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Vietnam loses clothing-market share   2008-09-22 - VNS

Customers select clothes at Viet Nam’s High-quality Goods Fair in Ha Noi. Made-in-Viet Nam clothing is facing tough competition from China, Thailand and Singapore.

 Made-in-Viet Nam clothing is facing tough competition from products from neighbouring countries such as China, Thailand and Singapore, especially in supermarkets.

Previously, domestically produced clothing had proved popular at supermarkets, with Chinese made clothing mostly available at boutiques, but now supermarkets are also filling with Chinese products, said Dang Quynh Doan, director of the Viet Thy Fashion Company.

A recent survey of retailers showed that Chinese made clothing occupies between 20-40 per cent of shelf-space in supermarkets.

However, Le Quoc An, chairman of the Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association still has confidence in Vietnamese clothing.

"It is not correct to say that Vietnamese clothing is losing in the domestic market. Vietnamese clothing is facing stiff competition but still out-sells imported clothing," said An.

According to An, Vietnamese spent an estimated US$1.8 billion on clothing last year, most of which was domestically produced.

An said domestic producers were having trouble attracting female customers in urban areas, but still hold a large market share in rural areas.

Shortcomings

Design and fabrics are the main shortcomings of the domestic fashion industry, said Phan Van Kiet, deputy director of Viet Tien Garment Company, adding that domestic designers are somewhat behind international fashion trends. Vietnamese clothing is more suitable for the middle-aged, while Chinese clothing appeals to the young and fashion conscious.

"Vietnamese producers are weak in producing female clothing because of lack of fashionable fabrics and designers. Thailand and China, on the other hand, have a stronger design team and better fabrics," An said.

Some Vietnamese clothing is able to meet the demands of more fashionable shoppers, such as that of local brands NinoMaxx, PT 2000 and Blue. However, the price of these products is more expensive than Chinese products.

"I prefer Chinese clothing because of its fashionable design and cheap price. I can buy two shirts made in China for the price of one Vietnamese made shirt," said Thu Trang, a student from Ha Noi.

According to Nguyen Thi Hong Huong, director of Vinatexmart, a Vietnamese garment company, domestic producers also have other hurdles to overcome. "Local garment producers don’t deliver on time, and sizes and quality are inconsistent," Huong said.

Retailers are also reluctant to stock local garments, as profits on Chinese made clothing are higher.

Retailers can make profits of 40-60 per cent on imported Chinese clothing, which compares well to the 25 per cent profit made on Vietnamese clothing.

Viet Nam has a population of 85 million, this number will increase to about 100 million by 2015. There is huge potential in the fashion market that local producers should not miss.



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