Why Vietnamese Mega-Companies Remain Unpopular Both Domestically and Internationally?

Why Vietnamese Mega-Companies Remain Unpopular Both Domestically and Internationally?

We just recently came across a very interesting article published by Vietnam Investment Review (VIR), titled Why Vietnamese Brands Struggle in Other Markets? The question is spot-on. As discussed in the article, Vietnam is the country where various big brand goods are being produced entirely or partially, including Nike, Volkswagen.

With industrial capabilities so advanced that the country is a choice for high-prestige companies, how come Vietnam fails to export its own brands, and at the same time fails to impress Vietnamese consumers with domestic brands?

For Vietnamese, local products and local brands are often seen as “uncool” because of a variety of reasons, even if the company has the qualities to be a respected, popular brand.

Vietnamese companies are not good at brand management

As a brand focused market research company, we are most interested in examining how Vietnamese companies, both private and state-owned

To measure how the largest companies are perceived by Vietnamese, we configured a brand awareness and perceptions audit. We have collected slightly over 1,000,000 responses from a mixed audience in Ho Chi Minh City & Hanoi. To keep this article focused, only the popularity scores will be shared.

The results show that over 50% of the Vietnamese domestic mega-corporations are seen as unpopular, with a popularity score below 6 out of 10, or lower. This is significantly lower compared to results in other Asian countries, such as South Korea or Singapore.

Name Popularity score (1 to 10) Industry Sector Notes
Appota Corporation8TechnologySoftwareMobile apps
Asia Commercial Bank (ACB)8FinancialsBanksPrivate bank
Bao Viet Holdings8FinancialsFull line insuranceInclude Bao Viet Insurance, Life, Securities, and Bank
Bidiphar7Health carePharmaceuticalsPharma
Casumina7Consumer goodsTiresTire, rubber
Hai Au Paper7Basic materialsPaperPaper products
Highlands Coffee7Consumer servicesRestaurants & barsCoffee chain
Khaisilk7Consumer servicesRestaurants & barsRestaurants
Mekong Auto7Consumer goodsAutomobiles 
Mekong Capital7FinancialsEquity investment instrumentsPrivate equity
MobiFone7TelecommunicationsMobile telecommunicationsMobile network
 7   
Petrovietnam7Oil & gasOil & gas producersState oil & gas
S-Fone7TelecommunicationsMobile telecommunicationsMobile network
Thế Giới Publishers7Consumer servicesPublishingPublisher
TMA Solutions7TechnologySoftwareSoftware development and outsourcing
Vietinbank7FinancialsBanksState bank
Vietsovpetro7Oil & gasOil & gas exploration & productionOil & gas exploration
Viettel7TelecommunicationsMobile telecommunicationsState mobile network
Vinacafe7Consumer goodsFood productsCoffee and cereals
 7   
Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV)6FinancialsBanksState bank
Bien Viet Securities6FinancialsInvestment servicesInvestments
Binh Minh Plastic6Basic materialsCommodity chemicalsPlastics
Central Service Flight Company6Consumer servicesAirlinesCharter helicopters
Habeco6Consumer goodsBrewersBeer
Northern Vietnam Helicopter Company6Consumer servicesAirlinesCharter helicopter
Orient Commercial Joint Stock Bank6FinancialsBanksBank
Pacific Airlines6Consumer servicesAirlinesLow-cost airline
Phu My Hung Corporation6IndustrialsHeavy constructionInfrastructure
PJICO6FinancialsFull line insuranceInsurance, Part of Petrolimex
Southern Service Flight Company6Consumer servicesAirlinesCharter helicopters
Tan Tao Group6IndustrialsHeavy constructionInfrastructure development
Tre Publishing House6Consumer servicesPublishingBook and magazine publisher
Vietnam Electricity6UtilitiesElectricityPower company
Vietnam Helicopter Corporation6Consumer servicesAirlinesState charter helicopters
Vietnam Multimedia Corporation6Consumer servicesMediaGeneral media firm
Vinacomin6Basic materialsCoalState coal mining
Vinamilk6Consumer goodsBeveragesDairy
Vinare6FinancialsReinsuranceCommercial reinsurance
Vingroup6ConglomeratesAutomobiles, consumer goods, financials, industrials, basic materials, real estate development, retail, services, healthcare, hospitality, pharmaceuticals, technology
Bien Hoa Sugar5Consumer goodsFood productsSugar
Cuulong Fish5Consumer goodsFarming & fishingFishery
Đại Cát Tường5Consumer goodsClothing & accessoriesTextiles, part of Vinatex
Kim Dong Publishing House5Consumer servicesPublishingChildren’s books
Nafovanny5Health careLife sciencesPrimate captive-breeding
Petrolimex Gas5Oil & gasOil & gas producersLNG, Part of Petrolimex
Phu Phong Glass Joint Stock Company5IndustrialsBuilding materials & fixturesGlass
Southern Seed5Consumer goodsFarming & fishingSeeds
Vietnam Petroleum Institute5Oil & gasOil & gas exploration & productionResearch and exploration
Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT)5ConglomeratesTelecommunications, financials, technology
Vietnamobile5TelecommunicationsMobile telecommunicationsMobile network, acquired EVNTelecom in 2011)
Vinaphone5TelecommunicationsMobile telecommunicationsPart of Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group
FPT Group4TechnologySoftwareIT consulting and development
Hanoi Radio Television4Consumer servicesBroadcasting & entertainmentRadio and television
Hanoimilk4Consumer goodsBeveragesMilk and dairy
Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group4ConglomeratesConsumer goods, financials, industrials, basic materials
LienVietPostBank4FinancialsBanksBank
Petrolimex4Oil & gasOil & gas producersState petroleum
PetroVietnam Finance Corporation4FinancialsSpecialty financeNon-banking finance, part of Petrovietnam
Phuoc Sang Films4Consumer servicesBroadcasting & entertainmentFilm studio
Sabeco Brewery4Consumer goodsBrewersSaigon Beer
SAMCO4Consumer goodsAutomobiles 
Sara Vietnam4IndustrialsBusiness trainingTechnology education
Savimex4Consumer goodsFurnishingsFurniture
THACO4Consumer goodsAutomobiles 
TVM Comics4Consumer servicesPublishingComic publisher
VietJet Air4Consumer servicesAirlinesLow-cost airline
Vietnam Air Services Company4Consumer servicesAirlinesAirline, part of Vietnam Airlines
Vinatex4Consumer goodsClothing & accessoriesTextiles
VinFast4Consumer goodsAutomobilesSubsidiary of Vingroup
Gmobile3TelecommunicationsMobile telecommunicationsMobile network
Hai Ha Confectionery3Consumer goodsFood productsConfectionary
Hoa Cam Concrete3IndustrialsBuilding materials & fixturesConcrete
Hue Beer3Consumer goodsBrewersBrewery
Kinh Do Corporation3Consumer goodsFood productsFood conglomerate
 3   
PetroVietnam Insurance3FinancialsFull line insuranceInsurance, part of Petrovietnam
Trung Nguyên3Consumer goodsBeveragesCoffee
Vietcombank3FinancialsBanksCommercial bank
Vietnam Airlines3Consumer servicesAirlinesFlag-carrier airline
Vietnam Asset Management3FinancialsEquity investment instrumentsFund management
Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development3FinancialsBanksAgribank
Vietnam Railways3IndustrialsRailroadsState railway
Viglacera Corporation3IndustrialsBuilding materials & fixturesConstruction materials
Vinavico Group3IndustrialsHeavy constructionInfrastructure and power construction
VNG Corporation3TechnologyInternetOnline content and games
World Auto3Consumer goodsAutomobilesVolkswagen assembly

Why Vietnamese don’t like domestic brands?

Vietnamese market research participants left overwhelmingly poor comments and feedback regarding the listed companies. Common reasons for disliking were:

  • Ugly brand identity
  • Bad reputation
  • Exploiting local workers
  • Cheaters
  • Liars
  • Not popular
  • Not desirable

Less than 18% of survey respondents disliked companies because of product or quality-related reasons, while over 70% of negative responses were linked to the brand image and public opinion o the company.

With corporate identities and poorly designed brand experiences that look decade old, it is not surprising why Vietnamese companies fail to make a good impression on their local customers and ex-pats alike.

Back in 2018, VnExpress published an informative article about the same issue: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/business/economy/vietnamese-consumers-losing-interest-in-domestic-products-survey-3706242.html

With suspicion surrounding Vietnamese products, competitors from Japan, South Korea and Thailand have stepped in.

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