While many ceramic tile businesses in Vietnam are struggling to compete with cheap Chinese products, several brands have made a breakthrough to enter the high-end segment to be on par with western business giants.
The high-end segment, which has been dominated by European imports in recent years, is a big challenge for companies in Vietnam as it requires both huge financial and technical investments to catch up with latest global trends.
Chang Yih Ceramic JSC is one of a few that have set the strategies to win part of this segment.
The company in 2000 built a foreign-invested factory funds in the southern province of Dong Nai and since then has been exporting 40 percent of the products to Japan, Germany, Denmark and Thailand, which countries with strict requirements for ceramic tiles.
That foundation has helped Chang Yih become a strong competitor of famous Italian and Spanish brands in Vietnam.
Tran Van Sinh, deputy general director of Chang Yih, said the company has been researching the local market trends carefully and seen more potentials from the domestic high-end segment than the export market.
“We’ve decided that we have to quickly lead this segment,” Sinh said.
Tran Van Sinh, deputy general director of Chang Yih. Photo: Kha Hoa
He said the leadership in the segment will help the company cash in on property projects by foreign investors, who have high demands for tiles with high quality, good designs and competitive prices.
Several property giants in Vietnam such as CotecCons, Cofico and Singapore-owned Capital Land have trusted Chang Yih as their ceramic tile provider, which strongly confirms the company’s position in the local high-end segment.
However, it was not easy to win customers in a market crowded with imported products. Based on its 15-year experience of competing in both local and international markets, Chang Yih came up with a strong and decisive strategy.
“We spent a lot on new technology to catch up with new trends. Our production lines were imported entirely from those countries that have a strong ceramic tile industry such as Italy and Spain, costing millions of dollars,” Sinh said.
In 2015 alone, Chang Yih spent US$1 million on three color 3-D printers and almost $1 million on high-tech Italian pressing machines in order to produce high-end products, Sinh said.
Thanks to its high-tech production lines, Chang Yih ceramic tiles are proud of its extra shine. Besides, the color 3-D printing system brings depth and brilliant colors to product finish. Every year the company introduces at least one more line of products following thorough researches of the market in Vietnam as well as its neighboring countries.
Moreover, Chang Yih has been quick in catching up with new trends. As more foreign investors pour money in real estate in Vietnam, Chang Yih introduced a new line of large size tile products (450 mm x900 mm, 800 mm x800 mm). These products of faux marble tiles and faux wood tiles are unique in the segment and meet developers’ demand for installing elevator walls and floors.
Chang Yih has invested millions of dollars into its production line in Vietnam. Photo: Diep Duc Minh
They are leading the market thanks to many advantages, including retaining its shine without much maintenance, costing only 40 percent compared with the use of real marble or wood products, and - compared with Italian marble products - being more durable and having impressive designs thanks to the color 3-D printing technology.
According to Sinh, mastering the technology is not the company’s only strength.
“Compared with imported products, we can offer high quality service: faster delivery time because our production is based in the country; lower cost because all our workers are Vietnamese, as a result the cost price is 10-20 percent cheaper than imported products,” Sinh said.
“Our payment method is also more flexible, and besides we have offered many favorable policies, such as free floor tiles for developers’ sample housing unit.”