Up to half of the Japanese companies visiting the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) are interested in Vietnam’s retail industry, according to the head of the Japanese trade promotion agency.
Kitashima Satoshi, director of JETRO in Ho Chi Minh City, told a seminar in HCMC on Wednesday, half of the 40 to 50 businesses coming to his office each month are interested in the booming retail market, particularly in the southern hub.
“They want to set up retail companies or build production facilities to sell goods to Vietnamese customers,” Satoshi told The Saigon Times Daily.
Slowing consumer confidence in Japan and a strengthening yen is encouraging companies from Asia’s largest economy to press further into Vietnam.
The Southeast Asian market is considered timely after Vietnam allowed the establishment of wholly foreign-owned retailers in line with its commitments with the World Trade Organization.
“Japanese companies have invested in manufacturing in Vietnam,” he said. “But now more Japanese enterprises are turning their attention to services and distribution.”
Some of the big names in Japanese retail, such as department store chain Takashimaya, electronics retailer Best Denki and one-price supermarket chain Daiso have plans to set up offices in Vietnam.
Japanese businesses were also encouraged by a free trade pact between the two countries which allow the two sides to enjoy lower tariffs on some 92 percent of goods and services over the next decade.
Vietnam-Japan trade turnover reached more than US$15.5 billion last year, with Vietnam’s exports to Japan reaching $8 billion and Vietnam importing $7.5 billion worth of goods and services from Japan.