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Vietnam improves attractiveness as business destination: HSBC Vietnam exec

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HCMC – Vietnam’s effective Covid-19 containment measures to date and gradual yet prudent reopening have enhanced its attractiveness as a business destination, and local companies can help the country accelerate back to historic growth levels, thanks to the right digital capabilities, stated Tim Evans, CEO of HSBC Vietnam, in the bank’s latest Navigator report, called “Building back better,” which surveyed more than 1,400 Asian companies.

“The time is ripe for Vietnamese businesses to take stock of their situation, address their weaknesses, and start considering how they can organize themselves to take advantage of the opportunities that come their way,” said Evans.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses into an unprecedented crisis. However, amidst the hardship, it has become increasingly apparent that technology is the ultimate solution to help businesses – and entire economies – survive periods of extended social distancing, according to the executive.

He pointed out that companies that have invested and built their strategies around digitalization are the ones most prepared to navigate real-time challenges and adapt and prosper in today’s dramatically reshaped world.

“We are seeing companies in Vietnam harnessing the power of technologies to respond at pace,” he said.

He added that the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, which was ratified in June 2020, placed an increased importance on businesses redesigning their supply chains to meet the bloc’s requirements and take full advantage of the opportunities the trade deal offers.

At the same time, Covid-19 has served as a warning signal for many to diversify their supply chains to protect themselves from concentrating on just one specific market.

“A trend we are seeing is businesses closely monitoring their supply chains to ensure their operations are more resilient and less susceptible to disruption from external shocks,” he noted.

The report stated that the pandemic has also driven businesses to rethink how they can inject more transparency and traceability into their supply chains. Covid-19 has exposed weak links in supply chains, and companies are shifting from a just-in-time model to just-in-case when it comes to managing their stock.

In the months of April and May, Navigator spoke with more than 1,400 businesses from seven major Asian economies.

The survey, which was published on July 21, revealed that Asian companies felt more prepared to weather the challenges from the first half of this year.

Over half the companies in Asia indicated they were as well prepared as they could be, far more so than firms in the rest of the world. The higher level of preparedness stands Asian firms in good stead as and when the world comes out of this public health crisis.

In addition to underlining the benefits of digitization, Covid-19 has also shone a spotlight on the vulnerability of a company‘s supply chain.

According to the report, 54% of Asian companies said they would increase the transparency and traceability of their supply chains. Meanwhile, over one-third of Asian firms will review supply chain partners to ensure they are able to weather future challenges.

By Gia Phong

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