HA NOI — Vietnamese retailers need to change their business methods and improve the quality of their customer services to up competitiveness in the domestic market, according to Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang.
|Consumers shop at the Co.op Mart Cu Chi Supermarket in HCM City. Retailers are being encouraged to change their business methods and improve the quality of their customer services to increase their competitiveness — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu
During a meeting with domestic retailers in the capital yesterday, Hoang said customers would support local distribution-retail channels that could provide professional services and products at reasonable prices.
In order to better enhance their presence in the local market, experts agreed that retailers should enhance their business methods to meet the demands of a modernising and fast-paced environment.
However, retailers complained they faced many difficulties in developing while struggling to access retail space and capital resources due to skyrocketing interest rates.
Harsh competition from foreign rivals was also problematic, they said.
Phu Thai JSC Board Chairman Pham Dinh Doan said local retail companies had encountered barriers in accessing land and retail space because some localities seemed to favour foreign enterprises over domestic ones.
Current policies were yet to provide many domestic retailers with sufficient assistance, resulting in their failure to gain sufficient and quality retail space, said Saigon CoopMart Board Chairman Nguyen Van Hoa.
Meanwhile, most domestic retailers were small in size with insufficient financial capacities, weak competition and human resources as well as inadequate infrastructure facilities, Hoa added.
He called on the Ministry of Industry and Trade to draw up effective policies focused on supporting firms in finance and personnel training.
A representative from the Ha Noi Trade Corp agreed, urging the State to consider offering incentives to retail enterprises that pioneered developing distribution channels in remote areas.
Closer co-operation between local retailers would be a good way for firms to compete against foreign rivals, he noted.
In order to solve difficulties facing enterprises, Hoang said the ministry would help develop local distribution-retail industries.
"We would consider allowing joint ventures between Vietnamese and foreign companies, in which domestic firms would hold 51 per cent stakes, to encourage the use of the locally made goods," Hoang added.
The ministry would also co-ordinate with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to develop land sources for retailers and distributors while working with the Supreme People's Court to deal with trade suits.
Following five years as a WTO member, the Vietnamese retail industry has asserted its role in the country's economy.
The establishment of supermarkets, shopping centres and convenience stores had modernised the habits of Vietnamese customers, said deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Domestic Market Department Hoang Van Nam.
There were 638 supermarkets and 117 shopping centres in the country by the end of 2011, Nam confirmed.
The ministry planned to develop domestic distribution networks to make them more professional and modern.
Viet Nam is considered an attractive retail market, with the total retail value of goods and services reaching more than US$90 billion last year, an increase of 24.2 per cent compared to 2010.
In 2011-20, it is forecast that the local retail market would grow by 10 per cent annually, with domestic goods accounting for 20 per cent of GDP. — VNS