As one of the first management consulting groups established in Vietnam, Vietnam Consulting Group (VCG) celebrates twenty years next year.
Founder and CEO Doan Huu Duc believes the success of VCG is based on strong Japanese partnerships. The company has been developing businesses with Japan for more than a decade. First starting with payment services, VCG then began working within the retail and communication spaces by collaborating with multinationals such as JCB, Takashimaya, Sojitz, Ministop, Brainwork and Fuji TV to name a few.
In March 2019, VCG reached a major landmark with their fintech division, Bankmart, having signed an agreement with GRAB, a SoftBank investment, on all mobile payments. The milestone agreement makes VCG the exclusive outsourcing partner of GrabPay to acquire millions of merchants for the Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant. This new partnership follows decades of VCG’s success in credit card merchandising services for Vietcombank, the No. 1 credit card acquiring bank in Vietnam.
Doan Huu Duc, Founder and CEO of Vietnam Consulting Group | © VCG
“There has never been a better time for Japanese enterprises to invest in Vietnam,” said Duc. “The economic landscape has changed over the past decade and today provides more opportunities for Japanese investors and smalland mid-sized enterprises who are looking to capitalize on the dynamic local market, especially within the Mekong Delta’s agriculture and aquaculture industries.”
“Thanks to government initiatives, the Vietnamese private sector and SMEs are developing at an encouraging rate and becoming key factors in the country’s success. Our prime objective at VCG is to bring together these enterprises and those from Japan in order for them to collaborate and develop business together, especially in the food industry and food services sectors,” said Duc.
VCG has gone on to become the leading SME service provider in Vietnam. The company has supported thousands of local and international SMEs across the country since 2000 and also collaborates with organizations such as the International Finance Corporation, Asian Development Bank, and Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit.
VCG has also co-founded two Innovation Hubs, a coworking space and a center for startups. The first being the Saigon Innovation Hub (SIHUB) with support from HCM City People’s Committee. The second, Mekong Innovation hub (MEHUB), was co-founded last year in Can Tho, the Mekong’s capital city, together with the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a Japanese partner, fueling the private sector development of the region. VCG are now designing the MIHUB center, which will be the first smart building within the Mekong region, coinciding with its 20th anniversary.
With the assistance of Japanese Official Development Assistance, the region’s recent infrastructure projects have sped up migration and urbanization into cities like Can Tho. This in turn, has fueled the booming real estate industry.
“We have collaborated with local authorities and Japanese businesses to optimize the urban design and development in these cities,” said Duc.
VCG collaborates with Japanese consulting firms and market leaders, organizing hundreds of training workshops and project- consulting events. The company works closely with chambers of commerce to bring Vietnamese and Japanese SMEs together at sporting events, trade fairs and business matching programs in Japan and Vietnam to promote bilateral trade.
In 2014, VCG brought Brainwork, one of their Japanese partners, to Can Tho, in order to connect with the local chamber of commerce. This led to the creation of Japan-Mekong Festival Week. “This year, we visited Hokkaido to promote the fourth Japan-Mekong Festival Week summit, which will be held in Can Tho this November,” said Duc. “Together with Brainwork and VCCI Cantho, we hope to bring 300 Japanese visitors to the Mekong for our sport, racing and business matching events.”
Last year, the Japan-Mekong Festival was attended by more than 130 Japanese representatives. This year’s fourth Japan-Mekong Festival is expected to attract twice this number.
“The relationship between Japan and Vietnam have blossomed. The central and local government have recently confirmed that Japan must be the major international partner for the Mekong’s development for the coming decade, and Can Tho will be the entry point to the region’s development,” said Duc. “This is very encouraging for local SMEs and indeed the region’s agriculture industry. Our mission is to help nurture future partnerships and ensure Vietnamese enterprises grow together with their Japanese counterparts.”