South Korean retailers eye opportunities in Vietnam
Retail firms in South Korea are stepping up efforts to tap into the Vietnamese market, which has huge growth potential thanks to its rapid economic growth and a high proportion of the working-age population.
Lotte Group, one of the top two retail giants in South Korea along with Shinsegae, is the most active in the scene. The company currently has 20 affiliates operating in Vietnam, including Lotte GRS, Lotte Shopping, and Lotte Culture Works.
Lotte Shopping is set to open Lotte Mall West Lake Hanoi in the capital city in August. It will be Vietnam's largest shopping mall complex also consisting of a hotel and offices.
The retail giant is also investing about US$900 million to establish Thu Thiem Eco Smart City, which is a complex that will consist of a shopping mall, a hotel, offices, housing, and a cinema. In August, Lotte World Aquarium is set to open in Hanoi as well.
"Vietnamese retail market grew about 100 times in the past 20 years. It is an attractive business destination with a high portion of the young population, who love Korean food, K-pop, and K-drama," a Lotte Shopping official said, as cited by The Korea Times.
Shinsegae plans to open a third Emart store in Vietnam under a master franchise contract with the local THACO Group in the second half of this year.
GS Retail has already opened over 200 GS25 convenience stores in the Southeast Asian country.
Apart from retail corporations, leading unicorn businesses in technology, tourism services, and hotels in South Korea, such as Yanolja Cloud, are also targeting the Vietnamese market.
Following the Vietnam visit by President Yoon Suk Yeol and a business delegation from South Korea in June, Yanolja Cloud has successfully established strategic partnership agreements with three Vietnamese companies, namely VNTravel, DiHotel, and Fusion Hotel Group.
Vietnam has a domestic market with a population of nearly 100 million. Looking at the composition ratio of the population, those under the age of 30 account for 50% of the population while the working-age population takes up 70%.