republic and imported vehicles, civil engineering and electrical equipment, and aeroplane parts valued at 23 million USD from the country.

Fashion fair targets domestic market

More than 100 domestic and foreign businesses will showcase their products at the Vietnam International Fashion Fair 2008 (VIFF) to be held in Hanoi from Nov. 19-24.

Speaking at a press conference in Hanoi on Nov. 11, the Deputy General Director of the Vietnam Garment and Textile Group (Vinatex), Le Tien Truong, said that in addition to strengthening the relationship between domestic and foreign enterprises, the fair aims to achieve the garment and footwear sectors’ goals in the domestic market in the context of increasing competition in the global market.

The latest garment and footwear fashion products will be displayed at the fair’s 300 stalls. Of particular note is a new collection of designer spectacles showcased by the Global Optic JS Company.

A number of seminars regarding the development of the domestic market and solutions for the garment industry will be held during the fair, which takes place annually in Ho Chi Minh City in July and in Hanoi during November.

Garments have traditionally been considered one of the country’s key export staples with an average annual growth rate of 32 percent. In the first ten months of this year, garment export turnover reached 7.64 billion USD, representing a 20 percent increase over the same period last year. The figure is expected to reach 9.5 billion USD by the year-end.

In 2007, Vietnam was listed in the world’s top 10 garment exporters. The country has set a target of being named in the top five by 2015.

Experts, however, have warned that Vietnamese garment businesses are at risk of losing a share of the domestic market due to high-volume, low-cost imports from China and Thailand.

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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 11/11   2008-11-11