B2B Partnerships in Vietnam: An explanatory multiple case studies about upgrading of Vietnamese companies in Danida B2B partnerships

Signe Møller

Student thesis: Master thesis


This study concerns the upgrading opportunities for Vietnamese companies in Danida B2B partnerships in Vietnam. In a transition economy like Vietnam, many companies still lack skills and technology required to upgrade and compete in a market economy. Therefore, international joint ventures with foreign companies have been a common path to try to obtain these skills through knowledge transfer. One of the visions behind Danida’s B2B program in Vietnam has been for Danish companies to transfer technology and knowledge to local companies. This study will look into some of these partnerships and try to explain how different factors have influenced the upgrading of the Vietnamese companies. Derived from past studies on knowledge transfer from IJVs, different internal factors within business partnerships: Commitment, control, trust, conflict and absorptive capacity were suggested to have an influence on knowledge transfer and upgrading. In addition, two external factors: Vietnam and Danida are included. Policies and regulations from Danida and the Vietnamese government were expected to have a possible influence on upgrading of the Vietnamese companies, and therefore they were also included in the overall analysis. This thesis has been built up on multiple case studies. 11 interviews, conducted with Vietnamese and Danish companies from former or present B2B partnerships, have been turned into 5 case studies. 3 of these cases take place within the software industry, and the other 2 take place within the plastic and mold making industry. The study provides a number of interesting indications to how the former mentioned internal and external factors have influenced the upgrading of the Vietnamese companies. First of all, it seems as if it is difficult for the Vietnamese companies to absorb the knowledge from the IJVs and implement it in their own companies. Therefore, in the partnerships where no IJVs were established yet, all training went directly to the Vietnamese company, which seemed to have learned a great deal more than the companies where IJVs had been established early on. Therefore, commitment was found to be important, but mainly when it not only involved commitment to the IJV, but also to the Vietnamese partner. In addition, Product relatedness was found to be important, especially when establishing IJVs, as related knowledge is easier to obtain and apply. In 2 partnerships where the Danish partners had the majority share, the Vietnamese partners seemed unsatisfied with the partnership and did not seem to have benefitted much from knowledge transfer. This might indicate that equally shared IJVs lead to more knowledge transfer. However, as it was also found that many former B2B partnerships ended due to disagreements in 50/50 partnerships, it does not seem to be the best way either. In the case where a 50/50 shared IJV had been successful, trust was found to be an important factor. Conflicts did not seem to have a direct negative effect on learning, but there were more conflicts in the 2 partnerships where the Danish partners had the majority share. The study is finished with some recommendations to Danida in Vietnam as well as to the Vietnamese companies, and an encouragement of more studies about how companies in developing countries can reach upgrading from partnerships and IJVs.

EducationsMSc in Business, Language and Culture, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages142