HA NOI — Viet Nam expects a year-on-year export value increase of 15 per cent (US$1.5 billion) in 2012 for handbags, according to the Viet Nam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso).
The association said, with domestic handbag producers capable of producing 200 million units each, the sector would have little trouble in reaching such a target.
Export value of handbags is expected to reach a growth rate of 30 per cent during the next few years, it added.
In the first two months of the year, the sector experienced an export value increase, based on handbags, suitcases, hats and umbrellas, of $71.6 million to the US, $30.6 million to Japan, $18.2 million to Germany, $11 million to South Korea and $7.4 million to France, according to the General Department of Taxation.
Lefaso Chairman Nguyen Duc Thuan said the handbag sector had great prospects for development now that many large global companies had shifted production from China to Viet Nam. Local demand had also increased as domestic consumers moved away from cheap and poor quality Chinese products.
However, Thuan said that not all opportunities could be capitalised upon because firms need to satisfy essential requirements related to management capacity, financial resources, equipment, facilities and skilled labour in order to secure contracts with big brands.
The greatest weakness in the handbag sector is the significant dependence on raw material and accessory imports. The domestic market can only meet about 20 per cent of the demand for leather along with some basic accessories such as labels, laces, buttons and zips. Sophisticated accessories must be imported, he said.
At present, many producers still have to outsource orders from foreign firms so they can only use existing designs. In the long-term however, producers should manage the design process themselves in an aim to better serve the domestic market as well as build up strong brands for Made-in-Viet Nam handbags, he said.
Last year, the country earned more than $1.3 billion by exporting various kinds of bags, up 33 per cent against 2010, according to Lefaso.
Key export markets included the US ($461 million in export value), the EU ($422 million), Japan ($140 million) and Southeast Asian countries ($66 million). — VNS