Vietnamese firms must focus more on building brands of products to be able to boost exports to the Republic of Korea (RoK).
Le An Hai, deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s Asia-Pacific Market Department, said this at a seminar on promotion of Vietnamese brands for the Republic of Korea, held on Thursday in Ha Noi.
According to Hai, the RoK is considered a potential market for Vietnamese products, however, export to the market still faces challenges, including brand registration.
He cited coffee as an example. With export turnover accounting for 34 per cent of the world market share, Viet Nam is proud to be one of the world’s largest coffee exporters, he said. The country is also among the three largest coffee exporters to RoK, however, few Koreans know this.
Made-in Vietnam textile and garment products also suffer the same fate in this market although the quality and production capacity of the country is superior.
According to Hai, one of the main reasons why the Vietnamese brand is not popular in RoK is the packaging design.
“Made-in Vietnam products always sell better if the products are ordered by Korean enterprises,” Hai said, explaining that Korean enterprises themselves design attractive packaging and properly grasp the taste and aesthetics of the Korean people.
Hai therefore said that it is important for Viet Nam’s firms to focus on building Vietnamese brands in the context of fierce competition between local and foreign firms. To do this, Vietnamese firms should first perform well in the domestic market to build quality products — from packaging design to safety. The Vietnamese firms can in this way strengthen their brand in the domestic market and then expand to foreign markets, especially a fastidious market such as RoK.
Yoon Sang Ho from the Korea Small and Medium Business Association said Korean customers often prefer to choose brands they know. At the same time, a solid brand will help firms protect their market share not only in the domestic market but also in the foreign market.
Besides this, he suggested that businesses should study and grasp the tastes of Korean consumers. Thus, new Vietnamese brands can leave their mark on the shopping habits of indigenous customers.
According to Do Kim Lang, deputy director of the MoIT’s Trade Promotion Agency, RoK is currently the largest investor and one of Viet Nam’s major trading partners. Notably, in 2016, RoK was Viet Nam’s third largest trading partner, while Viet Nam was RoK’s fourth largest export market. Two-way trade between the two countries increased nearly 87-fold — from US$500 million in 1992 to $43.4 billion in 2016.
However, the country’s trade deficit with RoK is increasing, reaching up to $23.7 billion in the first nine months of this year, data of the General Department of Vietnam Customs showed. Viet Nam mainly imports machinery, computers, electronic products and components, and raw materials for textile, as well as leather footwear, steel, plastics and chemicals from RoK. — VNS