On 14 October, InnoLab Asia organized the Vietnam Innovation Summit 2022 – The Future of Innovation, in partnership with the Department of Science & Technology, at White Palace, Ho Chi Minh City.
Since the first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak started in Vietnam on 23 January 2020, it has been a difficult time for businesses and households to react to the new change.
Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the World Bank in Vietnam did a survey with more than 10,200 enterprises in Vietnam on their views of the pandemic’s impact, 90% of the businesses responded that they were seriously affected, either narrowing or suspending their operations or went bankrupt. More than 100,000 enterprises in Vietnam had also ceased their operations due to COVID-19.
In Session 4: Post Covid: Opportunities & Challenges, we were honored to have 3 speakers and 1 moderator to discuss how enterprises could react, tap into the new market trends, and change customer behaviors in the market.
According to Ms. Denise, the Co-Founder of Metain, all of the experiences we had before COVID are not valid anymore, we have to learn and study again to identify new opportunities in the market. She also added while SMEs and startups have more advantages to react to new opportunities as they have less hierarchy for decision-making process, the MNCs have more resources to adapt and even dominate the new market trends.
Figure 1: Ms. Denise, the Co-Founder of Metain
Mr. On Nhu Binh, Former Strategic Business Director at VNPay and Chairman of EMDDI, said that there are a lot of changes in customer behaviors during post pandemic too. During COVID, most people were unable to go out, so they have started to adopt the use of digital transactions to purchase items online. This new behavior has impacted taxi companies to start allowing digital transaction features on their platform, so customers can book a ride and pay online more conveniently and quickly. This shows that in the post-pandemic, we should focus on the customers’ needs and what the market is demanding. We need to identify the right customers who will pay for our services in the long term but not just one time, to sustain ourselves in the market.
Figure 2: Mr. On Nhu Binh, Former Strategic Business Director at VNPay and Chairman of EMDDI
Mr. Ly Vu Thinh, Chairman of Vatico Retail, also added his perspective on the retail market – “Although the foreign companies usually have more resources, as a local company, we have the advantage to react to the new changes as we have been living here. We understand what the Vietnamese want better than the foreign companies.”
Figure 3: Mr. Ly Vu Thinh, Chairman at Vatico Retail
Furthermore, he also mentioned the importance of data. The reason why his company could survive the pandemic is because of the data he has. Getting the data is a long-term investment, and his company has been browsing, storing, and purchasing different relevant data since its establishment, so when the pandemic occurred, he knew how he should react.
“However, we still need to be realistic that the productivity in Vietnam is lower than other countries, we cannot produce as many goods as the foreign companies.”, Mr. Thinh. Hence, this will be a challenge for the local companies how they can penetrate the market before the foreign companies start catching up.
Ms. Linh, the Director at Lead The Change, mentioned that one thing in common that most enterprises in Vietnam face is being unable to find the right employees. Where have these employees been and how should we reach them?
Figure 4: Ms. Linh, the Director at Lead The Change
Ms. Denise said that usually big corporations have more resources to acquire talented employees, but SMEs or startups also have more friendly policies and interactions to work with the employees. Nevertheless, in the new market trend, more people start to enter E-commerce, and Social Media like Facebook and TikTok, to open an online stall and start earning a living from there. As it is so easy to open an online stall now and more customers start to purchase online, this creates more opportunities for freelancers and influencers to enter the segment.
Figure 5: Panel Discussion of Session 4
In conclusion, Ms. Denise said that companies should be laser-focused to solve one problem at a time; Mr. Binh said that employees are the core of the businesses, and it is important to provide work-life balance for them; Mr. Thinh said data is crucial to a business, make the full use of it; Ms. Linh said that it is important for the enterprises and employees to learn how to apply and enter the digital platforms with the correct digital skills in this new digitalized world