Smart Storm took their first steps in exhibiting in Asia when our International Business Development Manager – Paul Walters attended VIETWATER in Ho Chi Minh City in November.
Why Vietnam you may ask? Vietnam is one of Asia’s most dynamic economies, with a population of 95 million people (13th largest in the world) and a high literacy rate at around 95% it is an attractive market that British companies need to take advantage off.
By sector, as you may expect, agriculture is very strong closely followed by Industry and construction. To date there has not been a lot of activity by British companies in the water sector but Vietnamese companies are open to doing business with the U.K. and judging by the numbers and reactions of visitors to our booth there is an appetite for British products.
The balance of trade between our two countries is currently strongly in favour of the Vietnamese, however this is predominantly led by the fact Samsung assemble their mobile phones there
VIETWATER is now in its 9th year and judging by the number and flow of visitors is very popular with Vietnamese companies. We were also delighted to welcome visitors from around the Asian region from China, India, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and as far afield as Australia. All showing interest in the disruptive technology that Smart Storm offer to the water and waste water industries.
During the show the recently appointed Minister of Trade with responsibility for Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam Ed Vaizey visited the U.K. pavilion to support the efforts of the companies who were flying the flag for the U.K.
Paul was delighted when the Minister having spotted our ‘Greasebuster’ commented that Thames Water could have done with this product to deal with their fatberg. He went on to say how pleased he was to see companies making the effort to break into dynamic new markets like Vietnam and wished us luck. Hopefully these expressions of support may be translated into support for small exporters by the government. A matter Paul raised again later in the week at a reception at the British Consul Generals residence in Ho Chi Minh city centre.
At the end of the three-day event Paul summed up the opportunities offered in Vietnam.
“Significant opportunities are evident in water and waste water, flood control and desalination in Vietnam and we must now look how we can take advantage of the opportunities that are available to Smart Storm in the water and waste water field”
“Infrastructure spending is needed all across the country and whilst financing this currently presents some barriers, funding is available through organisations like the World Bank, Asian development Bank and the like”
“The Vietnamese government is no open to PPP projects to move some of these projects forward, cities like Ho Chi Minh need to upgrade to offer the lifestyle that the upwardly mobile population require”
For Smart Storm Vietnam offers a unique opportunity to enter a new market where the innovate products can offer solutions in particular in the Water Quality sector”
“Vietnam is a fascinating country and we will be back”