INTERVIEW FROM THUONG GIA MAGAZINE

1. Dear Sir/Madam, as the current situation of COVID-19 pandemic happening all over the world, we all know that the world economy and businesses are facing a devastating time. As the representative of HongKong businesses in Vietnam, can you share with us the difficulties that HongKong businesses and investors in Vietnam have had over the past 6 months?

[HKBAV] I believe the difficulties HK businesses experienced in Vietnam is no different than that of other countries.  The most common issue has been for the closing of international border causing delay in many of the business decisions and progress while stranded experts are still trying to return to Vietnam.  HK investments in Vietnam is a combination of international investments from regional headquarters in HK and local HK businesses so anything that impacts the world will impact HK almost the same.  Our members have been weathering the COVID period reasonably ok except for those who are in hospitality and travel who are much harder hit and not all will recover.  Other members have diversified their business into other/additional product lines suited for COVID like masks and protective clothing to stay afloat and are doing reasonably well. Our membership has not seen any specific decline and in fact our membership was quite active and we saw increasing engagement during COVID.  We worked closely with Hong Kong Trade Development Council to ensure the business community is still well connected regionally and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office to ensure information are up to date for all HK businesses.  

2.What are your advices to all the businesses and business leaders (in general) in order to overcome this challenge?

[HKBAV] COVID is a bigger than life business disruption and nothing could have prepared anyone for it.  It is important to be a bit more conservative with your cash projection because we have yet to understand the longer term impact of COVID on business.  But time waits for no one, and business must go on.  It is just as equally important to ensure you invest now if you want to remain in business.  In crisis lies opportunities and it is truer than ever.  We are very lucky to be in Vietnam where the COVID curve has been flattened early to allow most businesses to take better control of the situation.  It is said in almost all surveys that Vietnam will recover faster than most economies, not only because of the outstanding efforts in controlling COVID but also due to the trade war between US and China, not to mention the recent rectification of EVFTA with Europe.

3. What measures has HKBAV taken in order to help businesses develop and overcome the economic impact of COVID-19 in Vietnam?

[HKBAV] As an organization that promotes networking and collaboration of businesses between HK and Vietnam, our responsibility first and foremost is to provide information to enable those investment and business decisions. While we may not directly assist anyone with overcoming any economic impact of COVID-19 in Vietnam, we remain supportive to our members in promoting their businesses where appropriate and needed.  While we cannot gather in person to exchange ideas, we have been very active online bringing even bigger communities together through organizing of webinars not only in Vietnam but regionally collaborating with HKTDC and Hong Kong business associations in the region together with other business chambers in Vietnam.  We covered a wide spectrum of subjects at our webinars from business to education to technology to ensure relevancy to our members and businesses at large having speakers joining from all over the world. Activated during COVID time, we have already successfully hosted 10 webinars to date with the largest attended by 300 from all over the world. We will continue to stand guard for our members’ benefits, providing relevant updates on government policies and business information post COVID using online platforms until we are able to gather again.