Digital transformation key for firms to expand export markets: conference

July, 17/2022 - 13:19
Digital transformation will play a key role in assisting businesses, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), revive and expand export markets post-COVID, experts said.
A screen grab of a HCM City-based supplier of handicrafts live selling her products at an online B2B online platform. — VNS Photo Bồ Xuân Hiệp

HCM CITY — Digital transformation will play a key role in assisting businesses, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), revive and expand export markets post-COVID, experts said.

Speaking at a conference on digital transformation for SMEs late last week, Phí Anh Tuấn, deputy chairman of the HCM City Computer Association, said: “Digital transformation is both a need and an inevitable trend, which will help businesses survive.”

Most firms however find it difficult to identify the right solutions, technologies and consultants for digital transformation due to the large supply in the market, he said.

Quách Ngọc Long, general director of WorkIT Joint Stock Company, said to achieve digital transformation, companies need to have a long-term road map to meet market trends.

“They should change their mindset, devise a detailed strategy, remove barriers, and begin with available infrastructure.”

Experts said the prolonged pandemic has affected all aspects of business operations.

Enterprises have been facing challenges related to accessing customers and cash flows, maintaining their workforce, and supply chain disruptions, they added.

Digital ready to catch market

Trần Ngọc Liêm, director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)’s HCM City office, said businesses need to adopt digital transformation to retain and expand export markets.

It is expected to create great changes in businesses’ production and trading activities, helping reduce production costs and paperwork, add value to products, and improve product and service quality, he added.

A recent VCCI survey found that many businesses, including SMEs, have rapidly promoted digital transformation by applying hi-tech in management and production post-pandemic.

Nguyễn Văn Thân, chairman of the Việt Nam Small- and Medium-sized Enterprise Association, said digital applications play a major role in expanding export markets as global buyers have shifted from their traditional sourcing channels like trade shows to a new online model or a combination of both.

Global buyers want to source directly from Vietnamese manufacturers and are looking for Vietnamese enterprises who are ‘digitally ready’ to match their sourcing needs, he added.

“As the sourcing process becomes digitised, it is inevitable that Vietnamese suppliers will need to adopt digital transformation.”

Other participants said in addition to promoting exports via e-commerce platforms, local businesses should not forget the lucrative domestic market of 97 million consumers with high internet usage and rising incomes.

They should adopt omni-channel retailing strategies to adjust to consumer behaviour changes in the new normal period, they added.

The VCCI’s HCM City branch and WorkIt Joint Stock Company signed a memorandum of understanding for a programme to support 1,000 SMEs' digital transformation. — VNS

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