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Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats for Architectural, Engineering, and Construction Firms: Case Study of Vietnam Florence Yean Yng Ling1; Vu Min Chau Pham2; and To Phuong Hoang3 Abstract: After Vietnam became a member of the World Trade Organization, Vietnamese architectural, engineering, and construction A/E/C ﬁrms face competition from not only their domestic competitors but also from foreign A/E/C ﬁrms. As most Vietnamese ﬁrms are used to operating under a protected setting, they may face difﬁculties competing in the globalized environment. This study undertakes a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats SWOT analysis of Vietnamese A/E/C ﬁrms, investigates how they respond to opportunities and threats, and recommends how foreign A/E/C ﬁrms operating in Vietnam could respond. Using semistructured interview questions, face-to-face interviews were conducted with Vietnamese and foreign A/E/C ﬁrms. The SWOT analysis reveals that Vietnamese A/E/C ﬁrms are lagging behind foreign ﬁrms in ﬁnancial capacity, experience in complex projects, knowledge in advanced design and construction technology, and management ability. Industry practitioners from outside Vietnam who are contemplating entering the Vietnamese market can leverage on Vietnamese ﬁrms’ strengths by forming joint ventures with strong and reputable private Vietnamese ﬁrms. To improve their competitive advantage, it is recommended that foreign A/E/C ﬁrms offer superior products and services and familiarize themselves with local culture and regulations. They should be mindful of corruption and set up surveillance systems to curb wasteful spending. DOI: 10.1061/ ASCE CO.1943-7862.0000069 CE Database subject headings: Vietnam; International factors; Engineering ﬁrms; Construction companies; Agriculture; Economic factors; Case reports.
On January 11, 2007, Vietnam became the 150th member country of the World Trade Organization WTO . WTO member countries cannot normally discriminate between their trading partners, and imported and locally produced goods and services should be treated equally following the “national treatment” principle of giving others the same treatment as one’s own nationals World Trade Organization WTO 2005 . As a WTO member, Vietnam must allow WTO member-country’s architectural, engineering, and construction A/E/C ﬁrms to operate in its construction industry, albeit in a controlled way. Vietnam attracted a record of US$20 billion foreign direct investment FDI , rising by 70% over the previous year Blume Associate Professor, Dept. of Building, National Univ. of Singapore, 4 Architecture Dr., Singapore 117566, Singapore corresponding author . E-mail: email@example.com 2 Quantity Surveyor, KPK Quantity Surveyors Pte Ltd., 865 Mountbatten Rd., 07-01, Singapore 437844, Singapore. E-mail: mizchou@ yahoo.com.sg 3 Quantity Surveyor, Rider Levett Bucknall Pte Ltd., 150 Beach Rd., 09-01, Singapore 189720, Singapore. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Note. This manuscript was submitted on July 24, 2008; approved on March 24, 2009; published online on March 26, 2009. Discussion period open until March 1, 2010; separate discussions must be submitted for individual papers. This paper is part of the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Vol. 135, No. 10, October 1, 2009. ©ASCE, ISSN 0733-9364/2009/10-1105–1113/$25.00. 1
2007 . Foreign A/E/C ﬁrms are expected to enter Vietnam to develop the facilities which are needed by foreign investors. In line with Vietnam’s WTO commitments to open up its construction market to foreign businesses, Vietnamese A/E/C ﬁrms now face intense competition from foreign entrants, when hitherto most of them are only used to operating under a protected environment. Vietnam’s construction market is attractive to foreign A/E/C ﬁrms because...
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