Thursday, 26 Jan 2012
The power of talent in Vietnam
Paul Smith, executive chairman of UK company Harvey Nash Outsourcing, shares his secrets and insights for business success in Vietnam.
Harvey Nash has been doing business in Vietnam for over 11 years now and there can be few UK companies with as much experience of doing business there as ours.
I’m passionate about the country and all that it offers both to Harvey Nash and other UK companies looking to grow in Asia. It is a country where the pace of change is huge and the people are highly motivated, educated, entrepreneurial and positive.
Harvey Nash: Facts And Figures
London-based company with 500 employees in the UK, 38 global offices and revenues of £422 million
Established in 1988, Harvey Nash first entered the Vietnamese market in 2000 and now has offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City
Employs 4,500 people in its software manufacturing hub in Vietnam developing software applications, R&D and maintenance services for clients in 33 countries
Awards from Vietnamese government – Soa KhueAward
It’s business in Vietnam accounts for 30% of the overall outsourcing business
56% of the Harvey Nash team in Vietnam is female with many in senior management or technical roles
4 million UK children are administered through each school day by software written in Vietnam by Harvey Nash
Over 100,000 disadvantaged people in the UK have been helped into work by software written in Vietnam
Harvey Nash is a global IT outsourcing provider and professional recruitment consultancy, with international clients ranging across governments, businesses and institutions.
It may surprise you that technology applications from our software development business in Vietnam power many everyday operations in the UK; from 3G mobile phone messaging to the issuing of doctor appointments and prescriptions.
It was over a bowl of noodles that the decision was made to explore Vietnam! A client at the time wanted us to base Harvey Nash’s software business arm in India, but while discussing this with him in a Vietnamese restaurant, the waiter overheard our conversation and suggested we meet his brother, a software engineer in Vietnam and set up there instead.
We investigated the market and initially partnered with a local company in a joint venture capacity before fully acquiring the business in 2006 and growing it from there.
We now employ 4,500 people in two bases in the country developing software applications, R&D and maintenance services for clients in 33 countries. From here we generate 30% of Harvey Nash Outsourcing’s revenue.
Being in Vietnam has had a huge effect on our business; the entrepreneurial spirit, drive and energy of our Vietnamese colleagues has given extra impetus to everyone at Harvey Nash. It has also helped us weather the storm of the recession, gain market share and secure some important deals.
Vietnam is such a flourishing country with so much potential for UK businesses. Of course doing business there is not without its challenges, but it’s been well worth the effort.
For more information visit: http://www.harveynashoffshore.com/about-us/our-locations/vietnam
Fast facts Vietnam
With a population of 86 million, over 20 million people in Vietnam have a purchasing power equivalent to the average Australian citizen.
Direct flights between Vietnam and UK began on 8 December 2011.
For the period January to September 2011, UK exports of goods to Vietnam amounted to £225 million, an increase of 4 per cent year-on-year.
Vietnam’s economy is predicted to grow 6.8 % in 2011.
Vietnam has one of the highest literacy rates in the world at 90 %.
Paul’s top five tips to doing business in Vietnam
1. Be persistent – entering into the Vietnamese market is not a short-term investment
2. Building relationships is crucial –it’s all about focusing on establishing trust, loyalty and commitment, as well as learning from and absorbing their energy, aspiration and drive
3. Do your homework and spend as much time as you can there – I go at least eight times a year for 1-3 weeks at a time!
4. With 83% of all graduates possessing a science degree, its highly skilled workforce makes it an attractive market for any technology or science business
5. English is widely spoken – it’s the only country in Asia with a roman character set so you won’t have so much of a language barrier to overcome