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International Marketing Case Study.doc

  1. 1. Equitization and Reform: Credit Suisse in Vietnam Brittany Culver Erik Gracey Jo-Petter Iverson International Marketing Merlin Simpson December 11, 2007
  2. 2. Executive Summary Vietnam’s economy is a dynamic environment capped by the recent accession into the WTO. The accession is the last stage in a long process of reforms initiated over twenty years ago. While still significantly influenced by The Communist Party, Vietnam is moving toward a liberal market economy. The regulatory environment has improved tremendously, creating an incentive for foreign investment. Aside from certain government owned entities, such as railroads and air-traffic, by 2010 foreign investment will be able to account for one-hundred percent of invested capital in a Vietnamese company. Vietnam is an emerging market and a perfect opportunity for Credit Suisse to continue its recent dominance of emerging-market global banking. Credit Suisse is a world renowned financial institution, having satisfied investors, government, and individuals, while aiding in economic growth through sound consulting in financial liberalization. Brady Dougan, CEO of Credit Suisse, has repeatedly emphasized the importance of developing emerging markets. The Vietnamese government has identified their need of help in liberalizing their economy. The rise of the Ho Chi Minh Stock exchange and the commitment by the Vietnamese government to equitize its state owner enterprises has created an intriguing business environment ready for Credit Suisse’s services. The emerging and unpredictable marketplace has the high risk and high return investors demand. The government has the demand, Credit Suisse has the capacity, and Vietnam provides the opportunity, the only thing left to do is develop a strategy. 2
  3. 3. Background History The current state of Vietnam is a result of a long process of conquest, revolution, and reform. Vietnam is traditionally a Confucian society, dominated by several large empires over the course of its history. The recent conquest of Vietnam occurred under colonialism in 1858 by the French, and was a part of French Indochina by 1887 (Karrnow, 1997). Vietnam was taken over the Japanese during World War Two, than transferred back to France after Japan’s defeat. Vietnam declared its independence and won it in 1954 by defeating the French. The country was thereafter divided into the communist north and the non- communist south. The infamous Vietnam War brought the country back together, but at a price. The war caused massive damage to the economy and general public. In 1986 the Doi Moi renovation policy committed the government to increase economic liberalization through export promotion strategies (Karrnow, 1997). Vietnam has enjoyed constant economic growth since the Doi Moi reforms, resulting in increasing living standards (Karrnow, 1997). Geography Vietnam is located in Southeast Asia bordering the gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin and the South China Sea. On land it borders China, Laos and Cambodia (CIA, 2007). The terrain of Vietnam is low and flat in the north and the south. There are Central highlands and mountains in the north and northwest. The climate is tropical in the south and monsoonal in the north with a hot rainy season from May to September and warm and dry season from October to March. There are also occasional typhoons between May 3
  4. 4. and January that can cause extensive (CIA, 2007). Vietnam has extensive natural resources in the form of timber, natural gas, oil, and minerals (CIA, 2007). Its geography is well suited for economic growth considering the natural resources and close proximity to the emerging markets of Thailand and China. Population Statistics (CIA World Factbook) As of July 2007, the estimated population of Vietnam is 85,262,356 (CIA, 2007). The age structure is: 0-14 is 26,3%. 15-65 years is about 67,9% and 65 years and up is about 5,8%. The Languages in Vietnam ordered in descending importance are Vietnamese, English, Chinese, local dialects, and French. The literacy rate is 90% for the total population, 94% for males and 89% for females. Human development statistics are much better than in neighboring Cambodia and Laos, with 6.19 deaths per 1000 population in 2007. The sex ratio is .982 males per female. The life expectancy is 71,07 years. There are several ethnic groups in Vietnam. The main ethnic group is the Kinh (Viet) at 86,4%. The remaining 13.6% is made up of more than 55 ethnic groups creating a plethora of diversity. The majority of Vietnamese do not have a denominational religion, although nearly all are spiritual in some way. The biggest religious groups are: Buddhism at 9, 3%, Catholic 6,7% and Muslim at .1%. In between there are also several other local religions, such as Cao Dai and Hoa Hoa. Economic Statistics Current Statistics GDP (purchasing power parity) $262.5 billion GDP (official exchange rate): $48.43 billion GDP - real growth rate 8.20% GDP - per capita (PPP) $3,100 GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 20% 4
  5. 5. industry: 41.9% services: 38.2% Labor force: 44.58 million Unemployment rate 2% Population below poverty line 19.50% Household income or consumption by percentage share Lowest 10%: 2.9% highest 10%: 28.9% Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7.50% Investment (gross fixed): 32.3% of GDP *Source (CIA, 2007) GDP per capita GDP, billions of GDP, billions of Change in Year (PPP) constant New Dong New Dong GDP Inflation $USD (nominal) (adj.) (adjusted) 2000 2,037 441,646.000 273,666.000 6.8% -1.7% 2001 2,200 481,295.000 292,535.000 6.9% -.4% 2002 2,365 535,762.000 313,247.000 7.1% 4.0% 2003 2,553 613,442.488 336,242.808 7.3% 3.2% 2004 2,784 713,071.948 362,092.796 7.7% 7.7% 2005 3,025 806,854.877 389,243.583 7.5% 8.0% 2006 3,255 889,461.775 417,905.534 7.4% 7.0% 2007 3,503 982,013.527 448,646.166 7.4% 6.0% *Source (worldbank, 2007) Culture The culture in Vietnam has very deep roots. Vietnamese culture is rooted in the Southeast Asian water-rice cultures similar to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and India (Vietnam Embassy, 2007). Vietnam has been under the influence of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, which were conciliated and Vietnamized, contributing to the development of the Vietnamese society and culture over several thousand years (Vietnam Embassy, 2007). The recent culture in Vietnam is a hybrid of the old and new. The influences of France, the U.S., and now world trade have created a culture grounded in tradition, but open to foreign influence. 5
  6. 6. The Vietnamese have absorbed much of their drive for economic growth from China, from this they have gotten their culture of financial duty. Vietnamese culture places a high emphasis on education along with self betterment. Some cultural trends have emerged out of the communist influence of the USSR. Dissent or criticism is uncommon in Vietnam, especially towards the state. The penalties for dissent can be extremely high. The dynamic situation in Vietnam necessitates a cultural shift towards even greater openness if economic growth is to be achieved. Political Situation Vietnam is a one-party state with the power exclusively to the communist party of Vietnam (CPV). The CVP have the responsibility for all changes and regulations made. The National Party Congress is the CVPs highest organ but the decisions are made by a 14-member politburo which is currently led by CPV General Secretary Nong Duc Manh, the State President Nguyen Minh Triet, and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. The government answers to the national assembly, which is elected every five years (Vietnam, 2007) Even though the Vietnamese government has shown willingness to make economic progress the progress made in the fields of civil and political rights are still limited. And access is denied to outside independent human right monitors. The death penalty is still used for many crimes such as economic crimes. Even though the government denies the existence of any prisoners of conscience, many people are imprisoned under vaguely defined “national security” provisions (Vietnam, 2007) 6
  7. 7. Economic Reform and Liberalization In 1986, The Sixth National Congress of the CVP, Faced by shortage of food, three digit inflation, chronic trade imbalance and deteriorating living standards, initiated an overall economic renovation policy commonly known as the “Doi Moi” (VinaTrade, 2007). This reform initially aimed at changing the economic priority from heavy industry to three other major economic projects. These were; production of food, production of consumer goods and production of exports. Another goal of the government was to reduce state intervention in business. The reform’s focus on overhauling the business sector was to open trade with the outside world to encourage foreign and domestic investment (VinaTrade, 2007). The initial reform was expanded by the national congress of the party held in 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2006. It was important to the Vietnamese government that the economy worked under both the market mechanism and state management. The expansions created necessary changes to amend the original Doi Moi to the current political and economic environment. Another important change that came out of the reform was trade liberalization. Prices and domestic trade were liberalized, the double price system was abolished and the prices were determined by the market. Even though trade has been improved, there are several resources that are price controlled by the government such as electricity, water, gasoline and seaports (Vtrade, 2007). Import and export restrictions have been vastly reduced. Vietnam has moved from state monopoly to freer trade and export oriented policies. Important to Credit Suisse, the banking system received an overhaul. The banking system was changed into a 7
  8. 8. two-tier system that separated the central state bank from commercial banks and opened the way for private banking. This resulted in the interest rate and foreign exchange controls have been greatly reduced. In order to fight inflation, the government started to issue bonds and treasury bills, and in late 2000 the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange was established to mobilize private savings for investment (Vinatrade, 2007). The next step in Vietnam’s reform will take place in 2007 as Vietnam will be accepted into the WTO. The easing of trade restriction will make Vietnam a more appealing investment, potentially capitalizing on investors’ fear of investing in China (Chandler, 2006). The total FDI rose from 28 projects worth $140 million in 1988 to 6,900 projects in 2006 worth $64.4 billion. In 2005 FDI enterprises contributed 16% to GDP and half of the export value (VinaTrade, 2007) Legal Environment Although the new WTO regulations are easing the difficulty of doing business in Vietnam, the country still ranks high in barriers (Doing Business, 2007). Currently licenses are not given to small foreign businesses. After getting the license the office has to be “opened” within 90 days, and must be registered with the local people’s committee. Reports must be made every 6 months. Joint Ventures are preferred by the state and are subject to favorable treatment if a State Owned Enterprise is the partner. It is important to note that lengthy contracts will not be read, and if they are will not be understood. If the contract is signed it may not be enforced in a court (Foreign Affairs, 2007). Regulatory Standards in Vietnam To become a foreign investor within Vietnam, investors must apply for a license through the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) in Hanoi (WTO, 2006). Once an 8
  9. 9. international license has been approved, the MPI monitors and regulates the performance of licensed projects. To evaluate license proposals, foreign invested projects are classified into two separate categories: Group A or Group B. Group A requires the approval of the Prime Minister, and includes a multitude of investment projects with investment capital exceeding US$40 million. Group B includes projects approved by MPI, and with certain investment capital depending on the location of the investment activity. Project applications for both groups must include application forms, the charter of the foreign invested enterprise, feasibility study and environmental impact assessment, corporate documents related to the legal and financial status of the parties in the project, and any additional documents related to technology, trademarks, or land use (WTO, 2006, 41) Throughout this process, the foreign company is still only applying for a license for a Joint venture into an investment with a domestic partner. Credit Suisse would also be required to apply for a separate license through the Ministry of Finance of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Credit Suisse must be careful to adopt a legal ownership structure. “With respect to foreign commercial banks, foreign credit institutions are only permitted to establish presence in Vietnam with a commercial joint venture bank with foreign capital contribution not exceeding fifty percent of chartered capital” (WTO, 2006). The strict and intricate laws to obtain licenses to invest in Vietnam coupled with monetary investment limitations for a foreign entity, creates a rigid business atmosphere. The result of the rigidity of the environment can be seen in the amount of JV with domestic identities. Vietnam and the communist influenced government have recently 9
  10. 10. understood the negative implications of the harsh investment laws on their growing economy In response, on January 11, 2007, Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization, to create a more fair trade and investment environment for domestic and international investors. By agreeing to conform to WTO standards, Vietnam agreed to a broad range of trade standards. These standards include: trade without discrimination, and treating foreign and nationals equally; creating a freer trade environment with lowered trade barriers, a more predictable trade environment, the promotion of fair competition, all to encourage development and economic reform (WTO, 2006). While Vietnam did sign the WTO agreement in the beginning of 2007, it does take a few years for a government to implement new trade standards throughout their current system. In compliance to their agreement, Vietnam will have fully implemented the majority of WTO standards by 2010. This includes new regulations that will allow one hundred percent capital contribution investment by a foreign entity in Vietnam (WTO, 2007, 36). Role of the Vietnamese Government Communism and SOEs Even while technically defined as a socialist form of government, the Communist Party still remains the dominant political force. The party selects future leaders and senior government officials and gives them extensive political and ideological training. This strong Communist influence makes the situation more difficult for foreign investors to enter the Vietnamese market. Since communism fundamentally lies in the unchallenged strength of the government, any international investors with a large stake in 10
  11. 11. any one investment could be seen as a threat to power. This has led to the majority of businesses within Vietnam being State Owned Enterprises (SOEs). In Vietnam, the process of equitization includes changing an SOE into a stockholding company where shares are held in private ownership. The 3,000 SOEs currently equitized represent about 12% of previous state-owned capital (SCIC, 2007). Even while the communist government has made this important step to conform to WTO and Doi Moi standards, they have still retained ownership of forty-six percent of the shares of the newly equitized firms. Another thirty percent are held by the managers and employees of the firms, leaving only twenty four percent available for outside investors. Of the 3,000 newly equitized firms, only twenty attracted foreign investment. The Vietnamese government has pledged to continually equitize SOEs, leaving only a few business sectors completely in the government’s control. These include railways, airports, the media, tobacco, and defense equipment. Even with this pledge, the Vietnamese government sends mixed messages to private investors, by allowing them freer trade regulations, but still imposing a forty-two percent corporate income tax, the highest corporate income tax in the area (Doing Business, 2007). While the benefits of equitization may seem apparent, many Vietnamese oppose the privatization of SOEs. SOEs have some advantages over private firms, in that they have easier contract application, land and credit access, in addition to subsidized loans. However, once all of the intended SOEs are equitized, laws regulating SOEs will no longer be in effect, except for those business sectors kept in government control. 11
  12. 12. Credit Suisse Our Vision The vision of Credit Suisse is to become the world’s premier bank, renowned for its expertise in investment banking, private banking and asset management, and most valued for its advice, innovation and execution (Credit Suisse, 2007). Out Mission In order to achieve our vision, Credit Suisse will set new standards: new standards in partnering with our clients and new standards in providing them with innovative and integrated solutions (Credit Suisse, 2007) Reasons for Worldwide Success Since its start in 1856, Credit Suisse has combined traditional values along with a lasting drive for innovation to continually enhance the Credit Suisse brand. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, Credit Suisse is a leading financial services company providing clients with investment banking, private banking and asset management services. Credit Suisse’s asset management services offer many different investment products, many are alternative investments. They also manage portfolios, mutual funds and other investment methods for institutions, governments, corporations and private individuals. Credit Suisse has offices in eighteen countries that focus specifically on asset management, but is operated globally on an integrated network. Credit Suisse’s private banking services provide “comprehensive advice and a broad range of investment products and services tailored to the complex needs of high- net-worth individuals globally” (Credit Suisse, 2007). In addition, Credit Suisse provides 12
  13. 13. asset and liability management to these clients including alternative investment products. This includes wealth management and booking platforms in addition to their banking services to business and retail clients. Credit Suisse also offers investment banking services that include securities products and financial advisory to corporations, government and institutional investors. Operating in 57 locations across 27 countries, Credit Suisse specializes in “innovative solutions, drawing on expertise from across the full spectrum of products: debt and equity underwriting, sales and trading, mergers and acquisitions, investment research, correspondent and prime brokerage services” (Credit Suisse, 2007). Credit Suisse is currently active in over 50 countries, and is one of the few truly integrated banks, providing institutional and private clients with rapid and effective service. “Credit Suisse’s business model is the response to constantly changing client needs in an industry that is driven by globalization and rapid technological developments” (Credit Suisse, 2007). Reasons for Success in Vietnam With the recent privatization policies for Vietnam’s State Owned Enterprises, the market will be more monetarily fluid. Investment regulations have also recently changed due to implemented WTO standards. The business environment in Vietnam is full of opportunities. Credit Suisse’s expertise and seasoned business model for emerging markets was a key factor in identifying the Credit Suisse as a good match for Vietnam. 13
  14. 14. SWOT Analysis Strengths Credit Suisse’s strengths are: a commitment to emerging markets, previous involvement in Vietnam, and a strong brand name bolstered by international recognition. The importance of emerging markets to Credit Suisse is obvious. Emerging markets have much more potential for explosive growth than industrialized nations. One of the golden rules of economics and certainly banking, is that capital tends to congregate in areas that offer the highest return. Investors want their investments to generate high returns, but they need professional help due to high risks inherent to emerging market economies. Credit Suisse is therefore providing a service in high demand to investors around the world. The emerging market segment has increased in importance since the last large global debt crisis in 1998. In a speech to investors, Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan, listed the rapid growth and increasing importance of emerging markets as one of the main themes in the 2006-2007 agenda (Dougan, 2005). Dougan also highlighted Credit Suisse’s commitment to emerging markets by revealing the market leading position of the company in key emerging markets: Brazil, Mexico, Russia, and China. Credit Suisse is a key player in emerging markets, but it is their commitment to Asia that adds credibility to their potential success in Vietnam. Similarly to Dougan’s speech in 2005, Credit Suisse Asia Pacific CEO Paul Calello told investors in a presentation on April 2, 2007, “The development of emerging markets is a key banking trend in Asia” (Credit Suisse, 2007). The next three slides of the presentation detail some of the investment trends in Asia. The fourth slide of the presentation features two key 14
  15. 15. emerging markets in Asia, the first is Pakistan, the other Vietnam. Credit Suisse has initiated a fund specifically for purchasing or partnering with foreign companies in emerging markets; the fund is currently worth $6.7 billion (Credit Suisse, 2007). Credit Suisse has acknowledged the importance of the Vietnamese market for over a decade. While most of its competitors began operations in Vietnam in the early 90’s, Credit Suisse waited until the government initiated much need reforms. Credit Suisse has acted as a consultant to the process of Vietnam credit rating, conducted by Moody’s, S7P, and Fitch since 2001 (VietNamNet, 2007). In 2005, Credit Suisse stepped up its commitment in Vietnam by acting as the guarantor in Vietnam’s successful issuance of $750 million worth of international bonds (Credit Suisse, 2007). Currently, Credit Suisse is working on a $1 billion loan to Vinashin, a state owned shipbuilding company and is also advising some of Vietnam’s largest SOEs on equitization strategies (VietNamNet, 2007). Credit Suisse obtained an SSC license from the government allowing it to buy and trade domestic securities in the Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi stock exchanges. The growing footprint of Credit Suisse in Vietnam necessitates the need to establish a Vietnam branch. After Credit Suisse secured the loan to Vinashin, the PM of Vietnam, Nguyen Tan Dung told Credit Suisse CEO Oswald J. Gruebel, “I hope leading CEOs and consultancies will be much involved in the Vietnamese market, and I wish you every success in Vietnam’s economy’’(VietNamNet, 2007). The government of Vietnam is not alone in recognizing the importance of Credit Suisse in the development of emerging markets. The Credit Suisse brand name is one of the most credible in the industry. Credit 15
  16. 16. Suisse has received many awards in 2007 in the global banking community, here are just a few: -Global Investment Bank of the Year -Best Leveraged Finance House -Best High Yield Bond House -Best Leveraged Finance House -Best Emerging Markets Debt House -Best Investment Bank in Vietnam - -Best Investment Bank in Indonesia -Best Equity Underwriter -Best Debt Underwriter -Best Long-Term Partner -Best Overall Investment Bank The variety of awards illustrates the credentials of Credit Suisse, a brand name that gives the company a competitive advantage in the highly saturated market of global banking. Weaknesses The Credit Suisse Group has witnessed a decline in its net interest margin over the past few years. The group's net interest income has declined from $6,166.9 million in fiscal year 2004, to $5,387.4 million in 2006 (datamonitor, 2007). The net interest margin of the group has declined from about 0.91% in fiscal year 2004 to 0.59% in 2006. This was mainly due to an increase in interest expense in the group's institutional securities as a result of higher short-term borrowing costs and higher financing liabilities. The decline of interest margins deceases the company’s bottom line. The other weakness identified by Credit Suisse on their website was the relative 16
  17. 17. weak performance of asset management over fiscal year 2006. The income from continuing operations before taxes from asset management division declined by 49.5% to touch $416.8 million in fiscal 2006, down from $825.4 million in fiscal 2005. This is primarily due to the rising operating expenses of this division. The operating expenses of this division increased by 31% to touch approximately $1,929.8 in fiscal 2006 from $1,472.8 million in fiscal 2005. The cost to income ratio stood at 82.2% in 2006 compared to 64.1% in 2005. Declining margin from this division indicates the existence of cost inefficiencies and gives the company a competitive disadvantage. Opportunities The opportunities open to Credit Suisse are a result of strong growth in Vietnam 70 9 GDP Growth 8.4 8 8 60 60 7.5 7.1 7 7 6.89 6.79 52 50 6 44 40 39 5 GDP % Growth GDP 34 32 31 4 30 3 20 2 10 1 0 0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 17 2006 GDP GDP % Growth
  18. 18. and reflect the needs of the market and consumers. The current business environment in Vietnam is alluring to global banks. The financial sector in Vietnam has grown considerably, due to reforms and high GDP growth rates since 1998. The growth in the financial sector necessitated the creation of stock exchanges in Vietnam. The Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE) has grown dramatically, albeit erratically since its innaguration in 2000. Due to the government regulations and the listing of companies on HOSE in Vietnamese Dong, Vietnamese stocks had remained largely inaccessible to foreign investors (Economist, 2007). WTO accession in 2006 liberalized HOSE by allowing foreign banks to gain access to SSC licenses for the purpose of buying and trading stocks listed on HOSE (Hochiminhcity, 2007). Since the reform, foreign investors are now piling in to what remains a fairly small market. Its total worth has risen from $400m in early 2006 to around $22 billion (Economist, 2007). The HOSE stock exchange represents a significant opportunity to Credit Suisse. Vietnamese companies have the potential to grow very rapidly, a demand identified by the financial banking sector as very important to investors worldwide. A 2007 survey of 300 senior executives conducted by Ernest & Young shows that 83% of participants are looking to emerging markets for strategic investments (Credit Suisse, 2007). In spite of recent achievements, Vietnam’s process of transition to a market economy is still ongoing. State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) still represent a substantial part of the economy. The process of SOE reform, whose centrepiece is “equitisation”, the partial divestment and transformation of SOEs into joint stock companies, represents a prime opportunity to serve as the equitizaition consultant to the Vietnamese government (European Commission, 2007, 6). 18
  19. 19. SOEs today account for 39% of both GDP and industrial output and 35% of non-oil exports (European Commission, 2007, 6-7). While the SOE sector is becoming more profit-oriented and its economic performance has improved overall, it is consistently outperformed by the non-state sector, not least as a result of ineffective corporate governance (European Commission, 2007, 6-7). The EC also noted that SOEs account for the lion’s share of Vietnam’s non-performing loans, resulting in contingent liabilities for the government estimated at 8% of GDP, and thus weaken the position of the banking sector. The inefficiency of SOEs was a driving force behind the revamped commitment in 2001 by the Vietnamese government to speed up the equitization of SOEs (Credit Suisse, 2006). Being the emerging market leader in: merger & acquisition advisory, debt & equity underwriting, and especially Initial Public Offering (IPO) services, Credit Suisse would be an excellent consultant. Threats The main threats to Credit Suisse are its competitors. Credit Suisse is not the only company aware of the promise in Vietnam. Unfortunately, there are many other banks operating in Vietnam, including most of Credit Suisse global competitors. Although there are many competitors in Vietnam, the threat to Credit Suisse is not as significant as it could be. The strategy of Credit Suisse’s competitors seems to be, offer a broad range of services in the hopes of creating demand for at least a few of them. Credit Suisse will not attempt to compete in this matter. Credit Suisse will focus on a strategy of specialization focusing on the demands of the market, such as equitization. Credit Suisse’s three main competitors are Deutsche Bank, HSBC, and Morgan 19
  20. 20. Stanley (Datamonitor, 2007). HSBC and Deutsche Bank entered the market early in 1993, while Morgan Stanley entered last year. All three offer a broad variety of services like: import/export finance, trade finance, insurance, securities, account services, and personal banking. So far, Credit Suisse’s competitors have been content to compete with the same services, stressing brand loyalty as the difference. The specialization strategy of Credit Suisse could shake up the market by inducing its competitors to follow suit. Political Risk The political risk in Vietnam has been significantly reduced by economic and political reforms, but is still a threat to the company. The potential for risk exists because of the central control of the government. Power is concentrated into the hands of very few. The CVP is still under the overwhelming influence of the ruling elite and the military (business monitor international, 2007). The CVP enacted a new law this year denying a large sector of the Vietnamese economy the right to strike (business monitor international, 2007). The CVP is also engaged in an ongoing dispute with ethnic minorities in the central highlands, most notably the Montagnards. Like many ethnic minorities in LDCs, the Montagnards measure lower in every economic statistic than the majority Kinh Viet people. The Montagnards have suffered tremendously. After fighting on the U.S. side in the Vietnam War, 200,000 Montagnards were killed, many in public executions (Washington Times, 2006). The Montagnards have since been moved from their ancestral land, living in extreme poverty in reservations with little access to public services. The Vietnamese government has routinely denied the existence of any conflict and has blockaded the central highlands from foreign press (Washington Times, 2006). 20
  21. 21. The Montagnards have adopted more violent forms of protest in the last five years including direct attacks on Vietnamese military and police. It is difficult to grasp the extent of the violence in the highlands. Vietnam is listed as one of the worst counties in freedom of the Press. The current situation is an appalling civil rights abuse, but not a direct threat yet to the business sector in Ho Chi Minh City. However, recent conflicts have proven to be extremely disruptive to Asian LDC economies, most notably in Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Environmental Risk There are environmental risks affecting the global banking environment and the environment in Vietnam. The global banking environment has been hit by poor forecasts for the short-medium term. The performance of the global banking industry is forecasted to decelerate, with a compound annual growth rate anticipated at 3.5% for the five-year- period 2006-2011 (Datamonitor, 2007). The decline in growth takes into account many unfavorable factors such as, new global banking regulations, mortgage uncertainty and interest rate volatility. Environmental risks inherent to Vietnam are climate related risks: monsoons, typhoons, flash-floods, and tropical diseases pose relative threats to Credit Suisse (CIA World Factbook, 2007). The sum of the environmental risk adds another dimension of needed hedging to ensure a successful business venture. Target Market As stated in their description of services, Credit Suisse targets their investment banking services to corporations, government, and institutional investors. As a successful international bank, it was decided to have the target market be the same entities for foreign investment into Vietnam. These would include corporate investors defined as 21
  22. 22. companies that invest, or acquire control of other companies; and, institutional investors that are banks, insurance companies or retirement funds and financially sophisticated hedge funds (Credit Suisse, 2007). Credit Suisse identifies the importance of marketing to an established customer base. These clients are already aware of the reputation of the company and have an established business relationship with Credit Suisse. These clients typically understand the emerging markets and therefore are informed consumers, likely to respond to a successful marketing strategy. In addition, it was also decided to target the countries and governments that are currently the main contributors into Vietnam. Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong are the top four governments that are currently investing into Vietnam (Economist, 2007). By targeting these governments, Credit Suisse will be able to explain the benefits of investing in the emerging market since they are already familiar with current trade trends and regulations. The abundance of funds flowing through the Vietnamese market as a result of the equitization of SOEs will be a target of Credit Suisse. Domestic investors will have a new incentive to invest in the economy as more securities become available on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange. Product Having established the needs of our target market, Credit Suisse will develop products that are synergistic in nature, while taking into account the current business environment. The market at this time is too saturated to make private banking worth the extra cost. Therefore, Credit Suisse will focus on asset management and investment banking. 22
  23. 23. In Investment Banking, Credit Suisse currently offers securities products and financial advisory services to corporations, governments and institutional investors (Credit Suisse, 2007). Operating in 57 locations across 26 countries, Credit Suisse’s investment banking business specializes in innovative solutions, drawing on expertise from across the full spectrum of products: debt and equity underwriting, sales and trading, mergers and acquisitions, investment research, correspondent and prime brokerage services. Investment banking in Vietnam will be very similar to this model, but will focus specifically on the services relevant to equitization. Necessarily, Credit Suisse will emphasize its competitive advantage in merger and acquisitions, debt and equity underwriting, and investment research. In its asset management business, Credit Suisse offers products across the full spectrum of investment classes, ranging from equities, fixed income and multiple-asset class products, to alternative investments such as real estate, hedge funds, private equity and volatility management (Credit Suisse, 2007). Credit Suisse’s asset management business manages portfolios, mutual funds, and other investment vehicles for a broad spectrum of clients ranging from governments, institutions and corporations to private individuals. Asset management in Vietnam will be a prime focus for the company as its asset management performance is one of the company’s biggest weaknesses. The market for asset management is huge in Vietnam, both domestically and internationally. The domestic market is comprised of the government, public and private businesses, and even individuals interested in a manager for their respective portfolios. The volatility of the 23
  24. 24. market necessitates a professional manager with a successful track record in high risk/high yield market worldwide. Credit Suisse is that manager. In addition to management services, Credit Suisse will offer two introductory products. The demand for emerging market funds is large for investors that can afford the risk involved. Credit Suisse will begin by offering two mutual funds to meet the demand. The funds will both be comprised of small amounts of equity from Vietnam’s most successful listed companies. One of the funds will target the needs of the domestic market. This fund will be comprised of riskier securities, as the investment regulations are less stringent domestically. The international fund, also available to domestic investors, will be a fund hedged to decrease the risk. The foreign fund will be more expensive due to the higher cost of conforming to international banking regulations, like the new Basel Accords enacted to inform potential investors of the risks to their privacy and portfolios (Credit Suisse, 2007). Credit Suisse will monitor the success of these funds closely with the goal of offering more products in the near future. Place Ho Chi Minh city is located on the southern tip of Vietnam. The city is the financial capital of the country, and boasts the first Stock Exchange of Vietnam which opened in 2001, and is now one of Asia’s most dynamic stock markets. With over 300,000 businesses populating the city, it is also seen as the economic center of Vietnam (Economist, 2007). The modern business sector is composed of many large enterprises in different industries including: technology, electronics, information processing, light industrials, and agro-products (Economist, 2007). The city has fifteen industrial ports, and the Quang Trung Software Park, and the Saigon Hi-Tech Park. The computer 24
  25. 25. company Intel invested one billion dollars into their plant located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City. The city accounts for twenty percent of the national Gross Domestic Product and thirty percent of industrial product value (Economist, 2007). Ho Hi Minh City also contributes about twenty-one percent to the national revenue per year. In addition to the thriving economy, higher education is more developed in Ho Chi Minh City than anywhere else in Vietnam. Fifty universities are located within the city, with over 300,000 enrolled in the universities. The universities include the University of Polytechnic, University of Information Technology, Faculty of Economics, the University of medicine and the University of Banking (Economist, 2007). Ho Chi Minh City is the best place to launch Credit Suisse. Credit Suisse wants to be in the financial hub of any city they enter. Ho Chi Minh City is the overwhelming financial center. It is also the intellectual center. As evidenced by the higher enrollment rate, Ho Chi Minh City has most of the countries young minds. Promotion To promote the entrance of Credit Suisse into the Vietnamese market, it has been decided that two promotional activities will be undertaken. Each activity will address a different sector of the defined target market through a multitude of events. Soccer Soccer is a social institution within Vietnam. It is the most popular sport, and children are taught to play from their youth. Vietnam has two major soccer teams, the Vietnam National Football Team, and the V-League (vietnamnet, 2007. The National Football Team is a large team that is very popular within the nationals. However, the V- 25
  26. 26. League sponsors youth through adult leagues, and is a more successful team in different tournaments. In Vietnam last year, the V-League sponsored the Tiger Cup, and also played in the King’s Cup. The adult V-League team made it to the quarter-finals in both of these tournaments. It has been decided that Credit Suisse will help sponsor the V-League, and its programs for youths and adults alike. By showing the local community that Credit Suisse is interested in their community through supporting local youth soccer teams, Credit Suisse will gain a positive reputation among locals. Also, by supporting the adult V- League teams, Credit Suisse will be able to get their name out to the domestic and foreign viewers of the tournaments. This has proved successful in the past with Credit Suisse, as the host a seven day rugby tournament in Hong Kong, and is very popular internationally and domestically (Credit Suisse, 2007). Asian Investment Conference The Asian Investment Conference (AIC) is an international event sponsored by Credit Suisse (Credit Suisse, 2007). Held in Hong Kong every year, the conference is seen as the leading event for foreign investors to discover tomorrow’s opportunities and issues facing Asia. Leading international corporate, governmental, and private investors travel to Hong Kong to participate in seminars and meet with other investors to talk over trade and investing contract in a mediated forum. In addition to the highly regarded investment conference, Credit Suisse sponsors a seven day rugby tournament, called The Sevens. The Sevens is a very popular event domestically and internationally, and attracts viewers all over the globe. Credit Suisse 26
  27. 27. sponsors the entire event and their logo can be seen throughout the entire event. Credit Suisse successfully combined the professional goals of their conference with the important cultural ties to their investors, to provide an influential conference highly regarded by many powerful investors. It is at the AIC that credit Suisse will announce their entrance to the most recent emerging market in Asia: Vietnam. To gain interest into this market, it was decided that the opening speaker of the conference will be the Prime Minister of Vietnam. The opening speech at the AIC has in the past been filled by presidents, prime ministers and Nobel Prize winning economists (Credit Suisse, 2007). In addition, since the conference is based around the opportunities within Asia, multiple seminars and lectures regarding the upcoming Vietnamese economy will also be included. This will inspire investors to either invest in Vietnam and their newly privatized SOEs, or inquire for more information regarding the economic status of Vietnam. Either way, Credit Suisse sees both of these options as a benefit, as investors will have more information regarding the Vietnamese Economy, and will see Credit Suisse as a leader in this emerging market. Price To determine the price of investments within the Vietnamese economy, many factors needed to be accounted for. Bidding, personal consultation, operating leverage, market volatility, additional fees, and the basic market price of the product are all determinants of the price for international investments. It is impossible to analyze past pricing due to privacy laws. Credit Suisse’s pricing will remain a complex package based on current interest rates, future discounts, management services, products offered, and a number of other factors unknown at this point in time. 27
  28. 28. Market Entry Strategy The success of the venture is highly dependent on the ability of Credit Suisse to secure a joint venture partnership. The WTO laws concerning banking and other financial sectors allow for 100% foreign owned branches staring April 1, 2007 (WTO, 2007, 36-40). WTO laws concerning the securities sector are more stringent, not allowing 100% foreign ownership until 2012 (WTO, 2007, 36-40). Credit Suisse will operate as a hybrid bank, offering common financial services and securities, thereby denying Credit Suisse sole ownership of its branch in the first year of operation. A partnership would also be advantageous to Credit Suisse if the partner could provide access to government securities or help to lessen start-up costs. The best potential partner for Credit Suisse is a government holding company named State Capital Investment Corporation or SCIC. SCIC was created in 2005 to help with the equitization of SOEs. SCIC’s primary objectives are to facilitate SOE reforms and improve efficiency of the government’s capital resource utilization (SCIC, 2007). SCIC also manages a massive portfolio covering different sectors, such as financial services, energy, manufacturing, telecommunications, transportation, consumer products, health care, and information technology. It is obvious from the company description on the SCIC website that there is goal compatibility between SCIC and Credit Suisse. Credit Suisse would benefit by partnering with one of its largest customers, the Vietnamese government. SCIC would also provide unquantifiable access to market data and would greatly reduce regulatory hurdles. SCIC could benefit by partnering with one of the market leaders in equitization. SCIC has proved to be much less efficient than Credit Suisse in managing its equity. The ROE for 28
  29. 29. SCIC is near 11%, whereas Credit Suisse is consistently over the 20% mark (Credit Suisse et al, 2007 & SCIC et al, 2007). A business partnership between Credit Suisse and SCIC would be an asset to both companies. Credit Suisse will attempt a 20% stake in SCIC. WTO regulations mandate that no foreign firm can take more than a 30% stake in a Vietnamese state owned banking entity (WTO, 2007, 42). Credit Suisse negotiators must be aware that the Vietnamese are known for stalling negotiations to put pressure on the other side. This is one of the reasons it took ten years of negotiation for Vietnam to accept WTO regulations. Credit Suisse must remain honest and focus on the synergies inherent in the deal. SCIC will be keenly aware that Credit Suisse must have a partner to enter the market. This necessitates the need of a back-up plan highlighting different potential partners so that Credit Suisse has some bargaining power. Credit Suisse must also consider compromising down to a 10% stake, but any less would jeopardize the financial goals of the company. 29
  30. 30. Cost Forecast Start-Up $130.08 Contributed Capital $54,000,000 Licenses $2,010.12 Property $20,000,214 Wages $6,500,000 Energy $110,000 Cost of Revenue 15% of revenues Total ~$100,000,000 30
  31. 31. The cost forecast above is our best estimate at the costs of implementing this venture. It is also the culmination and climax of our presentation. *Sources: (Doing Business in, 2007) *Sources for Energy: (Electricity of Vietnam, 2007), Needs based on 100,000 square foot, type “A” office building. References Chandler, Clay (2006) Vietnam Vrooom Asia's second-fastest-growing economy takes the global stage. Retrieved December 3, 2007 from dex.htm Country Profile: Vietnam (2007). The Economist. Retrieved November 2, 2007 from %2DPolitical%20Forces. Credit Suisse (2007). Retrieved December 1, 2007 from,,, 31
  32. 32. Doing Business (2007) Doing Business in Vietnam; Explore Economics. Retrieved December 2, 2007 from economyid=202 How do Banks Make Money? (2006) NuBank. Retrieved November 25, 2007 from http:// money_1-17-06/how_do_banks_make_money%5Bfedreserve%5D.pdf Karrnow, Stanley. (2007). Vietnam: A History. Penguin (Non-Classics) CIA. (2007) CIA World Fact Book. Retrieved September 30, 2007 from Office of Foreign Affairs (2007) Vietnam's economic and social statistic data. Retrieved December 3, 2007 from SCIC Profile (2007). State Capital Investment Corporation. Retrieved September 25, 2007 from South China Sea Bubble (2007) The Economist. Retrieved December 3, 2007 from VinaTradeUSA (2007) Vietnam Trade Office in the United States of America. Retrieved December 3, 2007 from Vietnam. (2007) European Community. Retrieved November 3 , 2007 from Vietnam-Culture. (2007) Vietnamese Culture. Retrieved November 3, 2007 from 32
  33. 33. World-Bank. (2007) Economic Indicators. Retrieved December 3, 2007 from WTO Standards (2007). Retrieved November 27, 2007 from thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/fact2_e.htm 33