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Japan’s Kao Seeks to Double Vietnam Business as It Boosts Overseas Sales

Kao Corp., the largest maker of bath and shower products in Japan, is seeking to at least double the size of its Vietnamese business to ramp up overseas growth amid a shrinking population at home.

“I want to double and triple the business in Vietnam,” President Michitaka Sawada said in an interview on Nov. 28. The company may build a new factory in Southeast Asia (CMT) to strengthen the Vietnamese operations, he said, without specifying a timeframe or investment amount.

The market size for color cosmetics in Vietnam rose 22 percent to $37.7 million in 2011 and for hygiene products it climbed 19 percent to $242.1 million, according to researcher Euromonitor International. The size for bath and shower products gained 8.6 percent to $82.3 million.

Kao will invest about 10 billion yen ($121 million) to build its second factory in Indonesia to make detergent and sanitary products, it said in July. The company has also invested about 6 billion yen in a new plant in Anhui, China, to make baby diapers.

Kao entered Vietnam in 1996 when it first built a factory there, making products such as “Laurier” sanitary pads and “Biore” body soap. The Japanese consumer company had sales of 139 billion yen from Asia for the year ended March, or about 11 percent of total sales. Kao doesn’t disclose Vietnam sales.

Kao had a 1.2 percent share in Vietnam’s hygiene products market, while Kimberly-Clark tops the market with 37 percent, according to Euromonitor International. For bath and shower products, Kao had 0.7 percent share, while Unilever leads the market with 35 percent share.

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Business leaders discuss investment environment at Vietnam Business Forum

Dec 4, 2012. Experts speaking at the Viet Nam Business Forum (VBF) in Ha Noi yesterday called for the Government of Viet Nam to take decisive action to enhance economic and financial reform to create a more attractive business climate.

The conference entitled ‘Restoring Economic Dynamism’ saw business leaders meet to discuss the challenges and opportunities for investment in the country.

According to Christopher Twomey, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), Viet Nam faced challenges creating macroeconomic stability at a time of unacceptably high inflation, causing tension in the foreign exchange market and high interest rates.

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Vietnam is an interesting market for Burger King: President, BK Asia Pacific

Oct 21, 2012. The fast-food giant Burger King today opens its first restaurant in town of Vietnam, consolidating its foothold in a country viewed by the company as one of the most important markets in Asia-Pacific. The Saigon Times Daily has a talk with Mr. Elias Diaz Sese, President of Burger King for Asia Pacific, on the firm’s landmark presence in the country. Excerpts follow.

The Saigon Times Daily: First of all, can you give us some information about Burger King in the world?

Mr. Elias Diaz Sese: Every day, more than 11 million guests visit Burger King restaurants around the world. And they do so because our restaurants are known for serving high-quality, great-tasting, and affordable food. Founded in 1954, Burger King is the second largest fast food hamburger chain in the world. Known as the original Home of the Whopper, our commitment to premium ingredients, signature recipes, and family-friendly dining experiences is what has defined our brand for more than 50 successful years.

Burger King has already been present in Vietnam and is growing very fast. Can you tell us the reason why Burger King comes to Vietnam, and what is your expectation about the market here?

– All around the world, especially in Asia Pacific, Burger King is a strong believer in franchising and working with strong and passionate local partners to jointly develop the Burger King brand. Therefore, in close cooperation and partnership with the IPP group/Blue Kite Vietnam (BKV), we will further develop Burger King in Vietnam.

We believe BKV can contribute in many areas such as training, people development, strategic locations, marketing and many more. Burger King and its worldwide system would provide its expertise and support on its operating systems and organizational and structural development.

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Why is Shell Gas leaving Vietnam?

The Dutch Shell Group has confirmed its decision to transfer all of its stakes in a gas joint venture in Hai Phong City and a 100 percent Shell invested company in HCM City to Thai Siam Gas.

This is the third global oil and gas brand leaving Vietnam. Following the US Mobile Unique Gas and the UK’s BP Gas. Why do the foreign giants leave Vietnam, if this is believed to be a potential market with the annual growth rate of 10 percent per annum?

Tuoi Tre newspaper believes that the big Shell Gas group leaves the market because of the unhealthy competition in Vietnam, where illegal gas trading of low quality products cannot be controlled. Foreign brands like Elf, Total, BP and Shell spent a lot of money to protect their brands, but the mismanagement could not ensure their success.

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Vietnam aims to lift sovereign credit rating

Sep 5, 2012. The Ministry of Finance has submitted a scheme to the Prime Minister for improving Vietnam’s sovereign credit rating, with a target for the country to achieve investment grade by 2020.

Currently, the nation maintains credit ratings from Standard&Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch Ratings. S&P gives the country an overall rating of BB-, while Moody’s rates it B1 and Fitch gives it a B+ rating, all three or four levels below investment grade.

Under the proposed scheme, the ministry highlighted measures relating to institutional and economic management that include boosting social welfare policies to narrow the gap between rich and poor and among regions of the country.

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