Vietnamese brands look to conquer global markets

Ambitious Vietnamese companies are overcoming challenges to bring their products to the global market

In June 2016, Vietnam Dairy Product Join Stock Company (JSC), more popularly known as Vinamilk, successfully introduced made-in-Vietnam products to the US, with its condensed milk and condensed creamer hitting the shelves in Arizona and California supermarkets.

The success marked an important progression in Vinamilk’s plan to bring Vietnamese products to the world.

Vinamilk accomplished the feat through Driftwood Diary, its subsidiary in California.

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The Vietnamese dairy company’s purchase of a struggling dairy factory in Driftwood surprised many, considering the US is a dairy powerhouse, with thousands of brands competing in a ruthless market.

In 2013, despite concerns about the risk of the investment, Vinamilk bought 70% of Driftwood Diary’s shares at US$7 million, recognizing the long-established company’s potential as one of the dominant milk suppliers for schools in northern California.

After two years, Driftwood began to generate profit, prompting Vinamilk to buy 100% of Driftwood’s shares at the end of 2015.

In addition to the US, Vinamilk’s products are now present in forty countries and territories in the world, generating US$250 to US$270 million in revenue every year.

Mai Kieu Lien, Vinamilk CEO, said that in order to achieve its goal of becoming one of the top 50 milk companies in the world, Vinamilk considers investment in foreign countries one of its primary strategies in coming years.

Duc Thanh Wood Processing JSC, a wood manufacturer specializing in the production of kitchenware and furniture, is also exporting its products to 45 countries, gaining a firm foothold in 20 markets, including many that have high safety standards, including Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Europe.

Having just finished a kitchenware order for a Korean customer, Le Hong Thang, Duc Thanh CEO, is now processing orders from Colombia and Myanmar, two newly-found markets.

“It is getting much tougher given price competition and high expectations from customers,” Thang said, who has still set an ambitious goal of US$12.5 million in export for this year, a 10% increase from 2015.

Ton Dong A JSC, another Vietnamese company with global dreams, has just exported 8,000 tons of galvalume steel sheet valued at US$5.5 million to the US in mid-August.

This is one of the batches in Ton Dong A’s US$60-million deal with a customer in 2016.

In the first half of this year, Ton Dong A’s exports topped US$45 million, US$55 million short of its goal of US$100 million for 2016.

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