Vietnam: A place for French businesses to succeed

08:54 | 02/10/2018 MUTRAP Corner

(VEN) - Representatives of French businesses shared their assessments of Vietnam’s lure, potential growth opportunities, and their success in different industries as well as future plan to root in the country.

Valery Gaucherand, Managing Director, L’Oréal Vietnam:

vietnam a place for french businesses to succeed

Vietnam cosmetic market is very dynamic, reaching double-digit growth in some categories. Beauty spend per capita is still very humble comparing with that of neighboring countries like Thailand or China. The strong development of the young Vietnamese middle-class gives a strong potential for brands who bring high-quality and innovative products that are being expected, and for brands who know how to engage digitally with all women and men. Hence, our Vietnamese market has a great potential for future growth.

Setting up its subsidiary office in Vietnam since 2007, L’Oréal has brought to the country 11 among its 34 world leading brands of the Group including Lancôme, L’Oréal Paris, Kiehl’s, Maybelline New York, Yves Saint Laurent, Shu Uemura, VICHY, NYX Professional Makeup, L’Oréal Professionnel, La Roche-Posay and Kérastase.

In the past 10 years in Vietnam, L’Oréal has strongly built up trust and love from Vietnamese consumers to some of the most famous and recognized beauty brands of the number-one beauty house in the world. It has also established a strong role in society with “Beauty for a Better Life” project, “L’Oréal For Women in Science Program”, and strong commitment to contributing educating relevant authorities to anti-counterfeit challenge.

The next 10 years is about making a difference in bringing the best of beauty to Vietnamese women and men further! Always more sustainable, always more innovative, always more educative, always more engaging, L’Oréal is highly committed to Vietnam. Beauty at L’Oréal is our inspiration, our obsession, our mission, our language, our art, our passion, our responsibility. And in Vietnam, it is also our dream, because we believe it can make Vietnamese life more beautiful.

Jordi Fernandez, General Director, Auchan Retail Vietnam:

vietnam a place for french businesses to succeed

Vietnam’s retail market is quite stable and continues to carry good potential for Auchan. Auchan Retail has now 21 stores in the country. We plan to open 30 more stores next year to bring the total number to 50. Besides Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Auchan plans to expand to other provinces in the Mekong Delta.

We entered e-commerce at the beginning of this year, acknowledging the increasing trend of online shopping in Vietnam. E-commerce has great potential and promises to deliver 50 percent of Auchan Retail Vietnam’s revenue in the next five years. So far, we have only applied this in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Next year, we will launch it nationwide.

Furthermore, we plan to bring to the Vietnamese market the model of Auchan Minute store that has been successful in China. This new format and concept will be introduced first in Auchan stores in Vietnam. Besides retailing, Auchan has partnered with manufacturers in Vietnam to produce about 25 different food products that meet our standards, which will have the Auchan Vietnam brand. These products will soon be exported to Auchan stores network overseas.

Currently, Auchan Vietnam has 1,200 staff members and plans to recruit 250 more by the end of the year. In 2019, Auchan plans to recruit another 1,000 people for expanding our stores.

After three years, we see that having a specific and clear business plan, patience, and a good understanding of the market are very necessary. We expect that Vietnamese consumers will soon recognize Auchan as one of the leading retailers in the country.

Duc Huy Tran, Managing Director, Saint- Gobain Vietnam (FGM):

vietnam a place for french businesses to succeed

We see that from 2015 up to now, the construction materials market in Vietnam has developed very well, at about 8-10 percent per year. And this is a great opportunity for Saint-Gobain in Vietnam. In the past 10 years, Saint-Gobain has grown by an average of 24 percent per year. Currently, Vietnam is the most important growth market for Saint-Gobain in the ASEAN region.

Vietnam is an open market for foreign investors, which is why Saint-Gobain is investing heavily in Vietnam.

Particularly, in 2018, Vietnam is one of the five countries that has received the largest investment from Saint-Gobain with US$50 million. We have nearly 1,200 employees in six plants nationwide. And we are planning two new plants in 2019.

In Vietnam, Saint-Gobain has provided a wide range of products and services for the construction industry since 2005 through leading brands like Gyproc and Vinh Tuong, innovative solutions for the ceiling and plasterboard industries. Saint-Gobain’s gypsum board products currently occupy about 40 percent of the market share in Vietnam.

Today, Vietnamese consumers tend to use ‘green’ materials that are environmentally friendly and sustainable. And the government has also adopted policies and regulations for the use of environmentally-friendly materials like non-baked materials. Saint-Gobain can provide comprehensive solutions and will continue to be a pioneer in bringing environmentally-friendly materials to Vietnam.

After 13 years here, we have seen that having diligent staff members who are eager to learn is an advantage in attracting investors. I believe that Vietnam is an attractive investment destination for French businesses, and a gateway for French businesses to move further into the ASEAN market.

Dung Trinh, General Director, Bureau Veritas Vietnam Co. Ltd:

vietnam a place for french businesses to succeed

Bureau Veritas Vietnam (BVV) is a 100 percent French owned company established in 1998. It is a full subsidiary of Bureau Veritas S.A., which was set up in 1828 and has a network that covers 140 countries, including 1,330 offices and laboratories.

With two complete entities (Bureau Veritas Vietnam - BVV, and Bureau Veritas Consumers Product Services Vietnam - BV CPS, with about 1,000 staff members) and 12 offices nationwide, we deliver a comprehensive range of services including inspection, audit, testing, classification, certification, asset management, and related technical assistance, training, outsourcing and consulting services.

BVV celebrates the 20th anniversary of operating in Vietnam this year. After two decades, we are proud to have contributed to the development of this industry in Vietnam, with the most advanced technology in the world, supporting clients to follow and reach international standards, to expand their market abroad.

Throughout our presence in Vietnam, BVV has had no litigation or arbitration resulting from the performance of its services. We have always focused on providing continuous training for our people in order to always be at the highest level of technical expertise, and to be in line with the latest standards and regulations.

With the advantage of the business environment in Vietnam in recent years and our expansion activities, we grew more than 20 percent last year and we expect this to continue in the coming years at an annual average rate of 10 percent. BVV has achieved good results in Vietnam, and this enables us to invest more in the future and strengthen our long-term commitment to the country.

Samuel Maruta, Co-Founder & Chairman, Marou Chocolate:

vietnam a place for french businesses to succeed

Marou was created by two French people: Vincent Mourou and I, but we are very proud of producing all of our chocolate in Vietnam since 2011. Seven years ago, we decided to start making chocolate in Vietnam, working with small farmers to source local high-quality cacao. When we began, fine chocolate was practically unheard of in Vietnam. That was both the opportunity and the challenge.

At that time, no one really understood the value of Vietnamese cacao, but we thought we could do something interesting with it… So we took that first step and started to produce chocolate under the Marou brand we created, the name came from combining our two family names. The concept was to be the first ‘bean-to-bar’ chocolate made in Vietnam with 100 percent natural and local ingredients.

Now our brand is well recognized not only in the domestic market but also on international markets like Europe, Japan and the US. Today, our factory in HCMC’s Thu Duc District employs 40 people and produces around five tonnes of chocolate per month.

Besides distributing through premium retailers in Vietnam, we also have two shops: Maison Marou Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City, which opened in May 2016 and Maison Marou Hanoi that has just celebrated its first anniversary.

We feel that we made the right choice: Vietnam is developing fast and doing a great job attracting foreign investors, businesses and visitors, many of them from France, and we are happy to offer them a special Vietnamese chocolate with the French connections.

Lionel Adenot, CEO, Decathlon Vietnam Co., Ltd:

vietnam a place for french businesses to succeed

Decathlon designs and produces all products for sportspeople. We have been present in Vietnam for 22 years now, starting with textile and shoes.

Over the years, we have established long partnerships with many local suppliers as subcontractors of production. Two years ago, we started retailing in Vietnam through e-commerce, offering all the equipment - head to toe - in 50 sports. Fortunately, we were successful and decided to extend even further, to serve more local customers who love sports.

We recognize that the e-commerce trend in Vietnam carries great potential, given its young and active population, and this channel will be very important for us in the future. Besides e-commerce, we plan to open our first store in 2019 to serve more local consumers via omni-channel sales. We will begin with big cities then we will expand to another cities and provinces nearby.

Hopefully, in the next 10 years, we will be able to serve Vietnamese users nationwide. Decathlon was established in 1976 in France, and we are present in 45 countries now, for retail. Vietnam is the biggest destination for Decathlon in Southeast Asia, in term of production.

Besides retailing, we would like to focus on production. Last year, production grew 30 percent. So we will recruit more staff for expansion in the coming years.

Currently, we have a total of 400 people in Vietnam who are the key to our growth.

To succeed in business, it is necessary to understand the local business culture. Moreover, we need to start by recruiting the right people and take care of them to make them stay with us in the long run.

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