Speed of the modern life

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1. Introduction

As the speed of the modern life, Vietnam is day by day trying to catch up with the fast beat of the world. Education is one of the most important factors, which can take the civilization of the whole country to the next level. Thus, the government is spending more on education to make sure every new generation is well-educated and well-prepared for the very competitive world out there.

Vietnam is opening up to the world; welcoming the new cultures and educations from different countries. This is when learning foreign language becomes a huge desire of people. Because of that, the need of studying is increasing dramatically. People claim on higher quality of the education system and services, not only the quantity. It seems like there will never be enough “qualified” schools and learning centres for the demands!

Therefore, investing in education and education services is a wise decision ever made, especially at the moment. That is the reason why we decided to open a professional and highly qualified learning English centre in Hanoi - the capital of Vietnam, named “ALC”.

ALC stands for Australian Language Centre. This is a high-qualified and professional language teaching centre, which focuses on providing Academic English courses and IELTS preparation courses. ALC is a partnership between Foreign Language Specializing High School, Vietnam National University (VNU) and James Cook University Australia (JCU). By ensuring the quality of the training through times and achievements, we hope to expand the system nation-wide soon.

2. Brief description of country of choice

Located at the centre of South East Asia, Vietnam is

Vietnam is well-known for the beauty of nature, the hospitality of people and the wonderful world of cuisine. Vietnam is now also a very attractive market for the investors all over the world. Besides business, traveling, services and education are also the most concerned fields of the government.

3. Cultural and Social Environment

3.1. Demography

3.1.1. Male and Female market segment

3.1.1.1. Age structure

0-14 years: 24.9% (male 11,230,402/female 10,423,901)
15-64 years: 69.4% (male 29,971,088/female 30,356,393)
65 years and over: 5.7% (male 1,920,043/female 3,065,697) (2009 est.)

3.1.1.2. Median age

total: 27.4 years
male: 26.4 years
female: 28.5 years (2009 est.)

3.1.1.3. Sex ratio

at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.63 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

3.1.2. Education

3.1.2.1. School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

Total: 10 years
Male: 11 years
Female: 10 years (2000)

3.1.2.2. Education expenditures

1.8% of GDP (1991)

3.1.3. Nationality

Currently, nationality is Vietnamese.

In 2008, Vietnam has amended its nationality law to legalise dual citizenship, a change that could affect many in the Vietnamese diaspora of more than three million people.

3.1.4. Religion and Ethnicity (Habits and Practices)

3.1.4.1. Religion

Buddhist 9.3%, Catholic 6.7%, Hoa Hao 1.5%, Cao Dai 1.1%, Protestant 0.5%, Muslim 0.1%, none 80.8% (1999 census)

3.1.4.2. Ethnicity

Kinh (Viet) 86.2%, Tay 1.9%, Thai 1.7%, Muong 1.5%, Khome 1.4%, Hoa 1.1%, Nun 1.1%, Hmong 1%, others 4.1% (1999 census)

Vietnam is a multi-ethnic state composed of fifty-four officially recognized ethnic groups. It is unique among Southeast Asian countries, but similar to China, in that its ethnic minorities constitute only a relatively small fraction of the national population but occupy a vast part of the national territory, giving them a strategic importance greatly disproportionate to their numbers. The Vietnamese minorities, even those in the Central Highlands, also primarily occupy sensitive borders. The minorities are thus an extremely important component of Vietnamese society and ethnic relations are a matter of intense concern to the ruling Communist Party and the state.

Vietnam's ethnic minorities make up only 14 per cent of the national population. The lowland Vietnamese, who are officially designated as Kinh, form the vast majority… almost 66 million [in 1999]…

All of Vietnam's ethnic groups live in the uplands with the exception of the Kinh, Hoa (ethnic Chinese), Khmer (Cambodians), and Cham [who speak Austronesian languages apparently most closely related that spoken in Aceh, Indonesia]....

3.2. Language

Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer; mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)

4. Economic Environment

4.1. Employment

Inexpensive Labour: Vietnam's Most Valuable Resource

One of Vietnam's primary possessions is a relatively well-educated and inexpensive labour force. The Vietnamese have a reputation as a hardworking and industrious people, and Vietnamese cultural traditions emphasize learning and a respect for authority. The country's history has made the Vietnamese people open to foreigners, and easy to communicate with despite language barriers. These investor-friendly traits have been complemented by rising productivity and increased working hours, without corresponding wage increases.

At present, Vietnam has experienced employment creation of 5.9% annually. In order to promote the skills necessary to encourage foreign investment, the government has initiated a project to increase literacy rates from 91% of the population to 96%. Currently, 85% of communes and wards, 69% of districts, and 47% of cities and provinces have achieved national standards of literacy and primary education.

Human Resource in Vietnam
By Ames Gross
Winter 1998
Published by Pacific Bridge, Inc.

4.2. Income

Income disparity is rising in Vietnam as the country transforms into a manufacturing and services based economy. New jobs with its entry into the WTO in early 2007 and increased FDI will raise income levels but high inflation rates will remain a cause of concern.

Over the last decade, average real incomes have risen by around 7% per year, and the World Bank expects Vietnam to reach most of its Millennium Development Goals. More anecdotally, other events in recent years suggest the national economic profile has graduated to a new level:

- The first telecommunications satellite (the 200-million dollars Vinasat-1) was launched

- A private businessman acquired the country's first executive plane.

A widening disparity in income is probably to be expected in a large and developing country that is growing so rapidly. However, there is growing and justified concern that the issue could put at risk social stability should it continue unchecked.

---Oxford Analytica, 2008, VIETNAM: Income gaps are growing, Oxford University

4.3. Productivity

By the end of 2008, Vietnam had a total of 69.8 million workers, three-fourths of whom were rural labourers. According to Nguyen Dai Dong, Head of the Labour and Employment Agency under the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), the human resources can't satisfy the needs of the labour market.

The official said that just 32% of the labourers were trained and 14.4% had short-term vocational training certificates.

According to a research of Vietnamese labourers, Vietnam seriously lacks qualified technical workers and qualified service labour for the finance and banking, tourism sectors, education sectors so Vietnam has to hire foreign labourers. Meanwhile, labourers for export are under-skilled.”

---Source: Saigon Economic Times (Vietnamnet Bridge)

http://english.vietnamnet.vn/reports/2007/07/724529/

4.4. Buying Influence

4.5. Consumers and Firms

As a demographic, Vietnam has the sort of profile that municipal planners dream of: a population of 85 million, with half of these under the age of 25, plus the region's highest level of consumer confidence... “Optimism, coupled with key social traits such as respect for elders, education, humility, resourcefulness and hard work, contribute towards the potential for Vietnam becoming a very solid and significant consumer-based nation”
Marketers need to take demographic variables into account, however, before they start thinking about a single idea for the entire country. Distinct cultural differences separate the country's main commercial hub, Ho Chi Minh City in the South and Hanoi, the capital, in the North. “Hanoi and the North are very ‘face'-driven. On the other hand, the South and Ho Chi Minh City are a bit more realistic.”
---Source: http://www.massogroup.com/cms/content/view/3125/312/lang,vn/

(Vietnamese consumer general segments and behavior)

5. Evaluation and Selection of desired country and business venture

5.1. Introduction to Education System of Vietnam:

Education is ranked as a top priority in Vietnam. People often come to the major cities to learn, such as Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. Besides, many students who have finance ability choose to study overseas. On the other hand, Vietnam is a developing country, and many Vietnamese parents cannot afford for their children to attend schools. The government is trying to improve education in Vietnam and currently provides free education for primary students.

5.2. Influencing factors

5.2.1. Teaching Foreign Language in Vietnam - circumstance nowadays

- As mentioned above about the education of Vietnam, we can conclude that there are a lot of foreign languages are applied to teach in Vietnam and English is one of these. According to CIA Factbook, English is gradually become the second biggest language which is used most frequently in this country. Many language centres are opened to educate students such languages. But the fact that, quantity is not important as the quality. The number of English centres which can bring success to students in studying English is just the minority. A business venture of opening a well-qualified English teaching centre in Vietnam, according to those statistics and conclusion, will be successful.

- Private language centres for English language education are in high demand in the larger cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Students have flooded these schools with the expectation of greater marketability in the job market. These classes are usually taught by foreign expats and generally carry a salary between 10USD-20USD per hour depending on both the qualifications of the teacher and the quality of the school. Lower educational standards in some of the lower paying schools have resulted in less than qualified teachers (known to the local community as backpacker teachers) to fill their ranks.

5.2.2. Market share

- There are many language teaching centres in Vietnam nowadays. As a fact, this is a big competition between them and opening a language teaching centre there, sometimes, you will lose soon.

- In Vietnam, according to recent figures, British Council is the biggest non-profitable institution providing English courses for students. Other institutions such as: Apollo, Cleverlearn share 25% in this field. Those institutions provide a medium teaching quality with a reasonable price that many students choose as a place to study. Besides, there are many private classes which are opened by retired teachers or part-time teachers which many of them provide an acceptable teaching quality to students.

- ALC focuses on students who tend to study overseas, want to be well-prepared in English and IELTS Test, and corporations which have staff who tends to work or do research overseas.

5.2.3. SWOT Analysis

5.2.3.1. Strengths:

- High quality curriculum provided and designed by JCU.

- High-qualified language certificate, awarded by JCU.

- High standard facilities with international-style classrooms and resources of National Library provided by VNU.

- Reputation (Partnership between VNU and JCU).

- Back support from the government of Vietnam.

- Convenient location (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City).

- Excellent student services.

- Pathway programme for students want to study overseas.

- Dedicated and qualified teachers.

5.2.3.2. Weaknesses:

- Lack of marketing expertise.

- The price is quite high and not for low-level people.

5.2.3.3. Opportunities:

- New institution can co-operate with international school for increasing reputation.

- Utilize the remaining market share and use it effectively.

- Employ English-native teachers with excellent teaching skills.

- Provide high quality services to students.

- Plan an advertising campaign that is unbeatable by other competitors in this field.

5.2.3.4. Threats:

- Completely-new in Vietnam.

- No highly-skilled foreign teacher resources.

- Price wars with competitors.

- Competitors have based-reputation in Vietnam for 10 years.

5.2.4. The 4P's

5.2.4.1. Product:

- ALC has 9 level Programs taking students from Elementary (Preparation for Academic Studies programme) to Upper Intermediate (Academic English 7, IELTS Preparation programmes)

- At all levels, ALC will assist students in:

  • Giving presentations and short talks;
  • Participating in reading groups;
  • Listening and note-taking;
  • Writing reports and short essays.

- Besides, in each course, students are also required to complete 3 assignments and the Exam. Furthermore, students' attendance and successful completion of the assignments and assessments determine whatever they pass to the next level of the program or not.

- All the courses provided by ALC will only focus on teaching Academic English and IELTS Preparation for the age of 16 and above. Students have to do the Placement Test when they enroll the course. The Placement Test is designed to accurately place students in the correct level so students can study through our specially designed Academic English pathway program and graduate ready to start their studies overseas.

- ALC provides an Academic English pathway program that is designed to develop your English language and study skills, so that you are able to function in English, confidently and fluently within a study or work environment.

- The ALC's courses has been designed and developed by JCU and we are proud of our reputation for quality programs, dedicated and qualified teachers and excellent support services.

- There is an Exchange Programme for students who want to continue their studies overseas, co-operates with JCU. For instance, a student who has finished the Academic English 4 level can move to Academic English 5 level provided by JCU. After finished Academic English 7 level and met all academic requirements he/she can take a bachelor degree programme at JCU.

- In each term, ALC will award the Best Student, who got the highest mark of the level, a next level without charge.

5.2.4.2. Price:

- The tuition fees range from U$150 for Elementary level to U$500 for Upper Intermediate level.

- ALC found out that the tuition fees are quite high among students in Vietnam. However, our goal is to be the leading provider of quality Academic English and IELTS preparation courses which are undertaken as a first step to studying and living overseas of students.

5.2.4.3. Promotion:

- Students who re-enrolled (continued the next level) will receive a discount of 10%.

- Students who are studying the Intermediate level (Academic English 6) and Upper Intermediate level (Academic English 7, IELTS Preparation) will have a free IELTS Pre-Test.

5.2.4.4. Location:

- With the support of Officials for foreign institutions, ALC is located in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, where are highly-developed among Vietnam's cities. In addition, the campuses are quite the National Libraries, bus stops, and easy to park cars, motorbikes.

- Thanks to the partnership with VNU, ALC's students can use the National Libraries nation-wide with free of charge for the duration of the course they have enrolled. Additionally, VNU constructs 4 modern campuses for ALC in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

6. Conclusion

To sum up, investing in Vietnam is absolutely challenging for not only Vietnamese investors, but also foreign investors. After considering the above points, the investors must decide to do business in this country or not. Based on those points, this country is a potential country that doing investments on education seem to be successful. Moreover, there must be a slightly difference from what is on at present so that people can be persuaded to “give ALC a try”!

7. Recommendations

In Vietnam, where Learning is considered more valuable than wealth and material success, the investors must understand intensely the culture, the people, and the customs of this fast-developing country. Otherwise, there will be a ‘misunderstanding' situation that makes the plan not follow the right way. Besides, the two terms ‘Quality' and ‘Price' must be considered when opening a Language Center in Vietnam.

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