Thailand’s Central Group earmarks $30 million for expansion in Vietnam

By VnExpress   November 15, 2016 | 03:08 pm GMT+7
Thailand’s Central Group earmarks $30 million for expansion in Vietnam
Vietnam is currently listed in the top five in Asia and ranked 11th globally in terms of growth rate of the retail market. Photo by VnExpress/Quang Dinh

The Thai retailer is expanding rapidly in Vietnam with a focus on the growing middle class.

Central Group plans to invest about $30 million in Vietnam over the next five years, marking the latest move in its expansion strategy across the country, said the retail giant in an official statement on Monday.

The family-owned business said it aims to double the number of supermarkets in Vietnam to around 70 and develop 13 commercial complexes by 2021.

Central has been expanding its presence in Vietnam since 2013, when it started investing under the Robinson Department Store brand.

Central has acquired new operations in Vietnam since then as part of a broader trend of companies eyeing the potential of a single market of 600 million people in the Southeast Asian region.

In an effort to tap into the Vietnamese retail market, Central managed to acquire Big C earlier this year, one of the biggest supermarket chains in the country, which pulls in more than 50 million customers annually.

In April, France’s Casino Group sold its entire stake in hypermarket Big C Vietnam to Central for 1 billion euros ($1.14 billion), according to an online statement released by the French retailer.

Central has been on an acquisition spree to gain a strong foothold in Vietnam which, with a population of more than 90 million, has posted the world’s second-fastest growth rate per person since 1990, behind only China, and is forecast to reach $109 billion by 2017, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Last year, Central Group acquired a 49 percent stake in major Vietnamese electronics retailer Nguyen Kim, which has a network of 21 stores across the country and posted sales of $400 million in 2014.

The Thai conglomerate, run by the billionaire Chirathiwat family, has also announced the purchase of online fashion marketplace Zalora's operations in Vietnam in a move to combine e-commerce with its existing department stores, supermarket chains and shopping malls around the country.

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