Japanese companies increase presence in Vietnam’s retail market
By Hung Le
|Hirai Shinji, chief representative of JETRO in HCMC, presents a Japanese product at the press conference announcing the seventh Japan Vietnam Festival – PHOTO: HUNG LE|
HCMC – Japanese companies have increased their presence in Vietnam’s retail market instead of focusing on the manufacturing sector, according to the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).
Addressing a press conference on April 15 announcing the seventh Japan Vietnam Festival, Hirai Shinji, chief representative of JETRO in HCMC, said Vietnam remains an attractive destination for Japanese companies to invest in the manufacturing sector. However, Japanese companies are gradually shifting to non-manufacturing sectors, especially retail, to take advantage of a growing middle class in Vietnam and a population of nearly 100 million.
A report of JETRO several years ago showed that up to 40% of Japanese investors in Vietnam were active in the manufacturing sector. However, the figure has dropped to some 20% at present.
Japanese food manufacturer Meiji recently announced the establishment of its operations in Vietnam with charter capital of 200 million yen (US$1.8 million) to sell the Meiji-branded infant formula imported from Japan.
Sojitz Corporation and Vietnam Livestock Corporation, a subsidiary of Vietnam’s leading dairy producer Vinamilk, have reached an agreement to establish a new joint venture for the purpose of importing, processing and selling beef products in Vietnam.
Aeon opened its sixth shopping mall in Vietnam last December and fashion brand Uniqlo opened its seventh outlet in the country in March 2021.
Many other Japanese retailers such as household goods chain Muji, pharmacy chain Matsumoto Kiyoshi and fashion brand Miki House have opened their first outlets in HCMC and have plans to expand to other cities.
At the Japan Vietnam Festival organized in HCMC this weekend, Japanese retailers such as FamilyMart, Hachi Hachi, Kamereo, Akuruhi and Logitem will present a wide variety of Japanese products, from clothes and food to cosmetics from 50 Japanese producers. Many of the products will be introduced to Vietnamese consumers for the first time.
In terms of e-commerce, JETRO and Japanese companies have collaborated with large e-commerce platforms in Vietnam such as Shopee, Lazada and Tiki to enable Vietnamese consumers to access Japanese goods.
Japan’s exports of agriculture-forestry-aquaculture products and food to Vietnam in 2020 rose 17% compared with 2019, helping Vietnam become Japan’s fifth biggest importer of these products after Hong Kong, the United States, mainland China and Taiwan.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Japanese instant products such as ice cream, spices, natto (fermented soybean), vinegar and masks have become more familiar among Vietnamese consumers.
The seventh Japan Vietnam Festival will be held at September 23 Park in District 1, HCMC, from April 17 to 18, featuring hundreds of booths selling Japanese and Vietnamese products.
Visitors will also enjoy music performances by famous artists from both countries such as girl band Elfin, boy band Amatoudanshi and singers Exile Atsushi, Dong Nhi, Ong Cao Thang and Minh Hang.
Besides, there will be a Karate Show, a Bon Odori performance (Japanese traditional dance) and other cultural events.