Viet Nam News
HCM CITY – As one of the leading trade and financial centres of the world, Hong Kong is a potential business partner that could also help Vietnamese companies link up with their global counterparts, a senior Vietnamese official said.
Lê Mạnh Hà, deputy chairman of the Government Office, speaking at a seminar titled “Hong Kong: Your Partner in International Trade” in HCM City yesterday, said trade between the two sides increased strongly in recent years.
It was worth US$16.3 billion last year, a year-on-year increase of 16.7 per cent, with Việt Nam’s exports accounting for $6.5 billion.
Its main export items were electronic and telecoms equipment and parts; garments and textiles; footwear; seafood; rice; timber and timber products; and electrical cables.
“Việt Nam currently is Hong Kong’s ninth largest trading partner, but there is room to increase their trade,” Hà said.
In terms of investment in Việt Nam, Hong Kong ranks fourth.
The Government plans to improve the investment environment and help businesses cut back costs.
Margaret Fong, executive director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), said entering the Hong Kong market was not difficult at all, but the important thing was for businesses to understand their customers.
She said food products, including seafood and vegetables, sold very well on the island.
“Every year we import $20 billion worth of food, so I think businesses should focus on food and bring your specialties from Việt Nam.”
Businesses should keep in mind that people are no longer just looking for well-known or international brands, but for something that is unique and reflects their own personal quality, she said.
“So bringing something that is unique to your culture will help make your products a lot more attractive.
“Also remember that Hong Kong people are willing to pay for good quality. Price is just one consideration; quality is the most important, especially food.”
Handicrafts and houseware items from Việt Nam could also become popular in the market, she said.
“When you look at Hong Kong, don’t just look at a market of seven million people, because last year we had 16 million tourists visiting.”
Asked how a Vietnamese firm could succeed in Hong Kong, she said the best way would be to start with the services that HKTDC can offer, including its Small Orders online-offline platform.
A lot of information is available on its website and Vietnamese companies can learn about markets they are interested in before actually promoting their products there, according to Fong.
In addition, HKTDC organised more than 30 international trade fairs last year, attracting 765,000 buyers from around the world, she said.
But the number of Vietnamese exhibitors and buyers was modest at 2,950, she said.
She urged more Vietnamese firms to participate in fairs to show off their products to buyers in other countries.
Speaking to Việt Nam News, Phạm Xuân Hồng, chairman of the HCM City Textile, Garment, Knitting and Embroidery Association, said a delegation of garment and textile firms would visit an upcoming garment and textile fair in Hong Kong to market their products and connect with foreign businesses.
Fong said Hong Kong and ASEAN were negotiating for a free trade agreement, expected to be concluded by the end of this year, which promises to boost trade and investment between the two. - VNS