Chinese market means “unlimited” opportunities to Vietnamese exporters

by Tao Jun, Bui Long

HANOI, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) — As a huge market and the “world factory”, neighboring China offers Vietnamese exporters opportunities for a diversity of products and services, ranging from sea food to software services.

China is currently the largest importer of Vietnam’s tra fish, a grey-backed white-bellied catfish grown in the Mekong River which has been over the past decade a key export of the International Development & Investment Corporation (IDI) under the multi-sector Sao Mai Group.

“China is near Vietnam, so transport for export is convenient. Chinese gastronomy is also similar to the Vietnamese one, so China is one of our key markets,” said Truong Vinh Thanh, Sao Mai’s deputy general director.

According to Thanh, the IDI started its march into the Chinese market by providing tra fish to chefs in major Chinese cities years ago.

“Today, our tra fish are on the dining table in Beijing, Shanghai, Sichuan, Guangdong, Fujian and many other Chinese cities and provinces,” Thanh said.

Tra fish prices in foreign markets have been rising over recent years, delivering good news to Vietnam’s fishery and aquaculture industry. “Therefore, we opened an office in Beijing last year to promote the sales of tra fish and other products,” he said.

“With a population of nearly 1.4 billion people, China is a promising market for seafood and tra fish in particular. We see a rosy future,” he added.

Data from the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) show that Vietnam earned 1.6 billion U.S. dollars from exporting tra fish in the first nine months of this year, with that earned from China accounting for 23.7 percent.

In addition to traditional exports to China such as seafood, rice and rubber, Vietnamese companies have also benefited a lot from high-tech products.

“I have lived and worked in Shanghai for three years and really enjoyed my life here,” said Tran Viet Linh, general manager of the Shanghai branch of Vietnam’s FPT Software Company.

“Shanghai has a long history in international trade, so the cultural, economic environment are very open and friendly … Shanghai develops rapidly and innovates consistently … It is very good for foreign companies and their employees,” she said.

As one of the Vietnamese exhibitors at the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) to be held in early November, the FPT Software Company officially entered the Chinese market in 2017.

The Vietnamese newcomer mainly engaging in software outsourcing and related services chose to open its first office in Shanghai, venue of the import expo.

“China is a massive market and they have some of the biggest leading fields in the world, including information technology, logistics and e-commerce … but also it is a center of production as well as one for exporting goods and services,” Linh said.

“Opportunities in the Chinese market, in my eyes, are unlimited,” she noted.

On her company’s strategy, Linh said that it is to maximize the labor cost advantage of Vietnam, with software projects largely implemented by FPT engineers based in home.

“Depending on the need of specific projects and customers, we sometimes send engineers to China to communicate face-to-face with customers. They are responsible for understanding the customer expectation for the system and the software development,” she added.

“In the first year, FPT Shanghai attracted customers with important long-term projects,” Linh said. And this proves a right timing to enter the Chinese market, and “the business is rapidly advancing and we strongly believe in a bright future.”

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