GBA Chairman Letter | First Quarter 2024

Quarterly Co Chairmen Letter Q22023 1


Ho Chi Minh City, 2nd April 2024

Dear members and friends of the German Business Association – GBA,

With the new year of the dragon, we welcomed in the first quarter of 2024 a strong new board. Together, we refined the strategy, all fueled by our mission to support you – our members and the German business community.

I am pleased to share that we elected fifteen outstanding business leaders from various backgrounds and industries in the board 2024. The simultaneously held AGM in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City gave our elected board a strong vote of confidence. Furthermore, I am humbled by being appointed as your new GBA Chairman during our board meeting on 30th January 2024.

Representing and empowering you as members is my absolute priority in this role and I am committed to driving this exciting opportunity with passion and full dedication. In addition, we are pleased to announce that Mr. Björn Koslowski, Deputy Chief Representative of AHK Vietnam, joined the board as non-voting observer effective from 1st April 2024. With this step we will continue and strengthen our close cooperation between GBA and AHK.

During our offsite strategy meeting on 8th and 9th March in Danang, we as the board reflected on our achievements of 2023 and the members survey feedback to update our strategy and set five priorities for the year 2024.

We defined three new initiatives:

  • Elevating Member Engagement: Enhancing your experience through increased interaction, additional benefits, and high-quality events.
  • Expanding in North Vietnam: Strengthening our presence and activities in Hanoi and the northern regions.
  • Strategic Growth: Pursuing a growth strategy that is both effective and sustainable to increase our member base.

We additionally keep existing focus areas:

  • Operational Excellence: Empowering our office team to keep up with the high level of engagement and quality we deliver to our members.
  • Partner Network Utilization: Leveraging partnerships with AHK, EuroCham, authorities and other institutions for our members’ interests.

Within the first three months of 2024, we as the entire GBA can already celebrate a series of successful events and activities:

A true milestone for us was the roundtable with the Federal President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier this January at the Deutsches Haus. His delegation of high-ranking German officials and business leaders, including Germany’s Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Mr. Hubertus Heil, engaged for an open exchange with the German business community in Vietnam to understand current trends and explore future cooperation opportunities. The event was part of the President’s two-day state visit to Vietnam, which aimed to enhance the political and economic relations between the two countries.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier Meets with German Business Leaders in Vietnam
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier Meets with German Business Leaders in Vietnam

With our friends from the French business association (CCIFV), we celebrated in January & February again the Franco-German Day 2024 “Feierabend Rendez-Vous” with over 300 guests joining us in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. On 4th of March, we conducted our GBA Business Meeting in March under the theme “Vietnam Economic Outlook 2024 & The Role of ASEAN” in HCMC, with an unprecedented turnout of over 100 attendees.

Also, in March we successfully organized the fourth “Danang Meets Europe” with over 80 representatives from the Da Nang European and Vietnamese business community to network and exchange on local opportunities. Lastly the GBA held its very first Vietnam-Germany Business Forum on collaborative Pathways to Green Growth in HCMC, co-organized by ITPC and UOB with more than 120 participants.

I underlined towards the government the role of administrative reforms and modern infrastructure in support of the city’s ambitions to establish itself as an Asian business hub. This reflects the GBA’s strong role in opening dialogues with authorities and building partnerships for growth and prosperity.

Despite our events, we as GBA also engaged with our partners from the German Embassy in Hanoi and the German General Consulate in HCMC. Vice-Chairman Mr. Torben Minko and I enjoyed a constructive dialogue with the German Ambassador to Vietnam Dr. Guido Hildner, and the Deputy Head of Mission of the German Embassy Hanoi Mr. Simon Kreye. Our discussions were centered around the general economic and political situation, cooperation with the German Embassy for the year 2024, and a forward-looking perspective on the upcoming milestones in 2025.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 30-year anniversary of the GBA in 2025, the GBA remains committed to its prolonged dedication to facilitating and fostering the German-Vietnamese economic ties. Together with the GBA Vice-Chairwomen Ms. Minh Nguyen, we furthermore continued our monthly exchange with German General Consul Dr. Josefine Wallat in HCMC to drive areas of common interest.

WhatsApp Image 2024 03 15 at 4.12.31 PM 1
GBA Leadership Engages in Strategic Talks with the German Embassy in Hanoi

Furthermore, we continued our important collaboration with the Vietnamese authorities. We are proud to report that we shared our members needs in several high-level meetings with the government authorities in the past months, in particular with the chairman of HCMC, the Investment and Trade Promotion Center (ITPC) (refer here>>> to the article) and during our most recent meeting with the Binh Duong Provincial People’s Committee and departmental heads (refer here>>> to the article).

We as the board have continuously voiced out your concerns and suggestions on various issues affecting your business operations and the local investment environment, such as: 1) Policy Clarity and Global Standards, 2) Supply Chain and Production Support, 3) Transport Infrastructure Investment, 4) Visa Policy Simplification, 5) Communication and Transparency, 6) Digitalization, and 7) Foreign Labor. We have received positive feedback and recognition from the government officials, and we will continue to engage with them on a regular basis.

Looking ahead to the year 2024, I want to draw your attention to several highlights related to your membership as we plan new formats, use a new digital member platform, and schedule several signature activities.

  • Our legendary GBA Oktoberfest will take place from 26th to 28th September in Hanoi, from 4th to 5th October in Danang and from 10th to 12th October in HCMC.
  • We will merge our Business Challenge with the reinstatement of our German Business Awards in September, details will be announced soon – including award categories – we hope to see many of you participating in this new engagement format.
  • We plan new formats in the North, first the Hanoi Business Luncheon in May and a roundtable with the new ambassador after summer.
  • We will conduct a family event in HCMC around summer.

With “GlueUp” we have officially launched a new digital platform for event registration and payments, which has received positive feedback from members. It enables efficient management of memberships, events, and more, improving your member experience.

Together with the AHK we plan signature events and invite you to join us. We support our members in their regional activities by initiating our first field trip to Cambodia under the theme “Unlocking Business Opportunities in Cambodia” from 9th to 11th of May. During the trip we will exchange with local and German authorities and businesses. Few spots are still available, register here>>>.

With the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, we will again organize a German pavilion portraying green technologies and solutions for the EuroCham’s Green Economy Forum & Exhibition (GEFE) in HCMC from 21st to 23rd October. Package: All-inclusive 9 sqm booth for EUR 5,000.00 + 10% VAT. We believe that the German National Pavilion will provide you unique opportunities to jointly present your products and solutions, representing the brand “#madeinGermany”. Learn more about the package here>>>

The first quarter of 2024 sets strong evidence for the vital community and impact of the GBA for its members. With the ambitious plans ahead, we as the entire GBA team and board believe in the positive membership experience we will generate for you over the next quarters. Therefore, we appreciate your trust and support in GBA, and we look forward to collaborating with you. I want to thank in particular our office team for their tremendous work, the outgoing board members 2023 for their contribution and our corporate partners for their extended support, ensuring we can deliver the scope and quality we targeted in our strategy.

Sincerely Yours,

Alexander Ziehe

Chairman of the Board

German Business Association