We welcome competition
Nguyen Duy Binh, senior manager for FedEx in Indochina and chief representative of FedEx in Vietnam, discusses the company’s business operations in Vietnam. Excerpts:
The Saigon Times Daily: You may know that the Government of Vietnam has decided to open up the market for delivery services and mail services in compliance with the WTO agreement. What does that mean for this industry?
- Nguyen Duy Binh: FedEx is very pleased to see that Vietnam has been making great progress over the years. As one who has been back to Vietnam since 1994, I’ve seen tremendous improvements in many areas in Vietnam, economic for one. The GDP for capita has gone up from US$200 in 1989 when I first came back to US$1,300 in 2011. That’s a great jump. And the fact that Vietnam joined the WTO in 2007 opened up great opportunities for Vietnam as well. We welcome the opportunity to have the market opening and also welcome competition.
Will FedEx move out of the partnership with its Vietnamese partners in order to become a 100% foreign owned company in Vietnam?
- We are currently satisfied with the representation, the branding, the services that our Vietnamese partners provide to us. I can’t answer your question whether yes or no with regards to what action we will take, but I can tell you that we are looking forward to a long term engagement with our partners in Vietnam.
Who is your partner right now, precisely?
- We actually have two partners in Vietnam: Seaborne (S) Co and Danatrans Group.
An open market means more competition. Are you afraid of competition?
- FedEx welcomes competition. Competition to us is an opportunity for our team to fine-tune, to re-examine, to re-engineer our processes, to bring a better service to the customer. We have a very strong aviation experience. We connect over 200 countries worldwide and serve many customers all over the world. The second strength of FedEx is the network that we have worldwide, connecting all these hubs and these countries in effective ways. But perhaps the most important asset that we have at FedEx is our people. We always try to create an environment where people can be proud to work for FedEx. They can be proud that they have received the proper education and training for themselves and for the work that they do.
At the same time, FedEx looks at programs to help employees improve and better themselves. For example, we have the tuition assistance program, which will help the employees. Employees in Vietnam also receive that, and I am one of the beneficiaries. I finished my MBA in 2006 and FedEx paid part of my tuition, when I went to school in the United States.
You may know that the Government plans to turn Chu Lai airbase into an aviation hub or logistic hub. What do you think about such a plan?
- Building and improving any infrastructure aspects is important for Vietnam. Airport infrastructure improvement is critical. And as you mentioned, the Vietnamese Government has picked Chu Lai as the top airport that they will focus on, to upgrade into an air-cargo airport and passenger airport. Chu Lai has services now from that airport to HCMC and to Hanoi, via Vietnam Airlines and Vasco. So that’s one of the airports that I think has potential to have greater investments and greater capacity building.
If the Chu Lai hub project becomes a reality, how will it affect the express delivery services industry in Vietnam?
- Chu Lai won’t become a world standard airport in the near future. Personally, I hope it will happen sooner than planned, because it will benefit the economy and help the people to grow. There really is potential for Chu Lai to become a significant airport. Whether that will provide the basis for economic growth in Vietnam in terms of transportation, both cargo and passengers, and when that will come about remains to be seen. For the moment, everything is on the planning stage. And as you know, things take time to be completed.
Let’s say for example if we don’t have this Chu Lai airbase developed into a hub, can the express delivery services industry become a very important industry in Vietnam?
- The express delivery is an industry now, with major world express companies operating in Vietnam. I believe the presence of these companies in Vietnam speaks for itself. The country of Vietnam is becoming more and more prevalent to all businesses on the world stage. That’s what we have seen, many players in the express sectors in Vietnam, mainly the top big four.
Why after 18 years you are still here and not moving back to the headquarters or another country?
- As a Vietnamese American and one of the first ones to come back to Vietnam after the American embargo was lifted, it was an honor for me to represent a company like FedEx. The company helped me get an education and progress in a career.
Today I have the opportunity to also help FedEx develop in Vietnam. As for me, it has been a great journey with regards to being here as the senior manager for FedEx in Indochina and as the chief representative in Vietnam over the last 18 years. It’s my passion to represent a company the best way possible, in order to impart the best culture of FedEx to the Vietnamese environment, to the Vietnam country, in a way that would bring a closer relationship between the Vietnamese people and the American people.
And how many years ahead?
- Well, I hope go on for many years to come.
Reported by Ngoc Tran