Webinar discusses new tools for firms to seek partners amid COVID-19

A webinar was held by the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of Ho Chi Minh City (ITPC) on June 9 to discuss new connection tools for businesses to access foreign partners amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the event, ITPC Deputy Director Cao Thi Phi Van said thanks to the successful containment of the pandemic, Vietnam has started resuming production and business activities and been viewed as a safe destination by foreign investors.

However, the country’s export-oriented economy has been still badly hurt by the disease since many of its major markets are under lockdown and global trade has been disrupted by travel restrictions, Van said.

To recover foreign trade, domestic firms must take advantage of IT platforms to maintain connection with traditional partners and seek new importers, and make them adaptive to the pandemic which may be far from over.

Echoing her view, CEO of Source of Asia Thiery Mermet said the COVID-19 pandemic has not only caused stagnant production but also disrupted connection between partners. Sellers and buyers are no longer able to directly interact with each others, adding more challenges to market forecasting and significantly reducing business opportunities, he said.

Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, firms have two options, he continued, the first is to reduce their production scale and wait for the disease to end and the second is to actively renovate themselves and come up with new business strategies and new marketing tools.

The first one is safer but only those who choose to change can make use of gaping holes in the global supply chains and be fully prepared when the pandemic ends, he explained.

Director of international relations at SOA Blandie de Quatrebarber suggested Vietnamese businesses to employ digital tools to seek new customers, saying they should make their products regularly available on online platforms, such as websites and social media, and maintain close contact and become familiar with customers and their culture.

Firms must be aware that online business can become more trending in the coming time as it helps save costs and time so they need to find suitable marketing tools and strengthen connection with providers of supporting services in foreign markets so as to promptly and effectively gain access to the markets, experts said.
VNA