Access to the Chinese market is increasingly convenient

VCN - As Vice Chairman of the High Quality Vietnamese Goods Business Association, Mr. Nguyen Lam Vien (photo) is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of Vinamit Joint Stock Company - a very successful enterprise in the Chinese market, shared with Customs News many interesting information and advice for businesses to achieve success in this potential billion-people market.
Mr. Nguyen Lam Vien
Mr. Nguyen Lam Vien

As a business that has had quite a lot of success in the Chinese market, how do you perceive the current level of presence of Vietnamese products in this market, sir?

Vietnamese products that Chinese people love include fresh, dried and canned fruits, vegetables and tubers; seafood and wood products. Each of these industries has an export turnover of about 2 billion USD. Fresh fruit alone this year could increase to 4-5 billion USD. Thus, compared to China's total import turnover, Vietnamese goods still account for a very small, almost insignificant proportion. But compared to Vietnamese agriculture, this is a very significant number. Therefore, this is a market that we need to target and Vietnamese farmers must also know how to target.

How do you evaluate the potential of Vietnamese products in the Chinese market?

The potential is definitely there because Chinese people love to eat fruit. China has up to 6 months of winter, so tropical fruits are very popular. This is the advantage of Vietnamese agriculture. However, in the summer, Chinese people often favor "cool" fruits, while this is the peak harvest of many "hot" fruits in Vietnam. Therefore, at this time, Vietnamese fruits are often "dumped into the market".

To overcome this situation, we must improve our competitiveness by processing, freezing, canning... to reserve until winter for consumption. China is a very potential market. The issue is whether we can make it big or not, whether we can penetrate deeply into the market to gain a sustainable foothold. Those are things that Vietnamese businesses need to consider and have strategies for.

This year, the High Quality Vietnamese Goods Business Association will increase support for businesses bringing goods into billion-people markets, including the Chinese market. As Vice Chairman of the High Quality Vietnamese Goods Business Association, can you share the specific activities that the Association will deploy to support businesses in the coming time?

At the present time, there are many ways for businesses to connect directly with Chinese consumers, such as opening stores on social networks such as Alibaba shop or TikTok shop, or China's e-commerce network. Businesses can register very easily and can sell online using direct referral channels from Vietnam, thereby being able to sell and communicate directly with consumers. Besides, the current delivery problem is also very convenient. Accordingly, the High Quality Vietnamese Goods Business Association will have activities to support businesses connecting to these sales channels as well as skills to be able to sell effectively on these channels.

It should be noted that bringing businesses into contact with entrepreneurs in other countries through trade fairs is only access to the market. Businesses also need to have skills, the ability to access and communicate with partners and know how to standardize their products to achieve international standards. If your product does not meet international standards, it will always be looked down upon. Therefore, the High Quality Vietnamese Goods Business Association will focus on solutions to help businesses improve their understanding of standards and production practices to achieve standards. This plays a very important role in bringing goods to the world market.

Returning to Vinamit's story, what role does the Chinese market play in the company's operations and what has brought Vinamit success in the Chinese market, sir?

In fact, when Vinamit approached the Chinese market years ago, the context was much different from the present. Because at that time, border economic activities were not as tightly controlled as they are today, so goods did not have to face many procedures or technical barriers. Therefore, Vinamit's products have very convenient access to the Chinese market, entering supermarket systems and establishing a foothold in the market. Then, when e-commerce developed, Vinamit quickly approached to participate and also achieved quite a lot of success.

Since the Covid epidemic, Vinamit's sales in the Chinese market have grown by about 15-20% and currently the Chinese market accounts for about 50% of Vinamit's total export sales.

As he just shared, the current market context has changed a lot compared to the time Vinamit previously approached the Chinese market. So what advice do you have for businesses to achieve success in this potential market?

For a long time, we often have a bad impression of the Chinese market. Because actually in the past there have been many risky stories from this market. Therefore, Vietnamese businesses as well as startups are quite concerned. But it should be recognized that we are next to a very large and very favorable market. If we approach it early, this will be a very good and sustainable opportunity. Businesses should research, learn and gradually participate to have a more accurate and realistic understanding.

Nowadays, the world is increasingly flat, the connection between Chinese consumers and Vietnamese manufacturers no longer has many barriers. This is more convenient than before. Previously, Vinamit could only reach distributors and traders, but today, with the information network, Vietnamese businesses can reach consumers to understand them better. In addition, not only large enterprises but also small manufacturers and businesses can sell goods to China. As long as you know how to look at the problem correctly, make products that Chinese people love and that meet international standards, you will have a chance to succeed in the Chinese market.

By Nguyễn Hiền/Huu Tuc

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