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Vietnam’s Top Attractive Sectors

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Being still an emerging economy with consistent high growth over the years, coupled with a rather young population, Vietnam offer numerous attractive sectors with strong industry dynamics that have attracted billions of dollars in FDI. Below are some of them:

AGRIBUSINESS

Viet Nam is a tropical country which is gifted with favorable conditions for agriculture. The agro-forestry-fishery sector contributed 4.6% to the general growth of the economy in 2019 and agriculture’s share in total employment was about 40%. Nevertheless, foreign investment in Viet Nam’s agribusiness is still relatively untapped compared to its manufacturing counterpart. We believe that the country’s agribusiness sector holds ample potential for foreign investors thanks to following factors:

Strong growth ahead: Viet Nam’s agribusiness market value is estimated to reach $44.6bn in 2020, according to Fitch Solutions and FAO.  

High export revenues despite shrinks in values due to falling prices in 2019: Agriculture’s export revenue reached about US$41.3 billion in 2019. Key export commodities include seafood ($8.6b, down 2.4%), fruits and vegetables ($3.8b, down 1.1%), cashew nuts ($3.3b, down 2.6%), coffee ($2.8b, down 21.2%), rice ($2.8b, down 9.9%),

Food and beverage experiencing strong growth: The two main market sectors, Packaged Food and Soft Drinks, both post a CAGR growth by 8% between 2018 – 2023, according to Euromonitor International.

Investment incentives: To call for more foreign capital and know-how into agribusiness and hence, situate high-tech agriculture at the core of the economy, the government has circulated a new decree on incentives for agricultural and rural investments.

Value added to Vietnam’s agriculture export: Viet Nam’s agriculture is urged to create more value-added products. However, the food processing industry is still weak and fragmented. As such, FDI businesses can invest in processing plants with advanced equipment and technology as a recommended strategy.

 

TOURISM & HOSPITALITY

 Vietnam’s tourism and hospitality sector is expected to spearhead the country’s economy and its growth. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, the direct contribution of tourism to Viet Nam’s GDP in 2017 reached US$12 billion (approximately 5.9% of total GDP) and is forecast to double to US$25 billion by 2028. Within tourism and hospitality, we see the following potentials for growth and investment:

16% growth in tourist: Total visitor arrivals reached above 18 million in 2019, an increase of 16.2% from the previous year. Experts forecast an overall average of 18% in the period of 2020 – 2022 with total visitor arrivals to reach around 30 million by 2022.

Demand for luxury travel: Vietnam is increasingly developing its reputation as a luxury travel destination. The development of high-end, luxury resorts under internationally recognized hotel chains has expanded rapidly to cater for this increasing demand.

 4 to 5 star hotels: The supply of 4 and 5-star hotels has grown strongly. Over the period of 2013 – 2018, 4-star hotels have enjoyed an 11.7% CAGR growth while 5-star hotels have experienced growth of 18.9% (Vietnam National Administration of Tourism’s statistics).

 Cultural heritage: Vietnam has five cultural, two natural, and one mixed site recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, emphasizing its rich culture and biodiversity.

 Opportunities in coastal areas: Significant growth is expected in the coastal areas and islands with the expansion of international airports, for example, in Da Nang, Van Don, and Phu Quoc.

Better market access: Developing transport infrastructure and a competitive airline industry will support the growth in tourism, which bodes well for the hospitality industry.

 

RETAIL

Vietnam’s retail sales have grown dramatically over a long period of time, maintaining two-digit growth over a long period. In 2019, retail sales recorded US$162.3, up 12.7% from previous year, and maintained a 4-year CAGR of 10.2%.

In particular, modern retail is growing extremely fast, though notably in big urban areas, and is taking up an increasing portion of total retail sales. The emergence of the modern retail formats and the participation of foreign retailers have brought a breath of fresh air and greatly changed the face of retail in Vietnam, bringing more choice and convenience for consumers. As of April 2019, there were 311 supermarkets and 96 department stores (shopping malls) in the 1st and 2nd tier cities, up 16.5% and 23.1% from the previous year.

Although the modern retail channel has many advantages in attracting customers and is forecast to grow strongly in the future but in general, shopping at traditional retail market still accounts high proportion even until now. Under competitive pressure from modern retail channels, local wet markets and other forms of traditional retail in Vietnam have been renewing and upgrading infrastructure as well as enhancing customer service to bring more benefits to consumers.

 

FOOD & BEVERAGE

Vietnam’s food and beverage sector currently accounts for 37 per cent of its GDP and is one of the rising stars in the market. The strong economic growth and the development of a financially well-off consumer group has directed a change in consumption habits and led to the emergence of retail systems.

In addition, the annual production of beer, wine and spirits, and non-alcoholic drinks will rise to 4.25 billion litres, 360 million litres, and 9.2 billion litres in 2020. Vietnamese consumers are shifting towards consumption of beverages with higher value, creating gaps to exploit the high-end beverage segments. Though both local and foreign players have attempted to respond to this shift, overseas companies currently enjoy the edge as Vietnamese consumers favour international brands.

As Vietnam ranks fourth most popular destination in Asia with over 10,013,000 visitors in 2016, the increasing tourism contributes towards the demand for western-style products such as beef, cheese, seafood, wine and seasonings.

 

E-COMMERCE & E-PAYMENT

E- commerce, enabled by rising internet and smartphone penetration, are expanding their reach in Vietnam. Mobile internet penetration is broadening access and changing the way consumers interact, compare prices, research goods, and make purchases. The barriers between traditional commerce, including malls, big-box stores and main street, and virtual channels are blurred.

Business models are converging and enterprises are experimenting with social-media marketing, multi-channel approaches and alternative payment methods in order to expand their footprint and market share. In parallel, the traditional borders and structures of payments are also beginning to blur. Vietnam is still searching for its answer to the future of cashless payments.

As the industry continues to evolve and grow, there is a high probability that payment solutions built on the platforms of e-Marketplaces, e-Tailers, or mobile Chat applications (apps) will revolutionize point-of-sale choices and play a prominent role, either as a catalyst or as actual providers in the market for new digital payment solutions.