A business-to-business meeting between a Vietnamese supplier and AEON Vietnam (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) - Japanese retailer AEON Vietnam Co.,Ltd is seeking to increase the number of local businesses in its supply chain system in Vietnam.

It is holding an exhibition, which opened on July 29, at AEON Mall in Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Phu district, and worked with 61 businesses who are potential suppliers.

The week-long exhibition showcases products distributed by 24 businesses, including tea, coffee, chocolate, cashew, and dried fruits.

The businesses at the exhibition and meetings can become AEON Vietnam's suppliers if their products are found suitable.

The events are being organised with the help of the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of HCM City (ITPC).

Pham Thiet Hoa, its director, said the ITPC had informed interested businesses about the technical specifications demanded by AEON and its Top Valu brand, and advised them on packaging and pricing.

"Products good enough for AEON Vietnam means they are good for AEON’s outlets around the world," he added.

Nguyen Anh Ngoc, deputy head of wholesale at DannyGreen Co. Ltd, which distributes Japanese cantaloupe, said if Vietnamese businesses could become a part of major retail chains, they could take their products to more foreign markets and consumers.

"Vietnamese consumers still have a preference for imported goods and perceive them automatically as better than Vietnamese goods.

“However, Vietnamese businesses are striving to export, and the quality of their products has improved greatly.

“The appearance of domestic products on the store shelves of foreign distribution systems is a testament to their high standards."

To improve their competitiveness, especially with foreign goods, it was important to promote them and raise awareness of high-quality local products amongst Vietnamese consumers, she added.

Seo Fumio, chief merchandising officer of AEON Vietnam, said while consumers regard safety as a high priority, many have limited incomes and thus prefer affordable prices.

He commended the ability of Vietnamese businesses to produce high-quality goods, but said many did not know how to improve, something at which they needed to take a look.

ITPC has been organising a number of networking events and exhibitions to help Vietnamese businesses enter big, modern distribution channels.

In early July Thailand’s Central Group, the owner of supermarket chain Big C, notified its 200 textile and garment suppliers about the termination of their contracts, leading to protests from them.

It took a meeting with the Ministry of Industry and Trade for Big C to resume purchases from around 150 of them.

Analysts have expressed worries that foreign brands sold by large foreign retailers are taking market share away from domestic goods.

Vu Kim Hanh, chairwoman of the High Quality Vietnamese Product Business Association, said the situation highlighted the lack of competitiveness of domestic goods. - VNS/VNA