Viet Nam and South Korea are celebrating 25 years of friendly relations. The Maekyung Korea-Viet Nam Forum today will review the long-term co-operation. South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Viet Nam has been the biggest foreign investor in Viet Nam. Shim Won Hwan, president of Samsung Viet Nam Complex, talks with Viet Nam News reporter Vu Hoa about the operation.
Samsung has been operating in Viet Nam for more than 20 years and is the biggest foreign investor in the country. What do you think about Viet Nam’s investment environment and its plans to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI)?
When we talk about Viet Nam’s competitiveness, we should not differentiate between local and foreign firms as they both have potential for development. The first thing we can say is that Viet Nam has diversified, abundant and excellent human resources.
The Vietnamese Government has signed many trade pacts and Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with other countries. This could be a pre-condition for Viet Nam to attract foreign investors into the country to take advantages of the human resources.
Foreign investors would sell their Vietnamese-made products to different markets in the world, taking advantage of the country’s geography and natural resources.
Vietnamese leaders, both at the central and local levels, are determined to attract foreign investment. They have provided support to facilitate foreign investors in production and business.
What is your forecast of Samsung’s business results in 2017 in Viet Nam?
When assessing Samsung’s business results in Viet Nam, two factors are often considered important including Samsung’s exports and effectiveness in its employment of Vietnamese human resources. This year, we expected export turnover of more than US$50 billion from all subsidiaries of the Samsung Group in Viet Nam. According to our statistics, we are creating 160,000 jobs for Vietnamese people.
We are doing business in electronics, information and technology, a sector going through rapid changes. Therefore, we cannot predict what next year’s figures will be. However, I can say that business results will be better than this year.
Samsung has been striving to get Vietnamese parts suppliers to join in its supply chain. How do you feel about local suppliers? What advice can you give them?
We will continue our business consultation programmes to increase the number of local vendors in Samsung’s supply chain. The development of local vendors is insufficient. When directly visiting, working and guiding Vietnamese suppliers to improve their skills, I realised they did not meet Samsung’s requirements. However, we can see their potential to become our part suppliers in the future.
Many people misunderstand Samsung’s purpose for providing consultation. They think Samsung focuses only on vendors who will later become our vendors. We do not intend to do that.
We want to provide consultation for suppliers with potential to join our supply chain so that we directly help Vietnamese firms improve their products and technologies. The important thing is that we want them to not only participate into Samsung’s supply chain but in other big groups worldwide.
In the consultation programme, we cannot compete alone. Viet Nam should have engineers and experts to directly support local firms. When we have such people, we can support Vietnamese companies comprehensively.
We are planning to provide training to 200 Vietnamese experts to join our consultation programme next year. We are closely co-operating with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to implement the programme. Samsung will provide technical support to the firms to enhance productivity while the ministry will employ the experts.
The most importance is that company leaders should have determination to improve their products’ quality to serve not only local demand but also global.
Please describe Samsung’s plans to have 50 Vietnamese vendors by 2020?
We have specific plans to reach the set target. In addition to providing a consultation programme for local companies, we also organise an annual sourcing fair. At this event, Samsung introduces what spare parts are needed as well to our typical Vietnamese vendors.
We will continue to organise such fairs to seek excellent vendors and provide them with technological consultation and support. We expect that Samsung and Vietnamese firms will work together to overcome shortcomings and gradually they will become our vendors.
Samsung Electronics Viet Nam has implemented community social responsibilities (CSR) activities for years. How will Samsung continue the activities in the future?
CSR activities are considered as Samsung corporate culture. Samsung has always implemented CSR activities in parallel with its production and business.
Samsung has spent around $3 million for CSR activities in Viet Nam so far this year. The amount will continue to increase. We have provided not only financial support but also more diversified activities. This includes scholarships to poor students, voluntary activities, blood donations and environmental protection.
I always expect to do many CSR activities to show the corporate culture is trying to take part in all activities. The importance is that the culture should be expanded to all individuals from leaders to staff in our company.
I also pay much attention to activities connecting businesses and universities and institutes. Samsung has co-operated with famous universities in Viet Nam to provide them with IT infrastructure to create a better studying environment for students.
Samsung was awarded “Enterprise for employees” by Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour last month. Could you share your policies for your employees?
We are really proud of being presented such a honourable award but it is not our ultimate goal. Our expectation is to create happiness for employees. I meet with our employees and we have no differentiation between leaders and staff. We are a family who provide best working conditions to help employees stay with the family. We are trying to create the most convenient and comfortable living conditions for our staff at their second home.
Every company has a target to create profits, but employees have to be devoted and hard working. The working environment plays an extremely important role in promoting working spirit which brings high profits to companies. Firms will make better profit by investing in their workers. — VNS
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