Setting sights on a successful 2022

January 04, 2022 | 10:00
A new year is here, and with that, leaders of foreign-invested enterprises in Vietnam sat down with VIR to talk about how their companies have performed in 2021, and reveal their exciting expectations for the year ahead.
Setting sights on a successful 2022
Setting sights on a successful 2022

Adam Sitkoff - Executive director, American Chamber of Commerce in Hanoi

Setting sights on a successful 2022

Vietnam and the United States have developed a healthy commercial relationship that has created jobs, tax revenues, and opportunities for citizens of both countries. The US is Vietnam’s largest export market. Vietnam also receives billions of US dollars of foreign investment from US companies each year - much of it to build integrated supply chains that benefit American consumers. At the same time, Vietnam has become one of America’s fastest-growing export markets.

Right now is an important time for Vietnam. We see many businesses here that continue to face significant operational challenges, especially with the frequent changes in regulations that are announced and implemented on very short notice. We need policies that are practical, effective, and affordable. Most importantly, we need to see better coordination at all levels of government on implementing pandemic-related policies. We are working with the government to ensure a fair, transparent, predictable, and streamlined regulatory environment that values innovation. In these uncertain times, the regulatory approval processes for foreign investment should be less burdensome to encourage and expedite more US investment to support post-COVID economic recovery here.

As major investors here, American companies have an interest in Vietnam’s continued success. AmCham members stand together with the Vietnamese people and US businesses continue to donate goods and other resources to assist outbreak areas.

Jonathan Moreno - General director, Diversatek Vietnam

Setting sights on a successful 2022

In 2020, our global medical device company, Diversatek Healthcare, saw demand for its gastro-intestinal diagnostic and therapeutic products decline. Of course, in mid-2021, Vietnam entered a strict lockdown preventing full production capabilities. At the same time, the rest of the world’s demand was recovering and rebounding which created a double setback.

With this said, the challenges also provided the opportunity to demonstrate the excellence, determination, commitment, and resiliency of our Vietnam operations. Our chairman has expressed gratitude and pride to the whole company for how the Vietnam team overcame these challenges. He noted that the Vietnam team engaged in selfless acts such as continuing production of our important medical equipment by living and working at the factory for several months.

Despite the pandemic, in both 2020 and 2021, Diversatek transferred additional product lines to our Vietnam operation. These transfers also required the investment of additional capital for equipment and staff to broaden the operational capabilities.

Going into 2022, we believe that normal production will resume along with the extended product lines. Combined, we should see sales double 2019 levels within 18 months. We are also investing in additional strategic leadership for the Vietnam operation to support growth for years to come.

We need the government to maintain its reasonable response to living safely with COVID-19, securing and providing booster vaccines, and supporting companies by reopening the borders so that Vietnamese/expatriate professionals can travel for sales and other critical business activities.

It is also very important that Vietnam continue government efforts that make conducting business fair, transparent, and predictable. While tax and other incentives are helpful for business expansion, predictability and ease of doing business are most important.

Hoang Tri Mai - Managing director, Airbus Vietnam

Setting sights on a successful 2022

We reaffirm our commitment to our presence in Vietnam, as the country remains a key market for Airbus across its commercial aircraft, defence, space, and helicopter businesses.

Airbus commercial aircraft form the backbone of airline fleets in the country, contributing strongly to the Vietnamese economy. Today there are 216 Airbus aircraft in the fleets of airlines in Vietnam, with another 95 on order for future delivery. In addition, Airbus has developed its industrial presence in Vietnam, where a growing number of local aerospace companies supply parts for Airbus commercial aircraft including the A320 Family, A330, and A350.

We see significant potential to develop our partnerships in Vietnam and to support the growth of the local aerospace sector and are actively looking at opportunities to place more work packages in the country.

Also, Airbus has commitments to supporting aeronautical studies in Vietnam. We have been proud to partner with French academic aeronautical institutes to set up an aeronautics department at the University of Science and Technology of Hanoi. The university today offers a bachelor of science in aeronautical maintenance and engineering operations and a master’s of science in international air transport operations.

Airbus itself is built on international collaboration and is part of our DNA – and we want Vietnam to be part of that story. Vietnam offers great potential for a thriving aerospace sector, and we will continue to explore ways to further strengthen our partnerships here in the years ahead.

John Fering - Regional managing director, Cargill Animal Nutrition Southeast Asia

Setting sights on a successful 2022

Cargill was among the first American companies to enter Vietnam, shortly after the US and Vietnam normalised trade ties in 1995. We have built a legacy of helping Vietnamese animal raisers thrive.

Building on that foundation, and despite the volatility of the past year, Cargill turned in a solid performance in Vietnam. We attribute this to our focus on doing the right thing for our customers, people, and communities. We continue to invest in launching high-value products, solutions, and services that help customers improve returns on investment, regardless of market conditions.

Throughout the pandemic, we have contributed to communities as well as to frontline workers, offering financial support, food staples, and care packages, as well as contributing to the national vaccination fund. Our efforts here have been widely lauded, both as a corporate citizen and also as a provider of standard-setting products to Vietnam’s agriculture sector.

Looking into 2022, we will continue to focus on our priority to create a customer-driven, innovative organisation. Our investment in Vietnam continues, with work on our $28 million speciality nutrition plant in the southern province of Dong Nai in full swing for the year ahead.

We are extremely honoured to have been able to develop the lives and livelihoods of people around Vietnam – not just our team, but for the farmers who nourish the people of this country every day.

Katsuhiko Usui - General director, Sapporo Vietnam Ltd.

Setting sights on a successful 2022

In 2021, we expect to still achieve some targets in terms of business activities, achieved thanks to the efforts of all Sapporo Vietnam staff.

With Long An Brewery, we spent three months implementing a stay-at-work model, thereby maintaining continuous production activities and serving domestic and export markets. In particular, because Long An Brewery plays the role of an important production base for Sapporo Group, the effort to maintain the operation of this brewery has greatly contributed to the smooth operation of the global supply chain.

For branding and sales activities, we have innovated, renewed, and enhanced the quality of Sapporo Premium Beer, and implemented a super-focused strategy. These efforts have helped us improve our brand image and increase sales in some important channels and regions.

In addition, our back office also applied many new tech solutions, thereby helping to operate remote work smoothly. Although most of our employees have worked from home, we still deliver work quickly and efficiently.

In 2022, we will continue to implement our business strategy with the same direction in 2021 to build our unique business model, but there will be many new activities to help the company achieve the best results.

In terms of branding, we will increase communication and interaction with consumers on multiple platforms, thereby creating more and more Sapporo fans. In particular, we are planning to launch new products in the near future to bring more new value for consumers.

In addition, our export segment also plays an important role, whereby we continue to strengthen the production base at Long An Brewery and increase exports, contributing to Sapporo’s development.

In Vietnam, support policies will be needed for the domestic food and beverage segment to return to stable operation, and at the same time to open up more strongly to other industries, such as domestic and foreign tourism. Besides this, securing human resources for enterprises is also a matter of widespread concern and is expected to receive support from the government.

Duc Phung - Country general manager, Gojek Vietnam

Setting sights on a successful 2022

Based on the principle of using technology to create social impact and support the ecosystem, Gojek’s 2021 initiatives revolved around three main pillars.

Firstly, we prioritised health and safety features and products. The cashless payment feature was introduced on the Gojek app to enable contactless transactions between our driver-partners and users. When we launched GoCar ride-hailing service, we prioritised the GoCar Protect product line, which incorporates additional safety and hygiene features for greater protection of riders.

Secondly, during the social distancing period, we actively sought out measures to keep the supply chain undisrupted while maintaining our partners’ continuous income-generating operations and meeting people’s daily needs for essential goods. We also launched initiatives to support our driver and merchant partners and help our ecosystem and the community overcome and adapt to the pandemic.

And finally, we cared about the physical and mental health of our employees by undertaking initiatives to enable the team to balance life and work during the work-from-home period. In 2021, Gojek offered nine Gojek Global Holidays to give employees more time to take care of themselves.

The pandemic has seen big shifts in consumers’ behaviours and spending habits, including the switch to online services and cashless payments, and greater concerns about health and safety. In 2022, Gojek will focus on features and products that promote health and safety, and continue to invest in payment services to consolidate our Gojek triangle of services that consists of payment, transportation, and food. Users can also expect from us new products in expanded markets.

Alex Crane - Managing director, Knight Frank Vietnam

Setting sights on a successful 2022

For 2022 we really only have two targets: our people and our clients. Knight Frank reached 125 years old in 2021 so we are attracting the best Vietnamese talent to start a legacy company that will be rooted in Vietnam for the next 125 years.

Knight Frank’s global network will deliver new entrants and new investors to Vietnam, but with our founding team members, we have a broad and diverse client base already in Vietnam for whom we need to continue to provide first-class service, advice, and results. This enables a wonderfully simplistic strategy of focusing on core sectors of our market and being the best in that arena.

We are able to be nimble in our approach to growth and so we will be looking actively to add services but we must build our firm on a core client base being served by the most knowledgeable team. Vietnam’s growth story is one that attracted Knight Frank to invest, but that growth can mean the markets we operate in are hot, so our own progress must be focused on those areas that present rational and strategic reasons for us to do business.

Berend van Wel - Managing director, FrieslandCampina Vietnam

Setting sights on a successful 2022

In 2021, together with everyone in the country, FrieslandCampina Vietnam employees overcame many difficulties, including spending 90 days living and working on-site. We made it through the year through resilience and community love, while still bringing the best products to Vietnamese citizens.

We always consider ourselves a part of this country – a Vietnamese company by the Vietnamese and for the Vietnamese. We know we can only succeed in a successful and growing Vietnam, and that is the context underlying our purpose: to help Vietnam leap forward and reach higher.

In 2022, we look forward to a brighter year. The pandemic will be brought under control and a better life for everyone is the aim. We will continue our mission and our corporate purpose through commitments towards better nutrition, better living for our farmers, a better climate, and better packaging.

It is a complex journey, but I am very happy and confident to share with you that we are fast and solidly moving forward towards that goal.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Hoa - Director, EUBIZ Vietnam JSC

Setting sights on a successful 2022

As the pandemic emerged, EUBIZ quickly came up with a plan to develop more online channels in international e-commerce and digital marketing channels with the objectives of expanding brand coverage to the world and distribution channels to American and European markets.

EUBIZ’s products are well received and have very positive reviews regarding product quality, and by the end of 2020, it reached the 100 best sellers of cashew nuts in the US via Amazon.

In early 2021, EUBIZ continued to successfully protect its brand in the US, and has a brand shop in the States through Alibaba and Amazon. Moreover, EUBIZ has continued to protect the trademark in Europe.

In terms of quality control and management activities, EUBIZ has continued to perfect the traceability system according to blockchain technology managed by the material, processing, and export departments. This helps EUBIZ stay transparent in the operation process, creating a quality reputation with customers. Especially, in the direction of sustainable agricultural development, EUBIZ has built material zones in Dak Nong, Binh Phuoc, Son La, and Lao Cai provinces for organic implementation according to USAID standards for 2022.

Besides that, human resource management is a key development direction of ours for digital transformation. We have been developing an e-learning training system for employees in international marketing and business, export, and so on.

Kinoshita Tadahiro - General director, Sojitz Vietnam Co., Ltd.

Setting sights on a successful 2022

Earlier in 2021, production activities in our factories were forced to stop. However, early use of a stay-at-work model and persevering negotiations with the local government helped us quickly resume these activities. Our company also implemented remote working, adjusting company regulations in time to meet the directives and requirements from the local authorities and still ensure work.

For over 30 years, Sojitz has developed a variety of businesses in the country and contributed to the development of Vietnam. We have two industrial parks in Dong Nai province, and our target in 2022 is to develop more environment-friendly industrial parks with clean energy and a high-advanced wastewater treatment system.

Moreover, Sojitz is a shareholder of Phu My 3 gas power plant and Song My LNG power plant. Sojitz focuses on developing a liquefied natural gas terminal and power plant in the north. In addition, Sojitz is planning to develop the business of production, processing, and sale of beef cattle, collaborating with Vinamilk in Vinh Phuc province. In the future, we would like to expand this market to other ASEAN countries.

Sojitz would like to ask the Vietnamese government to ensure pandemic control policy going forward can thoroughly help the operations and sites of each company through in the new context. We also would like to ask the government to introduce a specific policy if F0 cases appear at factories, to help control the impact on production and avoid disrupting the value chain.

Henry Bott - Chief representative, Swire Properties

Setting sights on a successful 2022

Despite having various individual business operations in Vietnam since the early 1990s, Swire Group opened a representative office in Vietnam in 2019 with the objective of establishing a long-term presence in the country. Shortly afterwards, Swire Properties’ made two minority investments into luxury real estate projects on Thu Thiem, including The River Thu Thiem with Refico.

Following on from these initial forays, we are looking at several potential residential-led mixed-use projects in Ho Chi Minh City, where we can work with our trusted partners and play an active role in the design and project management.

We are always looking out for opportunities where we can combine our international brand and design expertise with partners’ local knowledge and networks to create a powerful value proposition for customers. In this endeavour, we are looking for partners who share our core values and commitment to design quality and innovation as we strive to introduce high-quality products and raise the bar for residential and mixed-use development in the market.

We are also looking for investment opportunities in healthcare, fast-moving consumer goods, and plastics recycling in Vietnam.

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