Hungry for capital goods

Vietnam's gross domestic product is on a par with that of the German state Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Annual per capita incomes are around EUR 540.00. Yet the market holds appeal for foreign manufacturers.

Vietnam's economy has been one of the fastest growing markets in the world since the early 1990s. In recent years GDP growth has averaged 7 %-plus, hitting as much as 8.4 % in 2005. Expansion is driven by the industrial sector, chiefly the manufacture of clothing, footwear and other leather goods, and construction. Oil and natural gas deposits in the South China Sea are enabling Vietnam to build up further competitive branches of industry. By the end of this decade the country will possess refinery capacities of its own.
The foundation for this growth was laid 20 years ago with the decision at the Sixth National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam on the fundamental renewal (doi moi) of all areas of social life. 200,000 privately-owned businesses operate in Vietnam meanwhile. To develop and expand industries, machinery and equipment are needed from abroad - financed by exports of food, textiles, garments, shoes and raw materials. The Vietnamese exhibition calendar reflects the country's demand for capital goods. It comprises fairs for machine tools, machinery for the production of textiles, clothing, footwear and leather, exhibitions for petrochemicals, the plastics and rubber industry, shipbuilding, telecommunications, transport, medical technology, packaging technology, hotel and catering equipment and supplies, air conditioning and mining. Each year new fairs are added, some whose themes overlap with existing shows. While Vietnam is well endowed with capital goods fairs, exhibitions focusing on consumer goods are scarce. That, too, is consistent with the country's possibilities and demand. Apart from Vietnamese show organisers, the other main players come from the country's Asian neighbours. But organisers from the United States and Europe are also represented with proprietary fairs. Hannover Messe International has organised EPM Vietnam - Engineering-Production-Machinery since 1992 with a two-year staging cycle. In October 2007 the exhibition takes place again in Ho Chi Minh City. As in previous years, participation in EPM Vietnam is on the agenda of the German Ministry of Economics and Technology in cooperation with The Association of the German Trade Fair Industry, AUMA, Berlin. The German Pavilion also extends to H2O, a parallel exhibition for the water industry organised since 2005 by the Hamburg-based company Planetfair. For 2007 Planetfair has added another parallel event, Environment Vietnam 2007 - International Exhibition on Environmental Management Technology & Pollution Control Equipment & Systems to the calendar. Besides participation in EPM Vietnam/H2O, a further national German participation is planned in Vietnam Wood in Ho Chi Minh City, plus the two special events Qualification Asia Vietnam (Hanoi) and the 2nd Textile Technology Symposium Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City).
There is a certain division of labour between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. The economic centre of Vietnam unquestionably lies in the south of the country, in Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta. The major exhibition venue is the HIECC Ho Chi Minh City International Exhibition and Convention Center featuring roughly 7,200 m2 of gross hall space. The counterpoint to Ho Chi Minh City with its tropical climate is the capital Hanoi in the north. As the political centre of the country, it possesses many scientific and cultural institutions. Hence, fairs on government-related themes have set up shop mainly in Hanoi, such as education and transport exhibitions. The two main exhibition sites in Hanoi are the VEFAC Vietnam Exhibition Fair Center (7,000 m2) and the Viet-Xo Friendship Cultural Palace. In both trade fair cities the exhibition centres are substantially appointed, even though they cannot match the newbuilds in other Asian countries. The Saigon Sky Expo Center (SSEC) will provide Ho Chi Minh City with an attractive new fairground. Financed entirely by a Korean investor, it is set to open next May. On a total area measuring 21,500 m2, almost 12,000 m2 of hall space will be available for tradeshows and 3,300 m2 for conferences. The new site is owned and operated by the Korean company Sky Expo Vietnam (SEC). Gerd Bettermann

m+a report Nr.8 / 2006 vom 08.12.2006
m+a report vom 8. Dezember 2006