I remember late last year, when I was writing the editorial piece on Japan emerging as a powerful force in Vietnam, I had promised that we will be soon covering an in-depth and comprehensive feature on the same. And it has happened in this issue.
Few days back, when the Japan-based apparel firm Stripe International announced that it is planning to launch 20 plus outlets in Vietnam this year, I was yet again compelled to think the pace at which Japan is becoming one of the largest foreign investors in Vietnam’s apparel and textile sector. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised, if it becomes the largest investor in the next decade.
So it gave me immense pleasure, when my editorial team expressed their desire to do a full-length feature on Japan’s fast growing presence in Vietnam. I am sure the readers will find this cover story as interesting as the one we did in our November edition on Taiwan’s strong foothold in Vietnam – one of those cover stories which got maximum positive response from our readers and subscribers.
In this edition, we have also spoken about the efforts initiated by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in making its much talked about Vietnam Improvement Programme (VIP) a success in the country. Sustainability, in every sense, has always been one of my favourite subjects and I have been following closely the initiatives of VIP to help Vietnam enhance the sustainable growth of the garment and textile sector of the country. Today IFC is working with around 70 factories in Vietnam that supply to several big retailers and the efforts are there to be seen.
While writing this piece, I heard the news of my friend Robert Nicholson’s (of More, UK) demise, whom we all fondly called Bob. In India, we say there is nothing better than breathing your last while working and Bob was fortunate enough to pass away at his workplace – doing what he always loved and that’s serving customers with love. I distinctly remember how warm he and his team were when Team Apparel Online had visited his office back in 2016 at the time of launch of our Vietnam edition.
Last year, my team had met Bob again to understand what was new with More, UK and Vietnam and he was good enough to take out quality time for them. Unfortunately, I couldn’t be there with my team then. His sense of humour and affection will be sorely missed.
I am also looking forward to visiting the Texprocess event – my fascination for new technology keeps bringing me back to this event every year. I am planning to catch up with a lot of technology dealers from Vietnam and know their expectations, and most importantly, understand how swiftly Vietnam’s apparel and textile sector will be able to make technology an integral part of its growth in the next decade. There is no substitute to technology in taking the industry to the path of development, and for that, dealers need to continue creating a lot of awareness.