Aside from improving product quality, local businesses and producers have been urged to take on board information relating to consumers’ tastes and trends, standards and technical barriers set by the Republic of Korea in order to make inroads into the market.
Five Vietnamese fruits have created a presence in the RoK market including local coconuts, pineapples, dragon fruit, mangoes, and bananas.
The information was released by Byungsuk Chun, an advisory expert of World Friends NIPA, at a recent workshop that sought ways to boost exports to the Republic of Korea (RoK).
Currently, several Vietnamese aquatic products such as shrimp and pangasius (tra and basa fish) are being exported to the RoK market. In addition, five Vietnamese fruits have created a presence in the market, including local coconuts, pineapples, dragon fruit, mangoes, and bananas.
Despite some presence, the market share of domestic farm produce in the RoK market remains low. With the RoK spending roughly US$33 billion on importing farm produce from other countries, there are plenty of opportunities for Vietnamese farm produce to penetrate the market.
Hoang Quang Phong, Vice President of the Vietnam Chamber of Industry and Commerce, said Vietnam still records the largest trade deficit with the RoK while domestic firms have encountered a number of technical barriers in terms of food safety and hygiene.
For example, all fresh imported fruit and vegetables must have quarantine certificates issued by relevant agencies in the RoK.
For processed vegetables and fruit, local factories must meet stringent criteria such as export certificates granted by the RoK side following an extensive examination of production lines at all phases from garden to harvesting, processing, and preservation of products.
A representative from the Vietnam-RoK design centre emphasised that several of the nation’s agricultural products and handcrafts comply with the RoK consumers’ requirements relating to quality, packaging, and design.
Mr Byungsuk Chun advised local businesses to gain a better understanding of information on the market and tastes of Korean consumer to dictate more the export of Vietnamese products to the market.
RoK consumers now strongly favour products that have a natural origin and tend to seek delicious, clean, and healthy products. The demand for dietary supplements and cosmetics to enhance the immune system are particular favourites among consumers who are willing to purchase these products at high prices.
The Korean advisory expert also noted the average age of consumers. With the number of consumers above the age of 50 increasing rapidly, the target demographic for each type of product must also change accordingly.
Therefore, domestic businesses need to keep up to date with trends to successfully launch products that suit the tastes of Korean consumers in terms of design and types.
Moreover, the trend of online shopping has become a typical characteristic of the RoK market. Online trade activities based on discussions among groups on the internet have become a popular method by which consumers in the RoK order low-cost products.
Consumers often compare prices from online trading floors and websites before making decisions on their shopping activities. In addition, local businesses should pay attention to the trend of single-family homes, which has seen a remarkably rise in the RoK in recent years.
Vietnamese businesses must also study information relating to the market such as product standards and quality, whilst seeking and setting up partnerships within the RoK market. Additional opportunities can also be found at trade fairs whilst exhibitions are a useful method by which to meet partners and seek useful information.
Along with this farm produce export firms have been urged to better understand import criteria for each type of product, invest in stages such as packaging and design, and focus on a fast delivery time to ensure long-term co-operation.
Although Vietnamese exports to the RoK remain limited, the nation’s exports to the RoK will be promoted with the support from both country’s governments, Mr Byungsuk Chun noted.
The Korean expert also underlined the three basic factors in the packaging design including product, consumers, and distribution. Businesses should pay attention to materials, origin, and features before designing products as well as the competitiveness of products in comparison to similar products in the market.
He also emphasized the importance of reasonable prices in order to attract customers, noting that Vietnamese businesses should realise the benefits of an innovative design for their products and services to increase the value of export items.