Vietnamese people’s popular drinking culture has made the country the second most profitable market for Heineken
, only after Mexico on profitability, according to the company's Asia Pacific President Frans Eusman.
Vietnam consumed 3.4 billion liters of beer in 2015, rising 10% from a year earlier and 41% from 2010, making it the largest beer market in Southeast Asia and the third in Asia, after Japan and China, according to official data.
In the first five months of 2015, the sales volume of locally made beer grew 5.7% year-on-year to 1.3 billion liters, data of the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed.
With such potential, the Dutch beverage giant has identified Vietnam as the next key driver for its growing Asia-Pacific business, as it becomes more difficult to squeeze profits from Africa, the Middle East and parts of Europe.
The century-old brewer now operates two firms in Vietnam namely APB Hanoi, which is wholly owned, and Vietnam Brewery, in which Heineken has a 60% stake. Besides, it owns a 5% stake in Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Joint Stock Corporation (Sabeco
), the largest beer maker in the country.
Heineken's Asia Pacific President Frans Eusman talks to CNBC's "Squawk Box."
“Five years ago, Heineken entered with a very small brewery when Vietnam started to open up. Now we are the number two in Vietnam,” said Eusman.
The executive said that despite fears of an economic slowdown in Asia, he was positive on the region's growth fundamentals - most key, the growing, young population.
“If you look at beer market and consumption per capita in the region, it is still relatively low compared to Europe, so there is a lot of potential,” he said.