Delegates visit a booth displaying products from an enterprise participating in the forum “Digital Transformation - Gateway to the Global Market” in HCM City on Wednesday. VNS Photo Bồ Xuân Hiệp
Bồ Xuân Hiệp
HCM CITY — Âu Tuấn Long, CEO of King Bread Joint Stock Company, a chain of bakery products based in HCM City, said his company would sell bakery products via online sites in the near future.
Selling via online or franchise channels would help promote the company’s brand in domestic and foreign markets, he said.
However, he noted that the company lacked confidence to pursue the full array of online channels because of a lack of knowledge about e-commerce, especially cross-border e-commerce.
Speaking at the “Digital Transformation - Gateway to the Global Market” forum in HCM City on Wednesday, experts said that many small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) had little experience in e-commerce and lacked information about the field.
Nguyễn Thị Phương Trang, business development director at Innovative Hub, the event’s organiser, said there was high demand for online sales of Vietnamese products and urged SMEs to place products on such platforms.
“Buyers from 200 countries would recognise that our products have good quality and competitive prices,” she said.
One of the challenges facing SMEs in using e-commerce platforms for exports is the lack of quality human resources.
Training staff in online store design, trading options, logistics, payment methods, and global online markets are all necessary, according to Trang.
In addition, SMEs face challenges in accessing online trading activities because many of the firms are still tiny scale.
Steven Zheng, CEO of Hangzhou SOR Business Consulting Co. Ltd, said that SMEs should keep an eye on new markets.
SMEs need to change their way of thinking and made quality products for e-commerce, he said, adding that overseas consumers are interested in Vietnamese products both online and offline.
“Buyers not only want to search for offline products at shops, showrooms or fairs, but also need to search for products online.”
For example, an exporter of black garlic, which formerly was exported mostly to Asian markets, had never considered that the African market would have high demand for the product, experts said.
A number of Vietnamese products have very good quality and extremely competitive prices, but consumers around the world are not aware of them because they are not available online.
Zoe Zuo, managing director of Innovative Hub, said that quality Vietnamese products could reach global buyers through online platforms in more than 190 countries.
“Digital transformations can lower the cost and increase the efficiency of businesses, resulting in faster growth,” he said.
Experts have said online import and export activities of Vietnamese SMEs are expected to increase. The Việt Nam e-business index report found that 32 per cent of SMEs have established businesses with foreign partners through online channels.
Joining B2B e-commerce platforms will help export enterprises directly approach customers, thereby expanding opportunities in the global market and reducing costs of traditional trade promotions such as fairs and exhibitions. Companies will also be able to more easily open offices in other markets.
A representative from the E-commerce Development Centre (under the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Việt Nam E-commerce and Information Technology Agency), said that Vietnamese enterprises have been using online trading floors to find foreign partners and customers.
For traditional trading platforms, many businesses encounter cumbersome procedures and huge expenditures looking for foreign partners or implementing trade promotion programmes.
On the other hand, online import and export channels can reduce costs and time for businesses, especially SMEs looking for business partners, carrying out trade promotions, marketing products, and implementing transactions and payments, according to the representative.
Việt Nam is one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia, and with a stable governance and ease of doing business, Vietnamese SMEs are likely to succeed in joining the global e-commerce trade.
According to the ministry’s Việt Nam E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency, e-commerce has had strong growth with the highest rate of 30 per cent in 2018, rising to US$7.8 billion revenue from $4 billion in 2015.
If the growth rate of 2019 and 2020 continues at 30 per cent each year, revenue by 2020 would reach $13 billion. — VNS