Firms must step up to join foreign distribution chains hinh anh 1Delegates in HCM City exchange information yesterday on the sidelines of a training workshop to help enterprises take part in foreign distribution networks. (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) - To sell their products to foreign distribution channels, Vietnamese businesses need to pay more attention to product design, quality assurance and after-sales services, speakers said at a training workshop held in HCM City on July 13.

Yuichiro Shiotani, Director General of Aeon Top Value Company Limited, said that local companies should add more value to their products.

Aeon Top Value has been working to put a number of made-in-Vietnam products, which are available in Aeon Vietnam retail stores, on the shelves of its stores in Japan, according to the director general.

Many Vietnamese goods are available at foreign retailers’stores in Vietnam, but they are still for domestic consumption only.

To be offered abroad, the products must meet other requirements.

Nick Reitmeier, executive vice president for international food & alcohol buying for Central Food Retail, which is part of Thailand’s Central Group, said that besides focusing on quality assurance, Vietnamese producers needed to improve product design.

Cao Thi Phi Van, deputy director of the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of HCM City (ITPC), said: “Besides product quality, nice design, competitive prices, and good financial capacity, local businesses need to understand the export process and norms set by foreign distribution systems."

ITPC this year has helped more than 30 Vietnamese companies enter the Aeon Vietnam supermarket system.

ITPC is in charge of selecting firms based on technical criteria provided by Aeon, and through an introduction by ITPC, businesses can connect directly with the purchasing managers of the supermarket. 

Nguyen Ngoc Luan, Director of the Lam San Agriculture Cooperative, said Vietnamese firms still encountered difficulties in accessing foreign distribution systems because, to sell through modern trade channels, they needed to ensure consistent quality as well as other quality standards.

Paul Le at Central Group Vietnam said that Big C and Central Group Vietnam in 2016 launched the programme “Supporting Small and Medium Enterprises” to help firms understand modern trade, expand their market, and contribute to the development of Vietnamese brands.

Enterprises in the programme received full support via training (modern trade integration, packaging, merchandising and so on), financial advantages in terms of payment terms, logistics, and capital for investment through Central Group’s banking partners.

“We strongly believe in Vietnamese products and we will contribute to including domestic brands in our network in Vietnam and help brands be ready for international expansion,” he said.

Organised by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Central Group, Japan’s Aeon, and France’s Auchan, the training workshop is part of the governmental project “Developing Direct Participation of Vietnamese Enterprises in Foreign Distribution System up to 2020”.

To effectively implement the project, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has called for close cooperation between state management bodies, trade promotion agencies, local governments, enterprises and distributors.

The ministry will also partner with several foreign distributors and hold Vietnamese Products Week in many countries, including Japan, Thailand, the US, Russia, Australia and others, to promote quality Vietnamese products and connect Vietnamese firms with international distribution chains.

“Vietnamese Products Week” events have been held in the EU and Asia since 2011, which have helped Vietnamese firms export through foreign distribution channels, cut intermediary costs, and bring higher value, according to the ministry.-VNS/VNA