Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) is encouraging garment manufacturers to divert their production of face masks, to offset the fall in textile exports and foreign investment in the local supply chain. Vu Duc Diang, Chairman, VITAS says, though masks are small-ticket items, they have big export potential as they are becoming mandatory and ubiquitous around the world. Vietnamese textile makers are betting on mask production, assuming that global demand will be sustained because ending the pandemic will take time.
Another way Vietnamese companies can adapt to this new environment is by adopting new technologies. For example, Vietnamese textile companies are conducting entire business deals via WeChat, from introducing products, to negotiating prices, Giang said. The government can also lobby textile companies to clean up production, such as treating water that had been contaminated with dyes, said. Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, General Secretary, VITAS. According to her, a cleaner production process will allow more advanced manufacturers to set up in local industrial parks.
When textile and apparel companies regain their investment appetite, they will continue to move away from China, as well as Taiwan and South Korea, to save costs, Giang said. The pandemic is making global companies realize they need to diversify, including by shifting to Vietnam, he added.