Japan's retail giants are increasing their presence in Viet Nam based on future market potential.
Shinichiro Hori, director of investment fund Dream Incubator Vietnam, told the newspaper Tuoi Tre (Youth) that many Japanese investors were interested in the local retail market.
The director said that a youthful population, improved income and similar taste to Japanese consumers, made Viet Nam's retail market very attractive.
Takashimaya, one of Japan's leading retail giants, is set to open its first store in HCM City. The chain late last month signed an agreement with Keppel Land to pre-commit to a 15,000- square metre retail space at the Sai Gon Centre Phase 2, expected to be complete by 2015.
Company representatives forecast that Viet Nam could be a potential market for high-end commodities thanks to its stable economic growth.
Executive Director Yoko Yasuda said the nation's retail market was entering into a period of positive growth, with a rising middle class, of which Takashimaya hoped to take advantage.
Singapore Public Relations Manager Paul Tan said the retail giant decided to invest in Viet Nam based on statistics from the Singapore Goods and Services Tax (GST), which reported the country's consumers as ranked sixth in terms of spending, at a growth rate of roughly 2.3 per cent per year.
With more than half its population in their thirties, Viet Nam was expected to become an important shopping market, Tan added.
Retail giant Aeon earlier this month revealed its 35,120- sq.m Aeon-Tan Phu Celadon Mall project in HCM City at a cost of US$109 million. The investor plans to start construction on the mall in September 2012 and put it into operation by 2014. Vietnamese goods will make up 90 per cent of products at the mall, while the remainder will be drawn from Japanese and other foreign businesses.
Aeon said it would open similar malls in northern and central Viet Nam during 2014-15.
Nichirei Foods of Japan's Nichirei Corporation has entered the Vietnamese processed food market by taking a 19 per cent share of Viet Nam's food joint stock company Cholimex, a Vietnam News Agency report said.
With the share worth $6.25 million, Nichirei Foods said it planned to lead the Viet Nam processed food market in due course.
Viet Nam's trade in frozen food remained at $125 million, Thailand's was about $312 million while Japan's was $10.3 billion.
Cholimex is one of Viet Nam's biggest providers of spices and an exporter of frozen food to Europe. The company's turnover is around $25 million a year with an average annual growth rate of 30 per cent.
The report said Nichirei Foods planned to send technical staff to help Cholimex diversify its frozen food products.
If everything ran well, the Japanese company would increase its investment in Cholimex in two years and build a Southeast Asian processing plant in the country, the report said.
Nichirei Foods' main products were frozen foods, products from the fruit acerola and retort-pouch foods. Retort pouch is a type of food packaging created by aseptic processing, made from multiple layers of flexible laminate.