Getting off subsidy mechanism,Cholimex Food succeeds in market economy

When Vietnam removed subsidy mechanism and opened the market in 1986, Cholimex Food Company started travelling to many countries to seek partners without result. Not giving up, it has continued efforts and exported products to over 30 countries.

Cholimex Food leaders work with a foreign partner (Photo: SGGP)

Cholimex Food leaders work with a foreign partner (Photo: SGGP)

After Cholimex chili sauce and tomato sauce were shelved at British Marks & Spencer supermarket, many foreign partners have come to cooperate with the company.
So far, the company’s products have been present in over 30 markets in the world including Britain, France and Germany. That is because Cholimex Food, headquartered in Vinh Loc industrial park, Binh Chanh, has produced products according to the world’s standards.
Supermarkets and retail systems in developed countries have their own quality management system. If the company had not created products meeting their standards, they would have not entered these supermarkets.
In addition, the company has developed material zones meeting international standards in accordance with foreign partners’ requirement. Tomato sauce must be made from tomato, fish sauce must be produced from fish and chili sauce must be made from chili.
The company has paid attention to business ethic and social responsibility.
Mr. Diep Nam Hai, director general of Cholimex Food, affirmed that the company has spent much on workers’ wage and insurance as well as environmental protection to create a solid premise for its products to reach out to the world.
Cholimex Food has completed a quality management system under international standards and hired foreign audit firms to estimate the system annually. Information about Cholimex products are transparent globally.
The company has also met standards of Sedex, a global not-for-profit membership organization.
“Don’t be clever in a petty way if you want to grow up in strength,” is Cholimex Food’s development motto. Instead of managing to get certificates and deal with authorized agencies, the company has methodically invested in infrastructure, developed brand name, sought partners and took products to the world, said Mr. Hai.
At present, Cholimex has over 100 products accounting 40 percent of domestic market share and its instant foods are favorite in Europe. 
Chairman of the company’s board of directors Duong Van Hung, who has worked there for the last 30 years, told that during the subsidy period from 1975 to 1986, Mr. Phan Chanh Duong who led Cholimex factory, forerunner of the company, tried to take Vietnamese farm products to the world.
At that time, there was no mechanism of trading in money or foreign currency exchange, the factory must exchange goods with foreign vessels at buoy-zero, which was illegal. Its staff came to provinces in the Mekong Delta to purchase shrimp, coconut and pineapple to exchange for clothe and plastic beads to supply production establishments.
When the economy transferred into market mechanism ten years later, chili sauce has been considered as Vietnam’s strategic product exported to Russia and East European countries.
In 2006 when Cholimex Food was equitized, its revenue reached VND134 billion ($5.9 million) a year. The number increased 14 times to near VND1.8 trillion ($79.2 million) ten years later.

By HAN NI – Translated by Hanh Lien

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