Nokia and Samsung, the two biggest phone manufacturers in the world, have dislodged domestic manufacturers from the Vietnamese market with their low pricing strategy.
Thanh Cong Mobile, known as a Vietnamese mobile phone trading company, last week introduced its first products, two Android-based models with strong configurations, Bavapen B508 and Bavapen B518, each priced at less than VND2.5 million.
Thanh Cong hopes it can find buyers with its strategy of niche marketproducts, reasonable prices and post-sale service that it claims is superior to its rivals'.
When asked about the sales strategy, Thanh Cong CEO Nguyen Quoc Bao said the company needs the support of Vietnamese users and the local press in its struggle against foreign brands.“Samsung and Nokia have killed many Vietnamese brands,” Bao said.
According to the CEO, the major players in the market have achieved their dominance with a low price strategy. They sell their products for surprisingly little, sometimes even selling at a loss, to drive Vietnamese manufacturers on the ropes. After Vietnamese brands disappear from the market, they, as the only game in town, will raise their selling prices and cash in.
Bao also said he has found one other deadly mistake of Vietnamese brands, which he intends not to repeat.
Most Vietnamese manufacturers do not provide good post-sales service. Thanh Cong, in its role as a distributor, has sometimes had to spend its own money to buy back defective mobile phones from customers in order to keep them satisfied. That's a duty that belongs to the manufacturer, but too many domestic phone producers shirk that responsibility.
In other cases, foreign manufacturers have suddenly abandoned the Vietnamese market, which made distributors like Thanh Cong suffer because they could not find accessories and maintenance parts.
Vietnam witnessed a mushrooming of domestic phone brands some years ago. However, many of them have disappeared from the market, while the number of existing Vietnamese brands is so modest that it “can be counted with the fingers”.
Analysts said most of the manufacturers focused on making smartphones, the Android low-cost products. Bavapen first hit the market five years ago, but it had been absentfromthe market until its recent return.
Some Vietnamese smartphone users disagree with Bao over his assertion that Vietnamese smartphone brands have been weeded out of the market because of the low pricing strategy applied by Samsung and Nokia.
“It's time for Vietnamese businesses to face the facts and not to blame Samsung or Nokia,” commented Huynh Luan, an office worker.
“They (Vietnamese manufacturers) should understand that their products are not popular because of the low quality, not because of the lack of the Vietnamese customers' support,” he added. “It is unfair to say Vietnamese are not patriots just because they don't buy Vietnamese products”.
Pham Thao, a housewife, candidly stated that she will never buy Vietnamese-branded phones. Her reason? That the domestically produced phones “bear a Vietnamese appearance but a Chinese soul”.
To date, all Vietnamese-branded phones have been made to order at Chinese factories and under the design of Vietnamese companies.
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