11:39 | 30/08/2016 Companies
(VEN) - When Malaysian furniture maker Maszma Marketing entered Vietnam 15 years ago, there were several problems including a lack of skilled labor and the language barrier, but the nation’s bright prospects were evident, country representative Amin Razak told Vietnam Economic News.
Maszma Marketing’s Vietnam representative Amin Razak
A furniture maker and exporter with more than 25 years of experience, Maszma operates mainly out of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. In Vietnam, it has been officially operating for 13 years, boasting an impressive growth record.
The company specializes in providing contract furniture, from bedroom furniture to tables and chairs for a variety of clients including hotels, pubs, restaurants, universities, and apartment blocks. It uses a wide range of materials including oak, beech, ash, MDF, local woods, veneers, and metals, offering customers many choices.
Its designs are custom-made to the client’s specifications, and can be made for mail order, said Amin Razak, the company’s Vietnam representative. Its main markets include the USA (90 percent), Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, he added.
Razak recalled that the business situation was not always easy in the beginning, but the company worked hard to establish itself and grow.
“When I first came to Vietnam, there were not many foreign investors. Transportation was not asgood as it is now. And the language was also a barrier. Not many people could speak English, and it was not easy to find skilled employees.
“However, I decided to invest in my business in Vietnam because I foresaw the opportunities and a prosperous future in the country,” he said.
He continued, “Having lived in Vietnam for 15 years, I have witnessed every year the rapid development of the country in the right direction, with supportive policies of the government. The development of IT and infrastructure has enabled us to communicate easier and faster.”
Razak felt that the company has been able to do well because of his decision to invest in Vietnam at the right time and collaborating with good Vietnamese partners.
“We cooperated with Vietnamese companies, and also established the Nhat Quang Joint-Venture Company. The synergy was good. Our Vietnamese partners are very good at producing and we are good at branding and marketing as well as using hi-tech applications. We cooperated and helped each other grow.”
Looking ahead, Razak felt that Vietnam has the advantage of being home to a lot of material resources as well as reasonable labor and production costs in comparison with other emerging countries in the region. “Moreover, the Vietnamese labor force is quite young, dynamic and more and more educated, thus able to meet the demands of investors, including language and soft skills.”
Razak extended his overall optimism about Vietnam to the furniture industry despite the economic slowdown. “In the first half of this year, Maszma has achieved good results and we expect stable growth in the second half.”
The company was backing its optimism with action on the ground, Razak said. “Currently, there are many companies moving from China to Vietnam, making Vietnam more competitive and an investment hub.” Hence, Maszma plans to expand its operations in Vietnam with a long-term strategy to connect with the local market. This includes producing more for the domestic market segment as more hotels and apartments are built in the country. Thus, it would open a new factory in the country, he said.
Razak said he believes that the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will increase investor interest in Vietnam because the market would get bigger and offer more opportunities. This would also open up more collaborations between Malaysian and Vietnamese businesses, he felt.
Summing up, he said Vietnam will continue to be a potential destination in the region for foreign investors and Malaysians in particular. “That is why we have been here for 15 years and we continue to grow.”