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Vietnam: Porcelain makers reclaim marketTuesday, September 16, 2014 > 09:28:37
Vietnamese porcelain products, especially the high-end segment, have gradually regained the domestic market thanks to technological investment, after years of losing out to foreign products.
The country currently has roughly 290 porcelain production establishments with the famous trademarks of Minh Long, Bat Trang and Hai Duong.
General Director of the Hai Duong porcelain company Nguyen Do Ha said that Minh Long products are dominating the country's high-end porcelain segment, while CK and Hai Duong products are also having large market shares of the lower-quality segments.
In 2012, the total turnover of the country's porcelain market was roughly VND5.6 trillion (US$262.9 million), of which Vietnamese producers accounted for only 30 per cent.
Chinese porcelain products used to flood the domestic market as they were cheaper than Vietnamese products, even though the domestic samples were more diversified.
General Director of the Minh Long porcelain company Ly Ngoc Minh said that some Chinese porcelain products are cheaper as they are fired at low temperatures which cause them to retain poisonous lead.
Minh explained that in porcelain production, the firing process, which decides the durability and quality of the products, was the most expensive stage.
He said while good quality Vietnamese porcelain products are fired at a temperature of 1,2800C, many Chinese products are fired at 8000C only.
Domestic porcelain producers also admitted that they lost to foreign rivals as most domestic establishments are small with outdated technologies.
To compete better against foreign products, Vietnamese porcelain producers have done their best to restructure and boost investment in technologies in recent years.
Minh Long, for example, has spent more than VND100 billion ($4.69 million) yearly to upgrade machines and equipment since 2010.
Thanks to the investment, Minh Long currently has more than 15,000 designs, more than 3,000 of which qualify for exports.
The investment has also helped Minh Long to increase its annual output and turnover by 20 to 30 per cent on average through productivity improvement and cut in sale prices in the past few years.
According to Minh, in the high-end homeware segment, his products currently account for 80 per cent of the country's market share, while the remaining 20 per cent is claimed by products from Germany, France, Italy and the US.