Vietnam’s football coach opens up opportunities for South Korean businesses

By Phan Anh   August 31, 2018 | 09:40 pm PT
Vietnam’s football coach opens up opportunities for South Korean businesses
Vietnam's head coach Park Hang-seo has become popular as the nation's football team reached the Asian Games semifinal for the first time. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
The national team’s success in football-crazy Vietnam is proving beneficial for South Korean firms in the country.

"Even in the first meeting, clients first say, 'Thank you', which makes business a lot easier,” said Chung Jae-woo, who’s with the Pohang Iron and Steel Company (POSCO) Vietnam.

Chung said getting new clients is a lot easier now thanks to the rising popularity of the Vietnamese men’s football team’s South Korean coach, Park Hang-seo.

Park’s popularity has soared after the nation’s football team defied expectations and predictions by sport analysts to reach the Asian Games semifinal on Wednesday.

This has prompted many South Korean businesses in Vietnam to deploy new marketing tactics, the Korea Times reported Thursday.

After Vietnam beat Syria 1-0 in quarterfinal on Monday, thousands of people took to the streets of Hanoi to celebrate the win. Park Hang-seo, unsurprisingly, took the spotlight and was feted as a national hero for having guided the team to victory.

“I’m so pumped up, I kept crying all night long,” football fan Nguyen Hoang Ha posted on Facebook. “Thank you Mr. Park Hang-seo.”

“Park Hang-seo is Vietnam’s football wizard. He changed players and predicted the game so sharply,” said another Facebook post by Nguyen Son.

The public’s love for Park has served to deepen the Vietnam-South Korea bond and opened up new marketing venues for businesses.

"Football is the culture and life of Vietnamese," said Lee Joo-hyun from the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency's (KOTRA) Vietnam office. He also noted that companies are looking to use the team’s success as well as that of their coach’s rising popularity as a marketing tool.

Car maker Hyundai Motors is not overlooking this golden marketing opportunity. It plans to boost the brand’s image even further by “sponsoring Park,” an unnamed Hyundai Motors official said.

“This is an opportunity that can't be missed,” the official added.

In March, conglomerate Samsung Electronics also appointed Park Hang-seo as the brand ambassador for the firm’s Vietnamese branch.

On Wednesday, despite great efforts, Vietnam lost against South Korea 3-1 in the semifinal for the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.

But Vietnam still has a chance to bring home the bronze medal as it faces off the United Arab Emirates on Saturday afternoon.

The Asian Games is the world's second biggest multiple sports event, after the Olympics. This year’s edition, held in Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia, has drawn 16,000 competitors and officials from 45 nations.

Watch how Vietnamese football fans react to the semifinal's result.

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