Japanese pharmacy chain eyes Vietnam expansion

By Dat Nguyen   July 17, 2019 | 07:09 pm PT
Japanese pharmacy chain eyes Vietnam expansion
People walk past a Matsumotokiyoshi pharmacy in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Shutterstock/Torjrtrx.
Japanese drugstore chain Matsumotokiyoshi Holdings plans to expand to Vietnam amid the increasing demand for health-related products.

The company said its Vietnam operations would be run in partnership with Ho Chi Minh City-based Lotus Food Group, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. But it has not specified a time frame for opening stores in the country. 

"Vietnam is an emerging market, so there's plenty of room to open new stores," a spokesperson for the company said.

Matsumotokiyoshi has been pursuing overseas expansion. It had 33 stores in Thailand and three in Taiwan as of the end of June, and also plans to expand to Hong Kong.

Vietnam’s growing middle class is increasingly interested in health-related products. "Health goods and medical services" was among the top six spending categories in the country last year, according to a report released in June by market research firm Euromonitor.

Vietnam is among 17 countries in the so-called "pharmerging" markets, a group of countries that are expected to be the pillars of the global pharma industry, according to U.S. information technology firm IMS Health. Its drug market is expected sustain growth of 10 percent annually for the next five years.

It grew at 16 percent a year in 2015-2018, with sales currently topping $10 billion, a report by global research firm Business Monitor International showed.

The country still imports over half of its drug needs, especially of patented drugs. In the first six months of this year its imports were worth $1.52 billion, up 11.9 percent year-on-year, the General Statistics Offic reported.

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