Speakers discuss the role of social media in helping SMEs participate in global value chains at a forum held on October 17in HCM City. (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) -  Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which make up 90 percent of businesses in Vietnam, should take advantage of new marketing tools like social media to have access to global value chains, experts said at a meeting held in Ho Chi Minh City on October 17.

Speaking at the forum on SMEs, Mai Huynh, a representative of a Facebook team based in Singapore, said there were 53 million active Vietnamese Facebook users on a monthly basis.

Of the figure, 96 percent use Facebook on their smartphones, while 68 percent of Vietnamese view pages about enterprises selling products on Facebook, creating a huge potential for online marketing.

Tran Thị Thanh Tam, deputy director of the SMEs Promotion Centre of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said that SMEs were expected to have great opportunities to enter the global market in the digital economy.

SMEs should take advantage of digital applications and minimise logistics and transaction costs by using the powerful tools of social media, she said.

The fourth industrial revolution, which is digitally based, can help SMEs purchase goods and services in global value chains, opening up market access, attracting foreign investment, and accessing advanced production technology, according to Tam.

However, most SMEs lack international customers and markets. Only 21 percent of Vietnamese SMEs participate in global value chains.

This challenge results in SMEs being less likely to benefit from the advantages of FDI, which include technology transfer, knowledge transfer and enhanced productivity.

In addition, a major barrier for SMEs is the high cost of technology, while knowledge about e-commerce is still limited, hindering growth.

More than 90 percent of Vietnamese businesses are SMEs. They often encounter difficulties in accessing capital and technologies and lack management skills and connectivity, all of which are major hindrances when joining supply chains.

Links among producers and distributors in supply chains are weak and have created unhealthy competition, making it more difficult for Vietnamese to join big markets.

Though the Government has stepped up reform of institutions and improved the business environment, experts said it should minimise administrative procedures to help firms join supply chains.

The forum was organised by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and Facebook. -VNA