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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        31  May 2011

Vietnamese electronics sector hit by imports

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Plans for the Vietnamese electronic industry could end up nowhere as imported products have flooded the local market, industry insiders say.

According to the General Statistics Office, the import turnover for electronic products, computers and spare parts reached US$1.76 billion in the first four months, an increase of 29.7 percent over the same period last year.

China and Malaysia accounted for $567 million and $118 million of this figure, posting respective increases of 20.6 and 9.4 percent. Imports of Korean electronic products, meanwhile, tripled to $462 million.

For May alone, import turnover topped $500 million, an increase of more than 20 percent above April.

Many importers attributed the import surge of the last five months to the launch of many new products for this year.

Moreover, the US dollar exchange rate had "cooled down" recently, making it easier to obtain the greenback from banks, with some selling it at lower than the listed price.

Enterprises have taken full advantage of these factors to import products in large volumes. They have also been motivated to do so by the assessment of distributors that this year's electronic market will experience high growth.

The intensified competition in the market resulted from rising import of electronic products has been particularly felt with air-conditioners. Many importers doubled their volumes over last year, banking on the strong consumption that was seen last summer. The products of popular brands went out of stock last year, and businesses are hoping for a spurt in sales this year as well.

Bui Tan Cuong, director of Thien Hoa Electronics and Interior Decoration Product Centre, said that domestically produced or assembled electronic products used to account for 70-80 percent of sales at trade centres.

However, it has now fallen by almost half, he said. Imported televisions, for instance, account for 60 percent of sales at trade centres instead of the previous 30 percent.

Imported refrigerators, air-conditioners and washing machines now have more than 50 percent of the domestic market share. Especially, imported household appliance products have occupied more than 80 percent and digital items are nearly imported 100 percent.

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