E-commerce: Vietnamese firms advised to pursue niche strategy against foreign giants
VietNamNet Bridge - Believing that Vietnam’s e-commerce will be controlled by foreign groups, analysts say Vietnamese firms still can find a viable space in the bustling market.


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Truong Vo Tuan, founder and chair of Mua Ban Nhanh JSC, which runs Muabannhanh.com, said e-commerce firms have to accept big losses for a long time to scramble for customers and market share. This means that businesses with small capital won’t survive the competition.

Many trading platforms have had to shut down after a short time of operation, while others have struggled to survive by conquering niche markets.

Mubannhanh.com and other small trading platforms are following a wise strategy which allows them to avoid confrontation with big players backed by holding companies with powerful financial capability.

Muabannhanh.com, for example, focuses on second-hand cars, trucks and houses, and avoids selling technology products, household appliances and gifts, items available on all other big trading platforms.

An analyst said that Mubannhanh.com and other small trading platforms are following a wise strategy which allows them to avoid confrontation with big players backed by holding companies with powerful financial capability.

As small players are not capable of winning the battle, it would be better for them to target market areas that big players reject.

Muabannhanh.com has announced its strategy on operating two separate e-commerce websites, one of which specializes in selling vehicles and the other in real estate. The revenue of the trading platform now hovers around VND7-8 billion a year. It still cannot make a profit though it has been operating for five years. It has to continue to spend money to upgrade transmission lines, the labor force, and utilities.

Targeting niche markets has been the choice of 5giay.vn. Luu Thanh Phuong, the owner of the trading platform, said 5giay.vn targets the market segment for senior customers who want to buy and see products after considering them on the website.

Phuong admitted that by targeting a niche segment, the trading floor only has limited sales. 5giay.vn has not been making a profit for many years, but Phuong has maintained it for personal reasons.

Meanwhile, Lai Tien Manh, a renowned branding expert, said there are still opportunities for Vietnamese firms if they provide support services to big e-commerce firms. E-payment and delivery are two potential sectors for Vietnamese businesses.

He urged Vietnamese investors to pour money into the sectors, saying that the markets remain large enough. 

However, he warned that if Vietnamese investors cannot be ‘swift-footed’, the market will fall into foreign hands, as Grab and GoViet are expanding vigorously.

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Mai Lan

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