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Exports show their best face to Vietnam

A sharp hike in Korean cosmetics and food exports to Vietnam in recent years has prompted the need for firms from the two countries to step up bilateral investment and trade.

Within many activities to celebrate 20 years of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Korea (December 1992-December 2012), Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (Kotra) hosted Hallyu Korean Wave Products Show from November 6-7, 2012 at Keangnam Garden west of Hanoi.

It showcased several dozen booths with more than 40 Korean businesses whose products are favoured by Vietnamese consumers in electronics, household appliances, cosmetics and food.

The opportunities for new emerging Asian markets to fuel consumption are enormous as Western countries, particularly those in the Eurozone, are struggling with persistent public debt woes. Vietnamese consumers and those from other Asian have a growing appetite for Korean-made food and cosmetics shown through doubled import value of these products into Vietnamese and respective Asian markets in the past three years.

Korean Customs figures show that its cosmetics export value hiked sharply from $216 million in 2008 to $485 million in 2011. In an exciting development, it is expected to eclipse $561 million this year. Of this, exports to five Southeast Asian countries Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia rose markedly from $28.6 million in 2008 to $128 million in 2011.

Korean export value of food and beverages to Asian markets also picked up from $197.8 million in 2008 to $428.7 million in 2011, with $456 million on the cards for this year.

Industry experts assumed positive growth figures of new emerging economies and the implications of ‘Korean trendy music wave’ like Kpop resulted in the growing preference for using Korean goods, particularly among young and middle-income people.

“Many quality Korean goods remain unknown to Vietnamese consumers. That was why Kotra hosted the exhibition with a view to creating a platform for both countries’ businesses to make their products and services expose to consumers,” said Kotra deputy chair Woo Ki Hoon.

“Vietnam is appreciated for having relatively stable development. Hence, Korean firms expect deeper penetration of Korean goods in the Vietnamese market in forthcoming months,” Woo said.

Korea’s Framework Fashion Company director Ho Yeon Jung said he was proud to be chosen to present Korea’s latest trendy designs to Vietnamese consumers.

“I am studying the Vietnamese market’s needs, particularly in Hanoi and HCM City. We want to team up with Vietnamese distributors and producers as partners to provide Vietnamese youth with made-in-Korea items which are competitive in prices with fine quality compared to Chinese or Thai products,” he said.

In respect to what is trendy for Vietnamese youth, Ho said: “Albeit still not having time to stroll along Vietnamese roads, by calling on fashion shops in big trade centres I saw that young people in both countries are showcasing a changing palate for what is vogue and are fond of modern stylish designs. That is our advantage.”

The exhibition attracted a great many Vietnamese businesses in search for investment and business opportunities. For instance Le Cong Diep, director at LC Pharma in Hue, came to learn about Korean skincare product lines and medicines using herbal extractions.

“We own herbal materials and plants beneficial to health and helping refresh the skin that Korea does not or rarely has, such as yellow lingzhi mushrooms. We found some Korean partners and will scale up trade exchanges, material provision, processing or technology transfer in the coming period,” said Diep.

The two-day exhibition had posted remarkable achievements.

“This motivated us to turn the exhibition into annual event to increase visibility of Korean products in Vietnam,” said Woo.


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