In Vietnam, foreign brands dominate certain sectors, such as automotive, computing and beauty products. But, even in those markets, local brands are making progress. Here are local brands Vietnamese people will always choose over foreign products.
Trung Nguyen Coffee
Vietnam loves its coffee, and Trung Nguyen is the largest producer in the country. They have an empire of farms, distributors and cafes — and they export to over 60 countries. Their marketing plays to the lofty ambitions of Vietnam as the economy gains strength, featuring a picture perfect family with a private jet and luxury vehicles. The chairman of the company is regarded as the Coffee King, a powerful figure in the Central Highlands where coffee is the main cash crop. But it all comes back to quality. They simply make good coffee.
For Vietnamese people, this is their instant messaging app of choice. And since it can also make calls and do voice chat, it’s really the only app they need to chat with friends and family.
For budget travel around Southeast Asia, Vietnam Airlines is hard to beat. Vietjet Air is comparable, but their problems with delays are well known. Flights on both airlines are cheap, though, which is why people in Vietnam love them. In a country where the average wage is still low, cheap flights make travel affordable.
Though foreigners own the majority of stock in this company, the investment arm of the Vietnamese government owns the largest percentage. The company started in 1978, when the government nationalized three dairy companies that were previously operated by Chinese and European companies. Today, Vinamilk is the most popular food brand in the country. In addition to milk, they also make yogurt, cheese, ice cream and the sweet condensed milk that millions have with their coffee every day.
Vietnam drinks a lot of beer. While the favorites vary by region — Bia Hoi in the north, Huda for central, and Saigon Special in the south — Sabeco dominates with 51.4% of the market. They produce the Saigon brand, as well as the 333 brand, which is popular around the world.
For millions of Vietnamese people, a bowl of cheap instant noodles is the perfect meal for their busy lives. Uniben’s 3 Miền is the most popular brand of instant noodles in the country. The name stands for “three regions,” because their products have rich and unique flavors from throughout Vietnam.
Even though air travel is relatively cheap these days, many people still prefer the relaxed pace of a train ride. The Reunification Express, the name commonly given to the route between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, is a popular choice for many Vietnamese travelers who’d rather not leave the ground.
Young Vietnamese lead double lives — one in reality, and the other online — and Viettel is the company that provides them with the internet they need and love. The company is wholly owned by the Ministry of Defence, so it really couldn’t be any more Vietnamese.
If you happen to pull up to any of their 2,352 gas stations in Vietnam, you’ll usually have to jostle for position. They’re almost always busy. Motorbikes are the lifeblood of this country, and since Vietnam loves motorbikes, they also love the company that keeps them fueled.
Highlands Coffee was the first private company started within the country by an overseas Vietnamese. The founder, David Thai, saw the growth of Starbucks in America and wanted to do the same in Vietnam. Today, they have over 80 cafes in 6 cities, and they also own the popular Phở 24 brand of restaurants.
Started in 2004, TOSY has quickly made a name for itself in both smart toys and robotics. One of its more successful products is DiscoRobo, a dancing robot that allows users to choreograph its dance moves. The company even won a Guinness World Record for “the world’s longest-running mechanical spinning top.”