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越南工厂实习后 新科大生创业视野扩大

19 Feb 2020

Lianhe Zaobao, 19 Feb 2020, SUTD student’s entrepreneurship vision expands after interning in a Vietnamese factory (translation)
Expanding his horizons in terms of job search and entrepreneurship and changing his original view on life after completing an internship in a factory in Vietnam, a student from the Singapore University of Technology and Design felt that he had learnt a lot from the experience and saw the many development opportunities in South-east Asian countries.

Twenty-three-year-old Clarence Toh (Du Jun Wen) is currently an SUTD data analytics track fourth year student. He had gone to a furniture factory in Vietnam for a three-month overseas internship stint in May 2018.

As introduced by Clarence, the company was a local enterprise with its headquarters based in Singapore. He was sent to Vietnam, and his daily job was to ensure that every machine in the plant was in proper working order.

He said this was the first time he saw how a Singapore factory operated overseas. The workers worked in an orderly manner, and there was efficiency and product quality assurance. At the same time, the company benefits from Vietnam's cheap labour force, which greatly reduces its costs and facilitates the delivery of goods to China and the United States and other countries for sale at a more affordable price.

“Vietnamese workers earn around S$400 to S$500 a month, I believe this is considered pretty cheap even globally. I was deeply impressed by these ways of making and saving money.”

At that time, Clarence also had the idea of starting a business, but he was mainly considering high-tech industries. Not only was this technically difficult, it also required a lot of start-up capital. His internship experience in Vietnam inspired him and he realised that there is also money to be made in manufacturing, and starting a company need not be limited to Singapore. “I can return to Vietnam in future, or even go to Myanmar or Indonesia to look for opportunities, where rental is not only cheap, but the labour costs are also low and productivity is similar. My perspectives have widened and I now have more ideas for my future career plans.”

Clarence shared that after graduating, he hopes to find a job overseas, especially in a South-east Asian country. He also said that besides the cheap labour, South-east Asian governments may lower corporate taxes as they seek to attract overseas investments. “These countries also have the benefit of being near home. I hope to experience more and compare the advantages between different regions and countries.”