Võ Trung Hiếu, International Business Director of Vinamilk, receives the Asia Export Award in Singapore in 2019.
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam's largest dairy exporter Vinamilk has recorded strong and steady growth despite the impacts of COVID-19 in recent months.
Insiders said that prestige in the international market was helping Vinamilk to gain success despite serious difficulties.
Looking back over a 20-year journey of bringing Vietnamese dairy products to the world, the "golden keys" that have provided this success are international standards and knowledge of overseas markets and consumers, but an especially important factor for Vinamilk's steady development worldwide is its prestige.
Vinamilk dairy products on supermarket shelves in the US.
Prestige built from product quality
In the first half of the year, although the global economy was affected by COVID-19, Vinamilk's export revenue reached VNĐ2.45 trillion (US$105.37 million), equivalent to an increase of 7.3 per cent year-on-year, making a positive contribution to the company's overall results.
Vinamilk CEO Mai Kiều Liên said this achievement was mainly due to overseas partners’ trust in Vinamilk's products. More than 20 years ago, in 1997, Vinamilk exported its first batch of Dielac powdered milk products to the Middle East. In just a short time, consumer trust made the name Dielac so popular it became a generic term for all powdered milk products on the market.
Liên said that at that time, no one thought that Việt Nam could export infant formula because Việt Nam used to have to import powdered milk.
“Vinamilk had to pass rigorous rounds of quality testing in the Middle East, some even more stringent than international standards. After proving its quality and ability to deliver on demand, Vinamilk signed major export contracts to this market.
A.Badi, a longtime partner of Vinamilk in the Middle East, said Vinamilk's products were good quality and stable.
“Over the years, we still strongly believe and feel secure as a partner of Vinamilk in the Middle East market. Every year we take time to learn and develop new product lines to meet the needs of consumers.”
Indeed, this approach has helped Vinamilk grow rapidly for more than 20 years. Powdered milk currently makes the largest contribution to Vinamilk's export revenue. Total export turnover so far has reached $2.2 billion from 54 countries and territories.
E-commerce is seen as an important channel to promote sales of Vinamilk products in South Korea.
Not only looking for buyers, but also partners
Finding a good partner means having set one foot in a market, and helping the business limit the risks when investing and entering a new market.
A Vinamilk representative said imports and exports were being affected by COVID-19, so in addition to Vinamilk's efforts, it must also count on trust from its partners.
“Above all, they believe in Vinamilk's prestige, from the implementation of commitments to accompanying and supporting our customers as much as necessary.”
In the South Korean market, Vinamilk has joined hands with its partners to learn and come up with an effective business strategy, from choosing high-end nut-based dairy products to taking the decision to use e-commerce channels to penetrate the market.
Vinamilk has collaborated with its partners to invest in building this sales channel, reaching target consumers and coping with social distancing in South Korea. Since the beginning of September, Vinamilk Happy milk tea has been widely sold at 1,500 Ministop convenience stores in South Korea.
Vinamilk introduces its products in China in 2019.
In China, Vinamilk has also put its products on the shelves of supermarket chains and developed e-commerce channels. In 2020, overcoming the difficulties caused by COVID-19, Ông Thọ condensed milk products were exported to this billion-population market, promising to continue to "make success". Close association with distribution partners, along with its farms and factories certified to export to China will create a good foundation for Vinamilk to expand in this market.
Vinamilk experts check the quality of products before export. Qualified products and prestige are the "travel tickets" helping Vinamilk reach out to the world. — Photos Vinamilk
Prestige makes a billion-dollar brand
In Japan, a famously fastidious market where credibility is almost the ultimate criterion, Hamada commented that: “Vinamilk is an excellent company in the export market. Their responsibility as well as their commitment to products, services and brands is the most prominent point that makes us long-term cooperation partners.”
Prestige and commitments both at home and abroad have been cited as a key business principle many times by Vinamilk's leaders, showing the company’s awareness when stepping onto the global playing field, and each product will contribute to building the brand on the international market.
Võ Trung Hiếu, International Business Director of Vinamilk, said Vinamilk always placed its highest focus on brand reputation, which had helped the company build a brand worth billions of dollars today.
“Vinamilk's approach is to shake hands with partners as companions in foreign markets, sharing a common goal to develop business and brand instead of playing the role of ‘seller – buyer’ in the traditional export way,” Hiếu said.
Vinamilk was rated as a top exporter in 2019, and was honoured at the Asian Exporters Awards in Singapore. With a sustainable and long-term international business strategy, in addition to huge numbers, Vinamilk has accumulated an extremely valuable asset - prestige on the international market. — VNS