Hard times mean business shake-up chance: senior expert

Hard times in the economy are an opportunity for business shake-up to overcome difficulties, Vietnamese senior economics expert Le Dang Doanh told a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City Friday, organized for plastics companies.

“Difficulties are a chance for companies to re-evaluate their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats involved in business,” said Mr. Doanh, PhD of Economics.

Senior economics expert Le Dang Doanh gestures as he speaks during the workshop at the New World Hotel Saigon on August 12, 2011 (Photo: Tuong Thuy)

“Doing business does not mean growth all the time. Sometimes you have to step back a little to prepare for growth later,” he said, giving some advice to those who attended the workshop, co-held by the Vietnam Plastics Association, Vietnam’s Techcombank and US-based Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), a world leader in providing business information.

Such shake-up needs to attach importance to strategic planning, including vital issues like market orientation, promoting cooperation among plastics companies, cutting cost and improving productivity, said Mr. Doanh, a former vice president of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) of Vietnam.

“During hard times, small- and medium-sized companies should not think of boosting growth. They need to secure smaller achievements in a more certain manner.”

Mr. Ho Duc Lam, vice chairman and general secretary of the Vietnam Plastics Association, said the workshop was held to help the industry’s enterprises realize their potentials to grow business.

The sector has reported an annual growth rate of 20 - 25% in recent years but the value it generates to the economy still remains low because of such problems as heavy reliance on imported raw materials, forex fluctuations, product quality, human resources and export markets, according to him

Vietnam must import up to 80% of plastic materials, with about US$4 billion spent for that last year, Mr. Lam said, adding that the country posted last year’s plastics export revenue at around US$1.5 billion. The difference was US$2.5 billion.

A majority of plastics companies in Vietnam are small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which often find it hard to get access to loans from bankers, he said.

Mr. Pham Quang Thang, vice CEO of Techcombank and head of SME, attended the workshop and shared his bank’s lending policies with the participants.

The lender is working on strategic planning to become a leading commercial bank in Vietnam, based on its resource strengths in capital, network, human and technology, according to him.

Meanwhile, Leon Chee, director of D&B, Asia-Pacific Partnerships, spoke about financial solutions for plastics companies.

Emmanuel C. Atienza, business development director of D& B, Asia-Pacific Partnerships, mentioned opportunities for Vietnamese plastics enterprises in other overseas markets besides the US.

Emmanuel C. Atienza (L), business development director of D& B, Asia-Pacific Partnerships, talks to a participant at the workshop (Photo: Tuong Thuy)

According to D&B, it offers Vietnam companies access to information on foreign companies via the resources of the D&B Worldwide Network whose global commercial database covers 200 million businesses worldwide in over 200 countries.

By Tuong Thuy

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