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Thinking Big: Vietnamese enterprises aim high to secure success
Lawyer Ha Huy Phong 05:20, 2024/02/19
There is a lack of initiative on the part of Vietnamese companies to seize opportunities, improve their awareness and capabilities, and expand their vision for greater achievements.

In 2023, many local insiders witnessed VinFast's efforts in its global projection when it became the first Vietnamese automaker to be listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

This is a significant milestone and an iconic symbol of Vietnamese companies venturing into the international market. However, VinFast is not the first Vietnamese company to go global. There have been hundreds of Vietnamese companies that have made outbound investments and achieved great success.


VinFast starts trading its shares on the Nasdaq Stock Market in 2023. Photo: VNA

Big seas, big opportunities

Viettel Global reported that in 2023, the company continued to reaffirm its position as Vietnam's leading outbound investor. Its cash flow from the third quarter of 2023 reached VND2.86 trillion (US$117.4 million), accumulating nearly VND5 trillion (US$205 million) in the first nine months of the year.

In early December 2023, FPT also announced that it had reached the milestone of earning US$1 billion from the overseas market.

In addition to Viettel and FPT, there are many other companies such as Vinamilk, TH Group, Hoang Anh Gia Lai, and Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG) that have invested overseas and achieved favorable business results.

In addition to outbound investors, there are thousands of Vietnamese companies that export goods and trade abroad, contributing significantly to the country's revenue and expanding the outreach of Vietnamese products and brands to markets around the world.

Figures from the General Statistics Office showed that in the first nine months of 2023, Vietnamese investors poured $244.8 million into 84 newly licensed investment projects abroad. Vietnam's total overseas investment (including new and adjusted capital) reached US$416.8 million.

In terms of foreign trade, in the first ten months of 2023, the country's total import-export turnover of goods reached $557.95 billion, with an estimated record trade surplus of $24.61 billion. These figures indicate that Vietnamese enterprises are stronger exporters than overseas investors. Net income from overseas investment remains modest.

But these statistics also paint a different picture. Vietnamese enterprises are no longer novices in foreign markets, as there are positive precedents.

Today, Vietnamese enterprises are faced with significant opportunities. As of October 2023, Vietnam has signed and negotiated 17 free trade agreements. Among them, 10 agreements are currently in force and being diligently implemented, three agreements have been signed or negotiations completed but are not yet operational, and four agreements are currently under negotiation.

At present, Vietnam has diplomatic relations with 192 countries and economic relations with more than 221 foreign markets. The country is also a member of various international organizations and forums. These macro-level opportunities ensure a legal framework and fair treatment for Vietnamese enterprises and their products to enter the international market.

Challenges and opportunities: Vietnamese SMEs seek growth and competitiveness

In 2023, Vietnam  welcomed many foreign leaders, such as US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who came to Vietnam accompanied by hundreds of large enterprises with ambitious investment and business plans. Following these visits, economic activities are expected to flourish and provide numerous opportunities for Vietnamese businesses.

In addition, tensions between some major economies have led to the relocation of investment capital and factories to Vietnam as a new destination, resulting in the establishment of thousands of supporting manufacturing companies and other business opportunities.

The current situation and opportunities indicate that Vietnamese enterprises face the convergence of favorable conditions to rise and become an effective actor in the international economy. Their international integration is not only about revenue and profit, but also about reaffirming the courage, strength, resilience, and aspirations of the Vietnamese people. Their greatest challenge is the task of self-improvement.

Currently, over 97% of Vietnamese businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with weak financial resources, vulnerable to market fluctuations, and low competitiveness compared to international peers.

However, the biggest shortcoming of most SMEs is their lack of awareness and proactivity. Some companies still operate with short-term thinking, engage in opportunistic practices, and fail to plan strategically for the long term, resulting in a lack of consistent investment in both human and financial resources. These companies also often have little initiative to seize opportunities, improve their awareness and capabilities, and expand their vision for greater achievement.

There is underinvestment in building corporate culture and complying with laws and regulations. A business mindset based on relationships, rather than one based on principles and well-thought-out plans, is still a deep-seated problem. This is the root cause of hesitation and uncertainty in business operations over time.

There are also external factors that make it challenging for Vietnamese businesses to grow, such as the immaturity of market economy factors, including a lack of transparency and effectiveness in policies and laws, as well as widespread administrative intervention in market activities.

Negative attitudes and behaviors on the part of a small segment of regulators make entrepreneurs reluctant to make long-term, systematic investments. These negative factors also turn into negative forces within companies through chain effects and linkages.

In addition, Vietnamese businesses face many disadvantages compared to those in other countries, such as high cost of capital, difficult borrowing conditions, and short loan maturities, which create difficulties in financial and business planning.

From an objective point of view, as Vietnam's economy has changed and flourished over the years, historical and inherent shortcomings and difficulties are being addressed and resolved rapidly over time.

The government, ministries and sectors have been aware of these problems and have made continuous efforts to assist the business community in overcoming the challenges.

TAG: Vietnam news Vinfast Viettel Vietnamese enterprises
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Thinking Big: Vietnamese enterprises aim high to secure success
There is a lack of initiative on the part of Vietnamese companies to seize opportunities, improve their awareness and capabilities, and expand their vision for greater achievements.