South Korea’s confectionary giant Orion Corp. that is accelerating its foray into the Southeast Asian snack market said sales of its Vietnam operation exceeded 200 billion won ($174.5 million) for full 2016 after winning hearts of local consumers with snacks specially tailored to their taste buds.
According to the company on Monday, its Vietnam operation’s sales for 2016 jumped 24.1 percent on year to top 200 billion won, a rapid growth that resembles the growth rate of its Chinese unit 10 years ago.
Orion first tapped into Vietnam back in 1995 with its signature chocolate-flavored pie snacks “Choco Pie” and set up its first local plant in Ho Chi Minh City in the country’s south, in 2006 and another one in Hanoi in the north in 2009.
The Korean snack maker won over Vietnamese consumers with its marshmallow chocolatey pie by launching the “Tinh” campaign. Tinh means empathy and amicability among people and the Korean snack giant has relied on the similar marketing scheme at home that has helped Choco Pie become a signature Korean snack. It now commands a 58 percent share in the Vietnamese manufactured pie market.
As part of its other localization efforts, Orion also satisfied local taste buds with local recipes. Based on thorough studies, it has rolled out crisps with diverse flavors, from squid, steak and seaweed to shrimp that Vietnamese consumers prefer. In particular, products such as “O’ Star” and “Toonies” chips enjoyed a robust on-year growth of over 40 percent last year bolstering overall sales of the firm.
Orion plans to expand its sales network to other rural areas such as the Mekong River region, whose growth was relatively weak. Centered in Vietnam, Orion also plans to broaden its presence in the snack market across 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Indochina Peninsula and the Middle East. The Korean snack maker last November set up a joint venture in Indonesia with the largest confectionery company Delfi in the Indonesian snack market estimated at 5 trillion won.
Orion shared ended down 0.1 percent, or 1,000 won, at 667,000 won on Tuesday.
By Park Chang-young
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]