Chunghwa Telecom co-hosts first seminar in Vietnam in Southbound quest

For the first time, Chunghwa Telecom and Viettel Group, Vietnam’s largest telecommunications company, have jointly hosted two seminars, with up to 70 firms from Taiwan and Vietnam participating. Both Chunghwa Telecom and Viettel Group are optimistic about business opportunities amid Vietnam’s fast economic growth and the Taiwanese telecommunications giant hopes to duplicate its success story in Vietnam in countries such as Thailand and Indonesia, said Wu Hsueh-Lan, President of Chunghwa Telecom’s International Business Group.

At the invitation of Viettel Group, the two companies hosted a seminar each in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on Aug. 27 and Aug. 30 on the subject of Smart Manufacturing in an Age of Cloud Computing. Among the 60 to 70 Vietnam-based companies from financial and manufacturing sectors, some 90 percent were Taiwanese firms having invested in Vietnam and the rest from the host country itself. 

As early as 12 years ago, Chunghwa Telecom and Viettel Group started a joint venture, with the former providing technical support in the establishment and management of a new internet data center (IDC). Chunghwa Telecom subsequently set up a subsidiary in Vietnam and met with healthy demand for ICT solutions related to telecommunications, cloud computing, cybersecurity and smart manufacturing, etc.

Speaking at the seminar in Hanoi, Wu noted that it marked the first time Chunghwa Telecom and Viettel Group hosted such an event in Vietnam together. As Vietnam’s largest telecommunications company, Viettel Group has grown to become the leading telecommunications operator in several other countries in the world, with a size that is three to four times bigger than Chunghwa Telecom, Wu said.

Having made investments in Vietnam over the last several years, Chunghwa Telecom as well as Viettel Group expects demand in the country to grow rapidly over the next five to ten years, she said, adding that her company hopes to introduce Taiwan’s latest ICT services to both Taiwanese companies operating in Vietnam and local enterprises.

Through exchanges with companies operating in Vietnam, Chunghwa Telecom hopes to seek new opportunities for cooperation, expanding its customer base from Taiwanese firms in Vietnam to local businesses and even winning government contracts. At the moment, Chunghwa Telecom’s earnings from ICT sales in Vietnam have become comparable to those from IDC operations and the company expects future growth to be driven by new corporate clients introduced by Viettel and government projects.

With the trade war going on between the United States and China, Taiwanese companies operating in China have started to move in droves since last year to northern Vietnam because of the region’s geographical proximity, observed Liu Hsuan-Lung, Managing Director of the Planning Department at Chunghwa Telecom’s International Business Group. Most of those companies are from the electronic manufacturing sector and their demand has helped Chunghwa Telecom double its ICT earnings over the past year, he said, adding that he expects the healthy growth to extend into next year.

Chunghwa Telecom’s service to Force Tech Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Eternal Prowess Group, a company that has operated in Vietnam for more than two decades, is a good example. Force Tech has three manufacturing plants in Vietnam, producing material for rubber soles used by world-renowned brands. In the past two years, as the number of foreign investors in Vietnam increased rapidly, it has become more difficult to recruit workers and the cost of opening a new factory has gotten higher and that has led to declining profit for traditional manufacturing sectors such as makers of apparel and footwear.

In response, Force Tech has actively sought to optimize the efficiency of its production lines by introducing automation, with the goal of maximizing the company’s bottom line, said Tom Yuan, the company’s general manager. A smart solution provided by Chunghwa Telecom proved effective and shortened the learning curve of a new plant by two to three years. Having tasted “the delicious fruit” of the solution, his company expects to apply the formula to its other plants.

President Wu of Chunghwa Telecom’s International Business Group said that it is important to have cooperation among quality enterprises when trying to expand in countries covered under the Taiwan government’s New Southbound Policy. For instance, she said, in the second quarter of 2019, Chunghwa Telecom formed an alliance with leading companies working on energy saving and smart manufacturing solutions. In the area of logistics, the company is planning to work with a drone operator and continues to seek both domestic and foreign partners from various sectors while trying to expand its market share in Vietnam. In that respect, Wu hopes that the Taiwan government will lend strong support to the forming of a “national team” in order to compete with companies from other countries.

At the same time, Chunghwa Telecom has prioritized its mission this year to expand ICT services in the three major markets of Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia while hoping to duplicate its success Vietnam when doing business in Thailand, Indonesia and other countries.

(This article is published with the authorization of Central News Agency, Taiwan.)

Wu Hsueh-Lan (second from left), President of Chunghwa Telecom’s International Business Group, and Liu Hsuan-Lung (first right), Managing Director of the International Business Group’s Planning Department, pose for a picture with Viettel officials at the first seminar jointly hosted by Chunghwa Telecom and Viettel Group, Vietnam’s largest telecommunications company. (Photo by Chunghwa Telecom)