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SMEs urged to build brands

Update: January, 18/2017 - 10:01
Brand building must be the core of small-and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) competition strategies going into the fourth industrial revolution, experts said at conference on Monday in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI – Brand building must be the core of small-and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) competition strategies going into the fourth industrial revolution, experts said at conference on Monday in Hà Nội.

Nguyễn Văn Nam, Director of the Institute for Brand and Competition Strategy, stressed that the fourth industrial revolution was rapidly changing the ways of doing business and significantly affecting SME operations.

However, most SMEs were reportedly using outdated technologies, Nam said, citing statistics showing that only 10 per cent of SMEs have applied modern technologies.

“Updating SME’s approaches is essential to their competitiveness,” Nam said.

According to Nguyễn Quốc Thịnh, National Branding Programme consultant, SMEs should not aim at competing by price but by brand. “When asked, roughly 90 per cent of firms said that improving competitiveness could be achieved through lowering prices and enhancing quality. However, SMEs should note that creating market demand should be the target.”

Economic expert Võ Trí Thành urged SMEs to link with each others to develop the value chain. “This will be an efficient solution for SMEs to develop their brands.”

“Applying technology in production is also vital, which will create pressure on firms to use resources efficiently and create high-added value products,” Thành said.

Lê Văn Anh, Director of the Centre of Law Consultancy and Human Resource Development, said that only 21 per cent of Vietnamese SMEs managed to participate in the global value chain, compared to 30 per cent in Thailand and 46 per cent in Malaysia. Vietnamese SMEs are mainly services firms with a mere 20 per cent operating in manufacturing. About 85 per cent of them have revenue below VNĐ2 billion (US$88,800) per year.

From a different angle, Nguyễn Văn Toàn, Việt Nam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises’s Deputy President, said that SMEs’ credit access must be improved.

Toàn said capital had been among the biggest difficulties for SMEs; they struggled to get credit due to a shortage of mortgaged assets and an ineligibility for trust-based loans.

He said that the Government should raise policies to promote venture capital to create resources for start-ups.

Đỗ Thùy Dương, director of TalentPool, an SME operating in capacity training, said that the dynamics of SMEs were of significant important in competition. “SMEs, themselves, must be active. Competition is for development, not inhibition.”

A survey by the Association of SMEs revealed that SMEs accounted for 98 per cent of the total number of firms in Việt Nam. Just 2.2 per cent of the firms were of medium size, while the rest were of small and super small sizes.

However, SMEs provided jobs for 51 per cent of the country’s workforce and contributed to 40 per cent of the gross domestic product.

The Government is drafting a law on supporting SMEs which is expected to give them a boost. The private sector is recognised as a main driver for Vietnamese growth. — VNS

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