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Too few trade shows for a too big garment hub: Lot to think for Vietnam

by Apparel Resources

31-December-2018  |  6 mins read

SaigonTex, over the years, has attracted good footfall
SaigonTex, over the years, has attracted good footfall

For a fast-growing apparel and textile hub like Vietnam, it definitely comes as a surprise to know there are hardly any trade shows or exhibitions exclusively on apparels, fabrics and yarns. The primary reason, most of the experts feel, is that the Vietnamese factories are almost always capacity filled. When factories are capacity filled or are functioning at near capacity, then they do not need any kind of marketing or promotional campaigns, to put it simply.

There are three prominent fairs held annually in Ho Chi Minh City, and one in the capital city of Hanoi. Ho Chi Minh City organises SaigonTex in the month of April and the Vietnam International Textile and Garment Industry Exhibition (VTG) in November. With focus majorly on displaying machinery and business solutions, the section on fabrics and garment accessories – at both the events – is too small, at times, to be even talked about.

Team Apparel Resources has been visiting both the events for last few years and it is many times disheartening to see the dismal turnout at the stalls showcasing fabrics and accessories. The other popular fair held in the Ho Chi Minh City is the much famous denimsandjeans show, which is exclusively for denim players across the globe. Earlier in June 2018, the third edition of the event was held at Riverside Palace, which was as resounding success as its previous two editions. But then, denim has always been struggling to make a mark in Vietnam despite impressive denim export figures over the last few years.

Apart from these three events (with two exclusively dedicated to technology), Hanoi has been successfully conducting the Hanoi Textile and Garment Industry Expo – better known as HanoiTex – for about two decades. This is again an event that has been focusing on the best of machinery and has a very minuscule focus on apparels and garments.

The truth of the matter is that one has seen very minimal participation of local garment companies in any of the above-mentioned events. And it is not surprising considering lot of them do not even have time to be a part of such fairs, what with filled volumes all over the year. Also, when the need for purchase arises, it is easy to contact the local agents of many renowned brands who are already available in Vietnam to get new product updates. Vivek Shukla, General Manager, Brandix, Vietnam said, “Vietnam is basically seen more as a cut and sew hub and so one finds lots of garment factories in the country. The seminars and trade shows happen more nearer to the customer market.”

However, Maksym Sukhanov, General Director, Maximum Sourcing Company Limited, has a slightly different take on the issue. “The business culture in Vietnam is slightly different from what it is in other countries. While the Vietnamese are very skilled at manufacturing the best of the apparel products, they are as imperfect in making a product sell,” reasoned Maksym Sukhanov. Maximum Sourcing is a Vietnam-based design-to-delivery apparel supplier that works in close tandem with fashion retailers worldwide.

Pham Thi My Linh, Sale Assistant of Fiber & Textile Department, Toray International Vietnam Co. Ltd. feels organisers should attract more visitors.

Echoing the same sentiments, Pham Thi My Linh, Sale Assistant of Fiber & Textile Department, Toray International Vietnam Company Limited averred, “When the companies end up getting no orders, they lose the zeal to organise or be a part of apparel events. Also, in Vietnam people mostly talk about garment production than textile business and so I think if the organisers or exhibitors can attract more visitors to events, then one can see lot of improvement in textile businesses and going forward, there could be many events exclusively on garments.” In addition to manufacturing apparels, Toray International is also known to produce fibres, textiles, films, plastics, industrial materials, composites and chemicals among a wide range of other products.

Dmitry Sarbaev, CEO, Fluxmall (R) said that most of the fairs look same with similar looking stands.
Dmitry Sarbaev, CEO, Fluxmall (R) said that most of the fairs look same with similar looking stands.

Sometimes it is even the lack of depth or zeal, or whatever we may like to call, to organise massive apparel or fabric exhibitions. “There are some local fairs but after attending those fairs, sometimes one is not clear about whom the event is being targeted for. One can easily get lost in the crowd of similar-looking stands, creative dearth and poor presentation,” substantiated Dmitry Sarbaev, CEO, Fluxmall.

The organisers and the representatives from Government need to seriously analyse and chalk out plans to organise exclusive events for garments and textiles and then attract visitors to these events. Bringing more people means bringing more business, and creating more business opportunities is what will define the future of having exclusive garment and textile events in Vietnam. Vietnam has quite a lot of thinking to do…