Wednesday, July 14, 2010
On our free day in Ho Chi Minh City, we went to a German bakery to have a coffee. Schneider’s finest is a really nice bakery and opened one year ago. We were very lucky to talk to the owner of Schneider`s finest and interviewed him about challenges and opportunities in the Asian market. The owner Hartmuth Langer came to Vietnam in 1968 to work for the American Express military bank. During that time he met his wife and traveled for the bank around Asia and Europe.
With 25 years work experience in Asia and four other investors, two Americans and a German couple, he started to open a German bakery. Starting the bakery was only possible because of the cultural know-how and Ms Langer, who was born and raised in Vietnam. According to Mr. Langer, finding a local reliable Vietnamese business partner is like winning the lottery. The investment for equipment was around 400.000 Euro which is a high amount to invest into a communist country with no predictability of legal decisions and political stability. Nevertheless, they build their production hall in Binh Duong, Vietnam and employed one German master baker and four local assistants. The owner told us that he had 50 German applicants for the position of the master baker, which is quite a lot. For the German bread they produce, they buy the brown-bread mixes from a German company, Abel and Schäfer. They also work as a wholesaler for Abel and Schäfer in South Vietnam and sell the mixes to restaurants and hotels. However the import is complicated and expensive due to the different taxation on different mixes.
Nevertheless, it is worth it because the local people like the taste of dark bread, which is 5 times more expensive as the normal white toast and healthier.
We wish Schneider’s finest all the best and thank Mr. Langer for all his valuable advice.