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Motorbike makers need own designs

IP News from duytho.comThe Vietnamese motorbike should have its own design and trademark to overcome the challenges coming from low demand in the domestic market and from intellectual property rules, reported a recent conference entitled Vietnamese Motorbikes and Intellectual P

Vietnamese motorbike manufacturers had produced about 900,000 motorbikes in the first nine months of this year, said Le Anh Tuan, deputy chairman of Viet Nam Motorbike and Bicycle Association.

The number of motorbikes made by domestic manufacturers this year will be the same as last year, Tuan said.

However, Pham Bich San, Deputy Secretary of the Union Association of Science and Technology informed in the conference that demand for motorbikes in Vietnam in the first seven months of this year had dropped by 20-30 compared with the same period of last year.

The Vietnamese motorbike industry has 52 companies made up of seven foreign-invested and 45 domestic manufacturers.

However, only one third of 45 domestic motorbike manufacturers had stable work. Production among the other two thirds was spasmodic.

Riding the Wave

In the first nine months of 2006, Honda Vietnam reached a total export turnover of US$21mil, boosting the export turnover from May 2002 to US$128mil, reported Hiroaki Funami, General Director of Honda Vietnam.

Since the beginning of the year, the company has exported 12,000 Wave Alpha motorbikes to Southeast Asian countries. The company has also exported many motorbike components and accessories to this market.

From May 2002, Honda Vietnam has exported 180,000 motorbikes and 1.7mil components and accessories.

Honda Vietnam has plans to increase its productivity from 800,000 motorbikes per year to 1mil per year.

During the conference, Bich San cited three main reasons for a reduction in the consumption volume of domestic motorbike manufacturers. They were transportation condition, technology and policy.

Bich San thought that the country should stop granting preferential status to weak manufacturers. Implementing this would close nearly 40 enterprises that use ineffective operations and have poor competitiveness.

The industry should invest more in improving production and technology in a bid to meet the demand in Africa and some domestic remote areas, he said.

His suggestion comes from the fact that some domestic manufacturers like T&T have started exporting to some poor countries in Africa at cheap prices from VND4mil (US$250) to VND12mil ($750) per unit.

Nguyen Duc Phu from Ha Noi University of Technology gave out another reason relating to intellectual property.

“The localisation rate of Vietnamese motorbikes is around 80 to 90. However, almost all domestic manufacturers copy models from famous overseas brand-names.

This is the reason why their products are not popular in the domestic market,” he said.

Meanwhile, in the conference, domestic motorbike manufacturers give out ideas to improve the economic role of motorbikes made in Vietnam.

Motorbikes made in Vietnam were cheap and of high quality. This would make foreign manufacturers reassess their pricing policy to bring benefit to consumers, they said.

Domestic enterprises believe there are no regulations proving that they violate the law of intellectual property.

The Vietnamese motorbike industry was young and demand from people was still substantial, said Vu Tuyen Hoang, director of the Union Association of Science and Technology.

Motorbikes made in Vietnam with cheap prices were still allowed to run so that there was no evidence that the law was being violated, he said.

Hoang’s opinion became stronger when Do Gia Phan, deputy director of Viet Nam Association of Standards and Consumers Protection, showed that his association hadn’t received any claim on motorbike design.

Assemblers believe the best way to overcome the weakness of the Vietnamese motorbike industry and to avoid law violation was creating a trademark for Vietnamese motorbikes.

(Source: Viet Nam News)

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