Vietnamese firms seek consumers on global sites

06-Dec-2018 Intellasia | The Saigon Times | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Hundreds of Vietnamese enterprises are rushing to market their products, such as coffee, pepper, vegetables and craft items, on international ecommerce platforms, including Alibaba, Amazon and eBay, seeking potential customers and business-to-business transactions.

Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper cited Tran Xuan Thuy, director of Alibaba Vietnam, as saying that 200,000 firms had registered to open merchant accounts on the ecommerce platform, adding that ecommerce platforms will help firms, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), find potential customers.

Thuy noted that as SMEs do not intend to establish a representative office in foreign markets, their export activities depend on brokers, exhibitions or support from commercial counsellors. As such, these firms always have difficulty finding potential customers.

Meanwhile, by making the most of ecommerce platforms for their exports, enterprises will have the chance to expand their consumption markets, successfully assess the taste preferences and demands of customers and supply appropriate products. As a result, global sites have drawn a great deal of interest from multiple firms.

In fact, some firms have successfully exported their products through ecommerce platforms. For instance, Vegetexco 1 Company sold a batch of pickled cucumbers to a customer in Estonia, in northeastern Europe, only a month and a half after seeking buyers on Alibaba.

However, the latest statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade show that online export sales accounted for a mere 1 percent of the country’s total export revenue.

Experts attributed the small fraction to traditional models of export being dominant and the shortage of skilled workers eligible to exploit ecommerce platforms’ advantages.

In addition, though some firms acknowledged the benefits of the online channel and had tapped it, they had failed to attach much importance to their online export activities, providing uninteresting advertising, insufficient descriptions of goods and unattractive photos of products.

Experts noted that enterprises have yet to make full use of the advantages provided by ecommerce platforms to analyse market data and adjust their strategies accordingly.

However, a few firms stated that it is not easy to utilise ecommerce platforms for exports due to heavy competition from their international rivals.

A representative from Vietnam Cacao JSC remarked that the company has spent VND33 million annually to maintain its account on Alibaba for five years but has failed to find any customers due to difficulties in competing with international firms. The representative added that on the platform Alibaba, the company is required to pay multiple fees when receiving an order, which produces diminishing returns.

Thuy, however, still had an upbeat outlook on the online export market over the next five years, saying that the growth rate of exports through ecommerce platforms would amount to 50 percent-100 percent. Many firms have actively cooperated with owners of ecommerce platforms for support in training, logistics, payments and trade, Thuy stated.


Category: Business, Vietnam

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