HANOI, Vietnam, November 17, 2000
-- Vietnam’s burgeoning private sector is about to gain extensive new access to international trade through a new platform that will provide an electronic marketplace for the country’s 30,000 businesses to reach overseas markets. The Internet-based e-commerce venture, MeetVietnam.com, is the initiative of the International Finance Corporation, MeetChina.com, a leading cross border trade platform in China, and FPT, one of Vietnam’s largest Internet Service Providers.
The United States Secretary of Commerce, Norman Mineta, presided over the launching ceremony during his visit to Vietnam as part of the delegation accompanying President Bill Clinton on the first visit by a U.S. President since the Vietnam war.
MeetVietnam.com will provide Vietnamese companies with online tools to manage every aspect of cross-border trade, from discovery to delivery of products. It will dramatically enhance the ability of Vietnamese exporters to identify markets abroad and increase the volume and price of exports. MeetVietnam is the first trade-based, e-commerce joint venture between a U.S. and a Vietnamese firm and will build export-import links between the two countries.
IFC provided US$300,000 in seed capital through the SME Capacity Building Facility, a program to stimulate small and medium-sized companies in developing countries. IFC also helped with the early development of the venture through the Mekong Project Development Facility (MPDF) an IFC-managed multidonor initiative to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Vietnam, Cambodia, and PDR Lao.
“MeetVietnam.com will allow Vietnamese businesses, many of them SME exporters, to leap out of near-isolation and help them to join the global marketplace, establishing direct dealings with companies around the world,” said Javed Hamid, Director of IFC’s East Asia-Pacific Department.
“Through MeetVietnam.com, private and state-sector companies will have electronic tools to participate in foreign trade through the Internet”, said Ms. Dinh Thi Hoa, the co-founder of Galaxy, Vietnam’s leading consulting and public relations firm and MeetVietnam’s newly appointed CEO. "Although the first private companies emerged less than a decade ago, there are already 30,000 private companies in Vietnam. We expect to offer these companies their first direct exposure to overseas markets."
Dr. Truong Gia Binh, CEO of FPT, the leading ISP and Software Development firm in Vietnam, said the platform would “offer the opportunity to trade through the Internet which will speed up Vietnam’s adoption of e-commerce for business, and offer the economy a tremendous chance to grow.”
“With a population of 70 million people, Vietnam is one of Asia’s sleeping giants,” said Len Cordiner, CEO of MeetChina.com. “Along with our other ventures in Asia, MeetVietnam will be a key piece in offering overseas companies access to emerging markets through the Internet.”
On July 13th, 2000, Vietnam and the United States signed a bilateral trade agreement which the U.S. Commercial Service expects will allow Vietnam's exports to the United States to double in the next two years. In 1999, Vietnamese exports reached $11 billion, up more than 20 percent from 1998.
MeetVietnam’s four founding partners are MeetChina.com, Galaxy Consulting, FPT and IFC.
Based in San Francisco with operations throughout Asia, MeetChina.com is a global cross-border trade portal and operates China’s largest business-to-business (B2B) site. MeetChina has recently announced ventures in the Philippines and India and plans to open a number of other country operations throughout Asia in the near future.
The vision of MeetChina.com is to level the playing field in global trade by using the Internet to allow buyers and sellers to access one another directly and to trade free of many of the traditional impediments and costs. MeetChina is working with world class trade service groups in order to enable this service including SGS for quality inspection, AIG for marine insurance, Citibank and First Union Bank for cross-border payment facilitation, and a number of leading freight forwarders for logistics.
Galaxy, the leading consulting and public relations firm in Vietnam, was founded in 1994 by two Harvard MBA graduates, Dinh Thi Hoa and Tran Vu Hoai. Galaxy’s business of providing foreign investment consultation services is dedicated to helping foreign companies develop, structure and manage their investments and business ventures in Vietnam. Galaxy holds an impressive track record, with clients that include Collier Jardine (The Jardine Group, UK), Allianz/AGF (Germany/France), Meinhart (Australia), and Saatchi and Saatchi (Australia).
About Corporation for Financing and Promoting Technology (FPT)
Founded in 1988 by a group of foreign-educated scientists, FPT has gradually become the largest technology group in Vietnam through its respected management and technological initiatives. In 1994, just hours after the U.S. trade embargo was lifted, FPT became the first business partner of U.S. computer giant IBM. In 1997 FPT was the first company awarded ICP and ISP licenses when Vietnam hooked up to the global network. FPT has been named the “most admired computer company” in nation-wide surveys conducted by PCWorld Vietnam. FPT aims to become a global player in software outsourcing businesses and already has offices in Silicon Valley and Bangalore. With its popular website and hundreds-strong technology workforce, FPT is a reliable technological partner for local businesses seeking international trade opportunities created by MeetVietnam, as well as for U.S. businesses seeking high-quality but affordable IT services.
About International Finance Corporation (IFC)
The International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank Group, promotes private sector investment in developing countries, which will reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC is the largest multilateral source of loan and equity financing for private sector projects in the developing world. It stimulates and mobilizes private investment by demonstrating that investments in developing countries can be profitable.
Financing for the MeetVietnam.com venture is provided through the SME Capacity Building Facility, a new World Bank Group initiative to provide financial support in developing countries for small business projects that are innovative
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