Vietnamese people may spend a great deal when in Japan but encouraging them to buy Japanese goods at home is accompanied by a range of issues that need thorough consideration.
There has been a huge increase in the number of Vietnamese people visiting Japan over recent years, with the 185,000 visiting in 2015 representing a 50 per cent increase against 2014, the highest among Southeast Asian nations, according to figures from the Japan Tourism Agency.
When Vietnamese citizens visit Japan their spending is much higher than citizens from elsewhere, primarily on shopping for items such as cosmetics, clothes, electronics and smartphones.
Given this, Japanese firms are increasingly directing their sights towards Vietnam, which it clearly a large consumption market in Southeast Asia.
Penetrating into the Vietnamese market, however, is anything but straightforward. Experts shared their experience with investors on doing business in the country.
The first matter is goods circulation. Vietnamese people still have a preference for shopping at small grocery shops, not major stores, and many buy goods at convenience stores or online. There is also a difference between shopping in the north and the south, making the establishment of a distribution network become quite complicated. Japanese investors must consider the location of any shopping center they plan to build so that goods reach consumers more effectively. Many Japanese enterprises expect Vietnam to establish effective goods distribution networks aimed at identified consumer segments.
Another matter is marketing. Internet use differs between Vietnamese and Japanese people and language presents an obstacle. Many businesses lack sufficient skills to carry out an effective marketing strategy in Vietnam. They must seek advice from Vietnamese companies on the characteristics of each product so that they can penetrate into the market.
Finally, communications is not only about language but about mutual understanding. Each enterprise, when establishing any production plan, must have fully developed strategies and should find reliable Vietnamese partners.