One of the biggest barriers for SMEs in the CLMV in recent years is inadequate capacity and lack of opportunities to network with international and regional investors for market expansion. With the success of the first Investor Forum held in March 2014 and with the support from the New Zealand government , the MI in collaboration with the Sasin Japan center and Intentional Institute for Trade and Development (ITD) organized the Second Buyer – Seller Meeting (SME export consortia groups and prospective business partners) on 27th November 2014 in Bangkok. The forum is part of the three year project on "Capacity Development of Integrating CLMV economies into AEC; funded by New Zealand Aid Program (NZAP).
The business meeting was attended by 80 participants comprising of 16 SME clusters from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV), and 43 prospective buyers / traders from Thailand, Japan, China and Korea including some retailer and wholesaler giants including Big C Center, Siam Makro, Mega Home, CP Group, Saha Group, CJ Corporation and others. The one-day buyer- seller meeting aimed to provide a platform for business matching and business networking, for 16 SME clusters promoted by the MI with support from the NAZP during the period of 2012 – 2014.
The meeting was structured into two parts: (1) cluster presentation to introduce the cluster , product profiles, manufacturing processes and marketing strategies, providing vivid images to the potential buyers and traders and laying the foundation for the next B2B; (2) business matching session to seek business partnership for integrating into regional and global value chain, technology exchanges and partnership agreement via product showcase and face-to-face interactions.
After the completion of the event, most of the SME groups were able to conclude initial business collaboration arrangements with the buyers. Through such discussions, some clusters have also acknowledged the importance of improving their capacity and strengthening networking to enhance their competiveness to meet the challenges of the upcoming 2015 AEC formation.