Seeing the traditional sedge mat business of their homeland waning, two men of Tan Thanh, Kim Son district shifted to a new profession - bamboo mats, which created a lot of jobs for local laborers.
Following officials of Kim Son Economic and Infrastructure Department, we visited Dinh Cua Trading and Transport Co., Ltd to learn more about this story. The company’s Facility 1 is located on 1 ha of land in Hamlet 2, Tan Thanh commune, Kim Son district. This is both a private residence of his family and also a production facility of the company. In a short talk to Mr. Mai Van Kha, Deputy Director of Dinh Cua Company, we learned that Mai Van Cua and Mai Van Kha, born in the 1980s into a pure farming family in Tan Thanh, with the desire to earn a better living for their family, make a contribution to their homeland development, and promote the traditional profession of Kim Son sedge mat, researched and learned to realize their dreams right on their homeland. Starting from scratch, with their resolution and fearlessness of hardships, they had to borrow money to start up a sedge mat factory in their home commune. However, in recent years, Kim Son's traditional sedge mats have been unmarketable due to overwhelming competition from Chinese bamboo mats, resulting in many bankruptcies.
Faced with that situation, Cua and Kha went to Mong Cai Border Gate (Quang Ninh province) to survey and found that small merchants earned a lot of profit from importing Chinese bamboo mats to sell in Vietnam. From this strong allure, in 2017, they decided to establish Dinh Cua Trading and Transport Co., Ltd. At first, the company only imported bamboo mats in small quantity to sell in Kim Son and neighboring districts. In order to expand the business market, Director Mai Van Cua rented trucks to sell products across the country. This was a very long tough time.
In early 2019, when sales became stable, sourcing abundantly domestic bamboos in northern provinces and using their accumulated financial resources, Cua and Kha decided to invest in machinery and equipment to make bamboo mats. At first, they mainly imported machinery to process finished products at the final stage. By the end of 2019, they determined to study consumers’ feedback to make distinctive and superior products to capture the market. Accordingly, the company imported machinery to complete production lines. In 2020, the new production process was completed to make a variety of bamboo mats of distinctive design and premium quality, which are environmentally friendly and suitable for use in air-conditioned spaces.
When sales of bamboo mats were more stable, taking advantage of available machinery and equipment, in 2020, Cua and Kha researched and made novel blankets for use around the year, which have been very popular since then. To ensure responsibility to consumers and fight against counterfeit and knockoff products, the company registered the Dinh Cua trademark and brand identity at the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (NOIP) under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Kha added, in addition to Facility 1, the company leased a 3-ha new factory in Co Da village, Yen Thinh town, Yen Mo district to meet market demands for products and generated jobs for local people.
From these efforts, the company's revenue increased significantly, from VND54 billion in 2017 to nearly VND120 billion in 2018 and to more than VND300 billion in 2019. In 2020, despite being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, its revenue nearly doubled that in 2019. In the first six months of 2021, although the COVID-19 epidemic still complicatedly developed, it still climbed to more than VND400 billion and expected to reach VND800 billion in the full year. While the company only had 30 employees (paid VND5 - 6 million of salary a month each on average) in 2017, the workforce doubled in 2018, rose to 200 in 2019 and to 500 in 2020. In 2021, it had 800 employees, each of who was paid an average monthly salary of VND7-8 million.
Being very successful in business, Mai Van Cua and Mai Van Kha are still cherishing many plans. They are desiring to do business in more localities to create jobs for unemployed workers. They also expected that the authorities of Tan Thanh commune, Kim Son district and Ninh Binh province will care, support and facilitate the company to expand its production area and attract more local workers to work in a spacious and modern factory covering 15 ha. For the time being, the company's products only meet 70% of the market share in the north and 30% in the south. Moreover, the company is determined to develop a strategy to bring Dinh Cua - Kim Son branded products to the world market.
Source: Vietnam Business Forum