VN e-commerce startups ready to compete with int’l rivals

November 21, 2016 | 09:05 am GMT+7

Vietnamese e-commerce startups are capable of competing with international companies, which are increasingly coming to Viet Nam to set up business, delegates heard at a forum yesterday in HCM City.


“More foreign investors are coming to Viet Nam, but are not able to catch up with the character of the new emerging market with its unstable policies,” Le Hai Binh, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Electronic Commerce Association, said at the Viet Nam Startup forum.
The forum was held during Global Entrepreneurship Week, an event celebrated in more than 160 countries by 10 million people.
“Vietnamese startups should be confident to compete with foreign companies on their home ground,” Binh said.
Huynh Viet Phuong, head of representative office of Viet Nam Internet in HCM City said: “The challenges for foreign investors are our advantages. This is strength for Vietnamese startup and you don’t need to worry about their money or experience.”
But Phuong also suggested startups should control their quality of products, know who their customers are and should not do business in a hurry.
“Around 95 per cent of startups in Silicon Valley failed because they did not have the right development trend,” Lucy Keoni, a US startup expert, said.
She stressed the role of investors and trainers in guiding startup owners and staff.
“This is the same for Vietnamese startups. Before starting business operations, you should set out your development path,” Binh added.
Huynh Ngoc Duy, CEO of Mat Bao JSC, said: “Vietnamese startups dare not share their ideas because they are afraid of stealing, but it is not fully true.”
“Global startups often have their own community to share ideas because if you discuss one idea from different aspects with many people, you can learn and avoid mistakes,” he added.
“The Vietnamese Government has paid a lot of attention to developing the business community, especially for startups. There are 600,000 enterprises and 4 million households contributing to economic development,” Vo Tan Thanh, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said.
By 2020, Viet Nam plans to have at least 1 million enterprises, with the private economic sector contributing 45 – 50 per cent of GDP.
“VCCI is proud of being the 13th partner of the Global Entrepreneurship Network and we are trying to deploy many startup encouragement projects around the country,” he added.
Corporate social responsibility
At the forum, VCCI spoke about corporate social responsibility policies of companies.
Le Thi Thu Thuy, vice director of the Small- and Medium-sized Enterprise Promotion Centre, of VCCI, said: “The Global Entrepreneurial Week is a big opportunity for many attendees to develop their local and international business networks and learn from their peers.
“We want to show these start-ups that corporate social responsibility policies such as zero tolerance towards threatened wildlife consumption can attract new business and foreign investment. Vietnamese e-commerce businesses have a unique opportunity to be leaders in the reduction of wildlife trafficking,” she said.
TRAFFIC’s research has identified e-commerce as an important area to target to reduce wildlife trafficking. The Viet Nam Startup forum is a key way to reach companies entering the sector.
In June, TRAFFIC conducted a 23-day rapid assessment of the top eight e-commerce websites in Viet Nam to determine the prevalence of wildlife sales online. For 30 minutes each day, TRAFFIC searched for wildlife products that ranged from birds and lizards to rhino horn and ivory.
Over the course of the assessment, TRAFFIC found 180 advertisements for wildlife – 64 per cent of which advertised illegal commodities.
“TRAFFIC’s rapid assessment suggests e-commerce websites are a low risk channel to supply consumers with illicit wildlife products,” said Madelon Willemsen, head of TRAFFIC in Viet Nam.
“With the growth of the e-commerce market in Viet Nam, we must closely monitor activity in this sector and engage businesses to act against the illegal trade of wildlife.
“Through TRAFFIC’s partnerships with civil society organizations like VCCI, we are encouraging the business community, including the e-commerce sector, to adopt corporate social responsibility policies that reduce illegal trade and consumption of wildlife,” she added.