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Building up the market in Vietnam

Hitherto Communist-ruled Vietnam has maintained a general ban on imports of foreign products. But this is gradually changing - even with regard to pet products.
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"In August last year we were the only western aquatics company to be represented at the Aquavina pet exhibition in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), with a large stand there," recounts Koord Janssen, director of global marketing at Tetra. Talks were held with the responsible ministry and a month later the aquatics company received permission to register its products for Vietnam. The growth potential of the Vietnamese market is huge: the East Asian country has a population of 84.5 mio people, roughly equivalent to that of Germany. It has two large conurbations around the main cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. A very small number of Vietnamese have aquariums, and these few have so far been completely unaware of the existence of industrially produced fish food, water conditioners or other requisites for fishkeeping. However, Tetra has no intention of swamping local dealers there with its products. "We intend to build up this still young aquatics market quite gradually and gain the confidence of people living there for our brands," says Koord Janssen, setting out his company's approach. For this reason only a fairly limited range consisting of the principal aquarium products is expected to be distributed in Vietnam for the time being. Seminars for the trade Under the direction of the Tetra outpost in Singapore, which is responsible for the majority of its Asian business, the company aims to run regular seminars for the trade in Vietnam. These will concentrate primarily on explaining how to set up and care for an aquarium and on how to feed ornamental fish. The main principles of fishkeeping will be explained in information brochures for consumers. Tetra has secured the services of the Marketeers company as its local distributor. The company, established by Americans Brown Smiley and Curt Rischar, already distributes many well-known branded goods in Vietnam and is thus familiar with the special features of the domestic market there. Koord Janssen is under no illusions that his company's foray into Vietnam will meet with instant success. However, he anticipates that the support given by Tetra in building up the aquatics market will pay off in the long term. At a glance The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is in Southeast Asia and is bordered by China, Laos, Cambodia and the South China Sea. Following decades of war, Vietnam was considered one of the poorest countries in Asia, but since the end of the…
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