Media - Sonova News Room

Sonova in Vietnam: success can be socially responsible

More than 70 per cent of Vietnamese people are younger than 35, and they are keen to push their country forward. They work hard now that Vietnam has recovered from the long war and the 1986 reforms ("Doi Moi") have promoted an economic boom. Since then, the Vietnamese economy has grown faster than most other nations, while its low wages attract investors from all over the world. Sonova is one of the few examples where this success is also socially sustainable. 

Dogs are barking, motorbikes honking. Somewhere, a telephone rings… and now an alarm clock: It is 5.30 am – still dark outside – in Binh Duong, 30 kilometers north of Ho Chi Minh City. Van wipes the sleep from her eyes, stretches, and climbs down the wooden ladder from the loft bed to her kitchen.

Twelve square meters is home for this young Vietnamese woman. It contains all she needs: a kitchenette, washing machine, freezer, and a TV. A knee-high plastic table and a family portrait on the wall of Van, her husband Thang, and their four-year-old daughter Lam Phuong, who is still dozy when her mother wakes her up.

There is little time for breakfast. Van has to go to work – and you never know with the traffic. With her helmet on her head and her daughter on the black Honda scooter, she edges out of the alley and into the daily madness. Filtering through thousands of motorbikes,  she gets hardly a glimpse of life on the roadside – people weaving baskets, waiting on tables, frying spring rolls, making coffee, sewing, bargaining, and sleeping.

Most of the children have already arrived at the Petit Sun Kindergarten. There are 180 of them, cared for by twelve teachers. Van says she had a good feeling when she first visited: “I’m not afraid that they might beat or mistreat the children here; that’s something you hear about other kindergartens.” Moreover, Van doesn’t even have to pay most of 500,000 đồng (roughly 22 Swiss francs) fee: the expenses are paid by her company.

Her company is Phonak, an affiliate of Sonova. Only a few kilometers away from her home, in the Thuan An Industrial Park, the white and green building with its high glass front stands out among the concrete-block factories of companies from all over the world. Next to it, a well-tended garden – star-fruit trees, orchids – and a parking lot for motorbikes. ...

Learn more in the photo gallery below or read the CSR Report 2012/13