Vietnam Part 2: A Little Local Color

Kit O’Connor ‘17

HANOI, VIETNAM – I’m writing this blog post from the ground in Hanoi near the end of our trip, but it will primarily concern our final visits with local companies in Saigon. However, before I get to the official Chazen visits, it’s worth mentioning one very local company in particular:

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Vietnam is known for cheap labor and raw materials, so it’s no surprise that there’s also a strong market for customized clothing. One student on the trip decided that he wanted a customized suit, and network effects being what they are among MBAs, soon Phi Phi Tailor had orders for 15 suits, 25 shirts, and six pairs of pants. In a little over 48 hours, I had in hand both the cheapest and best-fitting jacket I had ever worn!

In the official company visits to Veeteq Farm, Tri Duc Foods, and Masan Group’s consumer division, we saw a similar dedication to price and quality. From the official banner welcoming the group to Veeteq Farm to the package of authentic Vietnamese coffee given to each of us as we left Masan Group, it was clear that each company took an enormous amount of pride in its ventures and was very excited to share its story with our group.

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Tri Duc’s motto, “Hygienic foods for your health,” nicely encapsulated a common theme that we saw in our travels. As the Vietnamese middle class rapidly grows, consumers are demanding more stringent safety and quality standards for food, and companies go to great lengths to assure customers that its products are genuine in both quality and health. Vieteeq Farms, which sells only through direct channels and its own self-branded retail stores, actually has a live feed of its facilities to prove that its standards are being followed.

That’s all for now – next time I’ll describe some of the key differences between the north and south of the country. For the moment, I need to run to our recap meeting, which is being held in quite the interesting venue…

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