Truly domestic Bringing Vietnamese goods to rural areas

12:50 | 05/02/2017 Society

(VEN) - We could not help but be impressed on seeing the bustling Vietnamese goods trade fairs in the rural northeastern province of Quang Ninh and Hai Phong City, held by the Vietnam Business Studies and Assistance Center (BSA).  

truly domestic bringing vietnamese goods to rural areas

From morning to night

The BSA held eight Vietnamese goods fairs in rural Quang Ninh and Hai Phong from September 19 to October 21, 2016. We had a chance to visit the BSA’s fair in Tien Lang District (Hai Phong), which attracted a large number of buyers. Offering high quality Vietnamese goods at reasonable prices, the fair appeared to be a hit with local consumers and to a market dominated by Chinese-made goods.

The fair in the Binh Lieu District of Quang Ninh Province also attracted a large number of buyers, many of whom came early in the morning. Even managers of firms offering goods at the fair rolled up their sleeves, put on sellers’ uniforms and served the many customers who flocked to the event.

The fairs, which also attracted a large number of local ethnic minority residents, were an unqualified success. The Binh Lieu one welcomed more buyers, though at the Dam Ha fair, many businesses ran out of goods even as buyers kept coming. Their success was also reflected in the fact that the Binh Lieu fair, for example, attracted buyers from early morning to 10pm, way past the usual 9pm bedtime of local residents.

According to businesses, most of buyers at the Binh Lieu fair purchased retail goods, while those at the Dam Ha fair bought wholesale quantities.

Businesses assessed that direct retail in remote, rural areas helps advertise products. Many, including such major manufacturers as Cholimex, Trung Nguyen, Phu Thai Fish Sauce, Nutrifood Milk and others sent people to different areas in the regions to conduct market surveys and product introduction during the fairs.

Goods of known origin

Many consumers in rural Hai Phong and Quang Ninh said that Chinese goods still account for the vast majority of items available in the regional markets. While they considered Vietnamese goods to be of good quality, they complained of difficulty in finding them in remote, rural areas. According to the BSA’s project for bringing Vietnamese goods to rural areas, many Vietnamese brands are not present or have a tiny niche in northern rural markets, such as Cholimex, Tam Lan Tea and NaMiLux Gas Stove, among others. This finding indicates that there is wide room on that market for Vietnamese goods distributors.

Speaking about the fair in Tien Lang, Do Trong Lich from the Thai Long Co., Ltd of Ho Chi Minh City said that this was the first time the company participated in the project. Although Thai Long has a nationwide distribution network covering all 63 provinces and cities, the company attaches much importance to Vietnamese goods fairs in remote, rural areas, he added.

Nguyen Minh Hau, a distributor of the 6 Ri Durian Brand, said that the northern market is eager for southern specialties. The enterprise joined the project not only to expand markets but also to provide local consumers with the opportunity to enjoy and recognize unfamiliar, brand products. This is especially relevant given that goods of unknown origin still account for the vast majority on rural electronics, household goods and consumer goods markets.

truly domestic bringing vietnamese goods to rural areas

Businesses like Hoanh Kien Dat joined Vietnamese goods fairs in far-off areas to learn about local demands and tastes. Speaking with Vietnam Economic News, Chairwoman of the Association of High-Quality Vietnamese Goods Producers, Vu Kim Hanh, said the fact that Vietnam opens its doors and integrates into international economic communities creates both opportunities and challenges for domestic businesses.

To carve out a niche in the market, apart from product quality improvement, businesses need to carry out effective advertising and marketing. The Buy Vietnamese Goods campaign, launched by the Fatherland Front Central Committee to increase domestic sales and market recognition, has been going well, she said. However, cooperation between high quality Vietnamese goods manufacturers is lacking. They need to work closely with each other to further increase the presence of Vietnamese goods throughout the country, she said.

According to BSA’s Startup Club Director Vu Kim Anh, businesses assessed that the program provides them with the opportunity to learn about and reach rural consumers, and to adjust their distribution channels according to market demand and consumer tastes. Remote, rural markets are lucrative markets for businesses and also provide them with an opportunity to expand their sales force and distribution systems, Anh said.

Although it was suspended for eight years before March 2009, the project has recently been restored, with good reason. Its advantages are many: increasing rural consumer interest in Vietnamese goods, assisting manufacturers to adapt products and services to local tastes and connect with the media for product and business promotion. In a nutshell, Vietnamese goods fairs in rural areas have strengthened the link between Vietnamese businesses and rural consumers.

Since March 2009, the BSA, in coordination with the Association of High-Quality Vietnamese Goods Producers, held 186

Vietnamese goods fairs in rural markets, bringing rural consumers millions of domestically made quality products. In 2016,

Vietnamese goods fairs returned to the northern market after many years of suspension.

Nguyen Hanh