80 percent of Vietnam's small businesses ‘invisible’ on the internet: report

By VnExpress   November 4, 2016 | 09:50 am GMT+7
80 percent of Vietnam's small businesses ‘invisible’ on the internet: report
Laborers work at TAL Apparel Vietnam Garments factory in Vinh Phuc province, north of Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo by Reuters/Kham.

Consumers are spending more time shopping online, so are local firms missing a trick?

A wave of digital technology has swept across Vietnam in recent years, but many Vietnamese companies have refused to sign up for the revolution.

Tammy Phan, strategic partnership manager at Google, said that Vietnam currently has about 44-45 million internet users, and that figure is forecast to reach 82 million in 2020. These are good conditions for enterprises to apply digital technologies to expand their businesses, she was quoted by the Saigon Times as saying.

However, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are still reluctant to join the online trading network.

Phan reportedly said only 20 percent of Vietnamese SMEs sell their products on the internet while the rest remain invisible as they do not have websites or digital marketing solutions to promote sales.

Some businesses explained they haven’t entered the online market due to fear of data breaches and additional costs. Others are more comfortable with traditional forms of advertising like distributing fliers and advertising in newspapers.

Matthew A. Heller, head of Google’s Channel Sales in Asia Pacific, advised Vietnamese SMEs to join the digital trading environment to approach more consumers, which, in return, can help push up their revenues by four times.

Technology is changing people’s lifestyles. Consumers are spending more time shopping on the internet, from buying movie tickets to ordering food, the Saigon Times cited him as saying.

Data from Google revealed that 70 percent of Vietnamese consumers use a search engine to look for information before buying any item, and 75 percent will pick one to three local businesses before deciding where to make their purchases.

A third of the population will be buying goods and services over the internet by 2020, according to the Vietnam E-Commerce and Information Technology Agency.

The Vietnamese government has set a target that by 2020, 50 percent of local enterprises will have online stores and 80 percent will be doing business through e-commerce platforms.

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