B2B marketplace Alibaba.com marked its 10th anniversary serving Vietnamese SMEs by continuing its push to bring manufacturers across the globe into the digital era.
At an event for B2B sellers on Thursday in Ho Chi Minh City, the Alibaba Group-owned platform emphasized the need for a digital transformation of the export industry, especially in emerging markets such as Vietnam where small and medium-sized enterprises stand to benefit.
“Given the country’s growing economic status in Southeast Asia, Vietnam SMEs have strong manufacturing capabilities with more than 500,000 entrepreneurs,” said Alibaba.com General Manager Zhang Kuo. “Yet very few of them have established global trading with the use of digital channels.”
Kuo said that Vietnam’s skilled workforce, high-quality products such as furniture, textiles and foods, and competitive pricing make the country a likely market for buyers who use Alibaba.com to source the goods they need for their businesses.
“We are looking forward to support Vietnamese SMEs to reach out to global markets with the help of the platform, transforming their business digitally and increasing more jobs opportunities for the local workforce,” he said.
Vietnam saw its real gross domestic product grow 7.1% in 2018, according to the World Bank, one of the fastest in Southeast Asia. Its rapidly growing middle class accounted for 13% of the population last year and is on track to reach 26% by 2026, the World Bank reported. The World Bank also noted the country’s improvements in “ease of doing business,” where reforms were seen in starting a business, paying taxes and enforcing contracts – all of which help SMEs.
To support Vietnamese SMEs, Alibaba.com said it was working with five local partners in related industries, such as logistics and e-commerce services, to promote the platform to local exporters and offer guidance on best practices for using the site. Alibaba.com pointed to what it said were many successful users in Vietnam, including Trần Bảo Ngọc, owner of beauty-products company M.i.i.n. Eyelash, and Vietnam Agarwood Center Director Vũ Trung Sơn. Both sellers were able to leverage the platform to expand to new markets, such as the U.S., Russia and countries in the Middle East.
The U.S., in particular, offers significant opportunity to Vietnamese SMEs selling on Alibaba.com, said Alibaba President of North America B2B John Caplan, who added that the U.S. was the largest buyer market on the site.
“U.S. businesses want products that Vietnamese companies sell, and Alibaba.com’s U.S.-based team is aggressively working to raise awareness supply from Vietnam that we offer,”
Caplan said. “This will drive more high-quality buyers to our platform, and that in turn creates big opportunities for Vietnamese sellers.”
Alibaba.com is one of the world’s largest global B2B e-commerce marketplaces, operating in over 190 countries. The site brings SMEs onto the platform to help them gain visibility among global buyers and educate them about e-commerce, as well as build an ecosystem to support merchants and offer them digital tools for selling in the global market.