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VN firms urged to use e-commerce

VN firms urged to use e-commerce

FRIDAY, October 21, 2016

Vietnamese enterprises, especially small- and medium-sized ones, should increase the use of e-commerce to boost their exports and showcase their products to potential partners globally, a seminar heard in HCM City on october 20.

Nguyen Thi Hanh, chief representative of the Viet Nam E-Commerce and Information Technology Agency (Vecita) in HCM City, said Viet Nam was among countries with a high growth rate in internet penetration and has around 50 million internet users or more than half of its population.

Its key export markets like the US, Japan, South Korea and the EU have high rates of internet use, and it would be very effective if enterprises know how to use the internet to access them, she said.

"But the use of e-commerce among Vietnamese exporters remains low," she told the seminar organised by the world's leading e-commerce company, Alibaba, OSB Investment and Technology JSC, VPBank, and the Post and Telecommunication Insurance Joint Stock Corporation (PTI).

A survey by Vecita of more than 800 export firms found that only 42 per cent of them have websites.

Most surveyed firms contacted their business partners through direct meetings (59 per cent) and via trade fairs and trade promotion programmes (19 per cent), while only 19 per cent said they approached potential buyers through websites, e-commerce platforms and email, she said.

In the survey, more than 59 per cent of enterprises said e-commerce was "effective" for exports and 14 per cent said "ineffective," she said.

Le Dang Doanh, former director of the Central Institute for Economic Management, said, existing and future free trade agreements would provide opportunities for Vietnamese firms to boost exports, but the competition would be fiercer.

Vietnamese exporters have been encountering challenges in a fast-changing global economy and due to the slow growth of the global economy and the depreciation of the British pound, he said.

This requires them to adopt effective measures to boost exports, he said.

Tran Xuan Thuy, the country manager of Alibaba in Viet Nam, said cross-border transactions were shifting from a traditional environment to an online environment to optimise operations.

With advantages like low costs, convenience and absence of geographical restrictions, e-commerce offers opportunities for small-scale firms to compete, explore and expand markets, he said.

Speaking about her experience in using e-commerce to promote exports, Le Thi Thien Ngan, director of Paper Colour Co Ltd, which makes 3D pop-up cards for export, said her company had been exporting online since 2014 and enjoyed great success.

From making 1,000 products a month, the company has expanded to produce 22,000-24,000 now, she said.

Alibaba, OSB, VPBank and PTI have signed an agreement to offer exporters services to enable them to access the global market.

Hanh said Viet Nam's e-commerce sector had grown at 25-30 per cent annually in recent years, and this was expected to continue for the next five years. — VNS