Vietnamese businesses are among the world’s most optimistic about international trade prospects and they are also among the most confident when it comes to succeeding in the current environment, according to HSBC’s latest report named “Navigator: Now, next and how for business”.
91 per cent of Vietnamese respondents, compared with 75 per cent globally, indicated they believe the outlook for trade is favourable despite geopolitical factors that are curbing enthusiasm elsewhere.
Three drivers considered to boost trade growth are favourable economic environment, decreasing costs of shipping, logistics and storage as well as an increasing demand for their products.
This bullishness is also reflected in the confidence of Vietnamese firms, with 91 per cent believing that they will succeed in the current environment, compared to 81 per cent of businesses globally. Consumer confidence, commodity prices and global economic growth are the top factors for their own positive outlook.
On a global level, respondents are upbeat about their prospects – encouraged by customer demand and favourable economic conditions – yet many are revising their strategies for fear that protectionist policies will have a negative impact on international trade.
Most Vietnamese respondents are positive about the partnerships established with key trading partners, with 69 per cent believing that ASEAN membership will help their business in the next three years.
Similarly, 65 per cent of Vietnamese firms believe the forthcoming European Union-Vietnam free trade agreement will have a positive impact on their business in the near future.
In addition, Vietnamese businesses are also looking beyond these agreements for growth. Over a quarter of businesses are eyeing opportunities in Japan, while 23 per cent are looking to expand into China, and a fifth are considering South Korea for expansion.
In an effort to raise standards and boost competitiveness, 45 per cent of Vietnamese respondents said up-skilling their workforce is a key focus for investment while 43 per cent firms stated they are placing a greater emphasis on productivity and skills development.
Meanwhile, around 8 out of 10 companies in Vietnam are using data to optimise their performance, compared with 75 per cent globally.
Winfield Wong, Head of Wholesale Banking, HSBC Vietnam said: “Vietnamese businesses’ optimism reflects an economy that’s been one of Asia’s star performers, which has been growing fast.
“They are optimistic as they consider themselves well-positioned thanks to a strong domestic economy, confidence in the global economy, as well as far-reaching trade deals and burgeoning trade relations with major markets.”
HSBC said that there is an increasing demand from clients, particularly those in manufacturing and energy sectors, looking to expand their operations.
“These ambitions are supported by sustainable local economic growth and interest from overseas firms looking to move here. Optimism from Vietnamese businesses has never been stronger,” emphasized Wong.