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Ten years and even 70 more: Bosch in Vietnam

Aerial view on Bosch Dongnai plant, Vietnam, 2017

In December 2017, Bosch celebrates ten years of Bosch Vietnam Co. Ltd. In December 2007, Bosch received approval to found a 100 percent subsdiary in Vietnam: Robert Bosch Vietnam Co., Ltd., headquartered in Ho-Chi-Minh City

Looking back

But if we look a bit closer, it is a history of nearly 70 years more that Bosch started business activities in Vietnam: In 1938, Bosch negotiated with East Asiatic Co. (Copenhagen/Denmark), its sales partner in Southeast Asia, over the foundation of a Bosch Service Center in Vietnam’s capital, known as Saigon at that time (now Ho Chi Minh City). However, the plan could not be implemented due to the outbreak of World War II in 1939.

The entry to the Vietnam market followed nearly two decades later under better circumstances. Robert Bosch GmbH and Indo Comptoirs, Geneva/Saigon, concluded an agreement on August 16 about the exclusive sale of Bosch automotive equipment in Vietnam through Indo Comptoirs.

Difficult times

Manufacturing scene at Bosch Dongnai plant, 2017
Manufacturing scene at Bosch Dongnai plant, 2017

But times became difficult in Vietnam again. After decades of Vietnam suffering political instability and violent war times, things changed in the late 1980ies – also for Bosch. Following a travel report drawn up by a sales representative, Vietnam’s political liberalization and economic deregulation was seen as an opportunity for Bosch to resume its activities on the Vietnamese market. Telecommunication products and automotive technology from Bosch’s Indian subsidiary Mico in particular offer great potential thanks to the trade agreement between Vietnam and India.
An important milestone for Bosch in Vietnam followed in 1994: Robert Bosch Pte Ltd. Singapore received approval on August 14 from the Department of Trade in Vietnam to found a sales office in Ho Chi Minh City. This office was used to market products from the fields of automotive technology (trade), power tools and car radios.

Robert Bosch Vietnam

And the major step for Bosch’s story of success in Vietnam was the approval given in December 2007 found a fully-owned subsidiary headquartered in Ho Chi Minh City (Robert Bosch Vietnam Co., Ltd.) – after seven decades of ups and downs.

Action followed soon: Robert Bosch Vietnam Co., Ltd. was opened, and a ground breaking ceremony was held for a new building for the production of metal push straps for continuously variable transmissions (CVT) in the year 2008 - production of metal push straps for CVT started in April 2011.

Besides business activities like the establishment of Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Vietnam Company Limited (RBVH) in May 2011, extension of the Bosch Gasoline Systems plant in Dong Nai province and a new brand office in Da Nang in 2012, Bosch started also to help improve technical education in Vietnam:

Education and research

In 2013, Bosch Vietnam signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with LILAMA 2 Technical & Technology College in setting up the first local apprenticeship program to provide Technical Industrial Apprenticeship (TGA) according to German vocational training standards, and opened its own training center in Vietnam.

This educational commitment to the Vietnam business activities were added by another backbone for successful development in Vietnam: In 2014 Bosch opened the “Automotive Research and Development Center” in Ho Chi Minh City.

Today, more than 3,000 people work for Bosch in Vietnam in ten locations. This is a lot compared to the beginnings. But after more than a decade of Bosch Vietnam Co. Ltd. the story will continue.

Aerial view on Bosch Dongnai plant, Vietnam, 2017
Aerial view on Bosch Dongnai plant, Vietnam, 2017

Dietrich Kuhlgatz

Since 1998 I have been at Bosch. I am deputy head of the Historical Communications department, working as spokesperson and researcher. I am in charge of product history requests, take care of contacts to technology and transportation museums, and I am in charge of history-related topics in Asia Australia, and Africa.
Before joining Bosch, I studied in history and philosophy at Universities of Konstanz and Hamburg. After graduating, I was editor of a scientific journal and research associate at Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin.

Picture of Dietrich Kuhlgatz

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