Vietnam is a country everyone is talking about. The way the garment industry has grown is phenomenal and the future is brighter than many of its competitors, though we all know that challenges remain.
We have often discussed how rapidly foreign investment was surging in Vietnam’s apparel and textile sector, especially from Asian stalwarts like South Korea, Taiwan or Japan. However, lately quite a few European countries too have been eyeing Vietnam.
Germany is one such country, and so we thought of focusing on German investment in Vietnam over the last few years in our Cover Story. And why not! Among the EU countries with major contribution of investment in Vietnam, Germany’s contribution cannot be undermined by any standards.
The Cover Story underlines the importance of Germany in Vietnam garment industry. Significantly, Vietnam’s apparel export to EU last year was US $ 5.12 billion, whereas its apparel export to Germany alone during the same period was US $ 1.45 billion. That’s around 28 per cent share of overall EU’s import of garment from Vietnam. So there couldn’t have been a better topic!
While its population of young skilled workers, high rate of literacy and fast growing infrastructure are enough to bring foreign investors to Vietnam (which we have discussed many times in our previous issues), one cannot deny that it is Vietnam’s continual commitment to sustainability that is now slowly but surely reaping rich dividends for country’s apparel and textile sector, especially with regard to attracting foreign investment.
When companies do business in Vietnam, they talk only ‘sustainability’. This came out clearly when my team interacted with Barbara Winder, Head of Global Marketing, AMANN Group. One could see her excitement, when she said how the group has set its own wastewater treatment system, which is in addition to its existing bio-chemical wastewater treatment plant. There is awareness and, more importantly, there are efforts to translate them into reality.
In this issue we have also discussed the strategic positioning of German based Melcosa Vietnam, a part of Hermes-OTTO International group, which also holds the unique distinction of being the first sourcing office in Vietnam.
Though we have spoken at length about the company’s focus on quality measures, including its inhouse online system called ‘iSmart/tSmart’, I must add here how much my team was impressed by company’s commitment to sustainability when it visited their office in Ho Chi Minh City. It was a delight for them to watch the company’s focus on ‘save electricity’ and ‘save paper’ goal. I am sure now most of the companies might be thinking – and working – on same lines.
In this issue, we have also touched on the ongoing debate over whether the weekly working hours should be reduced from 48 to 44. It’s working in the West but I am not sure how much it will work in south-east Asian countries like Vietnam. Well, the debate will continue for some time I suppose and we will keep our readers posted on the direction that the debate takes.
As you all must have noticed, Apparel Online has been re-branded as ‘AO’ with a new look and wider content base. Now we will slowly integrate more topics that interest the Vietnam market and welcome suggestions on what our readers would like to see in the magazine.
Meanwhile, we are keen to know your feedback on the new layout and design of our magazine, which I believe will help us grow our readership better and bigger.