Success stories

Trading house promotes the adoption of environmental technologies in Vietnam


KaukoInternational is looking for projects in Vietnam that promote a healthy environment by utilising new technologies and expertise. Finnpartnership’s support helped them find the right partners.

The Espoo-based company KaukoInternational Oy Ltd integrates the products and services of technology companies and offers them as complete packages on the international market. The company, which broke away from Kaukomarkkinat Oy five years ago, has focused its attention particularly on Asian growth markets.

CEO Niiles Airola describes KaukoInternational as a traditional trading house. The company’s goal is to establish customer contacts in select markets before the principal joins any possible projects. To achieve this, it makes use of local resources, people and networks.

The Finnish company has operated in Vietnam through its local representative since 2001, but four years ago the decision was made to pursue a stronger foothold in the rapidly developing nation’s markets.

Investing in finding the right partner

The chosen approach was to establish a subsidiary and cooperate with local partners. The company received Business Partnership Support from Finnpartnership for the purposes of preparing a business model and identifying partners.

According to Airola, the company’s representatives met to discuss challenges and potential partners. After long discussions, the decision was finally made to sign a cooperation agreement with two local companies.

“I don’t believe in proposing on the first date,” Airola emphasises. “A good partnership has to be built over time.”

KaukoInternational’s subsidiary started operations in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest and most populous city, in 2018.

“Without Finnpartnership’s support, we would be starting on a completely different basis in Vietnam. Their support gave us the opportunity to do more background work than we would ever have been able to do on our own and to travel to Vietnam to meet potential partners,” says KaukoInternational’s CAO/CMO Sini Suomela.

Demand for environmental technology is on the rise

For a long time, the focus of KaukoInternational’s business activities in Vietnam was on the pulp and paper industry, but emphasis has since clearly shifted to environmental technology and solutions that improve energy efficiency. Demand for these kinds of products is growing quickly in Vietnam.

“We want to turn a blackened world green and expedite the adoption of more environmentally friendly technologies,” Niiles Airola summarises.

KaukoInternational is looking for partners in both the private and public sectors. In Vietnam, the most fruitful discussions have been with regional administrative bodies.

“Among other projects, we are now taking a province’s development plan forward alongside a large Finnish consulting firm. The project includes things like adopting renewable forms of energy production and finding smart solutions to street lighting,” Airola says.

The company is identifying projects within the development plan for which the most suitable providers need to be found. Airola believes that patient long-term work pays off.

“And when cooperation with one province produces good results, the references we get from that will earn us enquiries from other provinces.”

Another potential area of interest for environmental technology in Vietnam is the development of municipal waste management. For example, new solutions are needed for processing slurry and organic matter for the purposes of energy production.

“Succeeding in Vietnam requires us to pay close attention to cultural matters. Although, on the face of it, the Vietnamese operate by international rules, local ways of doing things are deeply rooted.”

Picture: Kauko International

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