Unilever first started investigating opportunities in Vietnam in 1988 when Frank Martin, then operations member of East Asia & Pacific regional management, visited the country to assess joint venture opportunities. After a careful study, he recommended a joint venture in the area of industrial fats and shortenings. However, the project never got off the ground.
The idea of building a business in Vietnam was resuscitated in 1991 when John Kedzierski came out on an exploratory visit. After meeting several government ministers and visiting several state-owned businesses, he recommended that Unilever should enter the market in all its core business sectors. In detergents, he singled out the Hanoi soap Factory (Haso) in the north and the Viso (Vietnam Soap) factory in the South as possible partners.
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