Handicraft exports to Japan: Quality is top priority

12:03 | 13/04/2015 Trade

(VEN) - In a talk with Vietnam Economic News’ Viet Nga, Kohei Kataka, consultant at the ASEAN-Japan Center for Trade, Investment and Tourism Promotion (AJC), said, “To promote handicraft exports to Japan, Vietnamese businesses need to give top priority to ensuring product quality.”

Japan is a potential market for Vietnamese handicrafts. But why do you think the value of Vietnamese handicraft exports to Japan remains so modest?

Japanese consumers have very high requirements when it comes to the goods they buy, and I think this is one of the reasons. Vietnamese handicrafts are not of low quality, but Vietnamese businesses have yet to grasp the tastes as well as the habits of Japanese consumers.

The control of handicraft quality is yet to meet requirements. Vietnamese handicraft products are not equal in quality and still lack a range of colors, designs and patterns.

What must Vietnamese handicraft businesses do to penetrate the Japanese market?

In fact, it’s not too difficult for Vietnamese businesses to export handicrafts to Japan, and some businesses have been successful.

I think Vietnamese businesses must learn carefully about the tastes of Japanese consumers so that they can create suitable products for export. In addition, they must pay more attention to improving design.

Could you expand on this point?

Japan has many handicraft villages, so Vietnamese handicraft exports to Japan have to compete with Japanese products. But if Vietnamese handicrafts embody specific characteristics of the Vietnamese culture and match the lifestyle of Japanese people, they will be able to compete with Japanese products.

Notably, Japanese consumers have very strict requirements when it comes to product quality. For example, embroidery products must have the same appearance when looked from the front or the back side, and must be of durable quality; the chemicals used to dye materials for making fashion products must be environmentally friendly and fadeless. Products which are made of manually dyed materials must be enclosed with clear instructions for use.

Vietnamese businesses should build and develop their own brands and create their product identification. They must produce products based on customer demand but not on a large scale.

The AJC is assisting Vietnamese businesses in design to pave the way for their access to the Japanese market. Could you give more information about this?

The AJC is coordinating with the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency under the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade to provide assistance for three Vietnamese businesses which won the Good Design Award of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Specifically, in June 2015, the AJC will send its experts to Vietnam to assist these three businesses in designing sample products. In October 2015, eligible sample products will be announced at an annual handicraft exhibition in Japan and popularized with assistance of the Japan Institute of Design Promotion.

In February 2016, businesses which own these products will be invited to participate in the Tokyo International Gift Show, through which they can promote sales in Japan.


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