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A.S. Watson Group is the biggest health and beauty retailer; it is present in 24 markets with over 14,300 stores. The portfolio of products AS Watson commercializes comes from different countries such as Netherlands, Germany, China, UK, Belgium, and others.

The company announced that for 2019 the goal is to open over 1,300 new stores, as they did in the past two years; this means that every seven hours a new store would be opened. As stated in the press release from AS Watson, the growth plan shows their optimistic view in the global opportunity offered in retail, as well as its forward-thinking strategy on store openings, customer service and digital transformation.

In 2010 AS Watson launched the first customer strategy, showing the determination to become a more customer centric organization through the use of analytics, surveys, digital analysis, and social listening to stay close to customers and have faster reaction to customer views and feedback.
Eight years after that customer strategy, AS Watson has over 130 million members in its loyalty program globally; this has a recorded revenue increase of 6% regarding the health and beauty business.

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AS Watson continues to invest in technology that will allow to build better customer insight, and innovative digital platforms. Working close with suppliers is helping  AS Watson to ensure customers to be served with cutting edge systems, artificial intelligence and eCommerce.
All of this has been taken care of with such precision in order to ensure that customer satisfaction is at its highest point.

As one of the few winners against the pandemic with modest financial resources, is the Vietnamese pharma market ready for international investments and colaborations?

The Covid-19 outbreaks and Vietnam’s remarkable performance in containing its spread have proven that health is, and will absolutely continue to be, a priority for most Vietnamese and as well as for the government. 

The societal shift that is creating opportunities for Vietnam’s Pharma and OTC  industry

Like most countries identified as emerging markets, Vietnam is undergoing drastic changes in terms of demographic, social, and economic aspects. Most recently, there are some significant shifts that make Vietnam more and more competent in becoming a top-of-the-list for international companies that are looking to expand their business in emerging markets. 

 

The first and most important factor in this equation is the fast-growing middle class in the country. Vietnam currently has the fastest-growing middle-class population in South-East Asia. This has significantly boosted the demand for high-quality and specialized healthcare services.

 

Subsequently, due to higher demand and affordability, the health insurance and hospital systems are expanding. Vietnam has become a coverage ratio leader within Asia and it has set a goal of covering 95% of the population with Universal Health Service by 2025. The Hospital network is also fairly extensive and the government continues to finance the construction of new hospitals. At the same time, it is also increasingly looking at investment from the private sector and international firms. 

 

As a result, the country recently signed the European Union Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EUVFTA). The agreement will remove tariffs for pharmaceutical products from the EU and allow foreign companies to import and sell pharmaceuticals to Vietnamese distributors and wholesalers. 

 

Furthermore, there was an Amended Law on Enterprise and Law on Investment, effective January 2021, that incentivizes investment in five key sectors including healthcare. Projects in these sectors will benefit from preferred enterprise income tax, exemption or reduction of land lease fee, and credit support.

Finally, investors should also pay attention to the development of Digital Healthcare in Vietnam. Recently, the Ministry of Health approved a five-year project on remote medical examination and treatment. Apps and medical services will be developed to manage files and knowledge systems, as well as helping patients find medical information, make their appointments, and consult doctors. These measures will accelerate the digitalization across Vietnam’s hospital network. 

Overall, investors can be optimistic about the future of Vietnam’s Healthcare Industry. The societal changes, as well as the government’s regulatory activities in favor of the development of the sector, have made Vietnam one of the most attractive go-to emerging markets for companies and individual investors. 

Ho-Chi-Minh City