2009 was a busy year for franchises with more and more well-known global brand names appearing in Vietnam’s market as well as Vietnamese trademarks springing up in foreign markets.

To date, 39 overseas companies, mostly from the US , UK , Canada , Switzerland , Italy and Australia, doing in the fields of fast food, restaurant, and fashion, have been licensed to do franchise deals in Vietnam, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

They include the joint US-UK company Hard Rock International which has franchised off the Hard Rock Cafe to the Viet Thai International Company (VTI), investor in Highland Cafe outlets in Vietnam and Japan’s Family Mart, which has linked up with the Phu Thai group in Ho Chi Minh City to develop a distribution system for Japanese goods.

This year also witnessed the successful franchising of three Vietnamese enterprises in overseas markets, namely Fashion T&T, Pho 24 and Cafe Bobby Brewers.

Businesses, especially those who want to expand their trademarks, choose franchising as it helps them to save on costs, minimise risk and share the management burden, reported Pham Dinh Thuong from the MoIT’s Legal Division.

It is also a suitable and effective way of enterprises consolidating their domestic market share and entering overseas markets gradually, he added.

Pho 24 is a successful example of the franchise business, as six years after it was first started up, it has seen a total of 70 franchised restaurants set up, both in and out of the country.

Recently, it opened its first restaurant in Hong Kong and a second in the Republic of Korea.

The company expects to set up more shops in Japan and the US in 2010.

At present, there are around 70 franchising networks operating in Vietnam, mainly Malaysia’s Parkson, Germany’s Metro and the US’s CBRE, Dilmah and KFC. Several other Vietnamese businesses will soon join these networks, such as Trung Nguyen Coffee, Kinh Do Bakery, AQ Silk and 24-Seven.