The investment projects registered by South Korean investors in the past few years are a part of the third South Korean foreign direct investment (FDI) wave in Vietnam, following the first which came in the 1990s and the second in 2000s.
The third wave is believed to be quite different from the previous ones.
Instead of pouring money into manufacturing projects under which investors make garments, footwear and electronic products for export to other countries, South Koreans have changed their mind, considering Vietnam the target market for their products and services.
Besides automobile brands like Kia and Hyundai growing in popularity, South Korean brands in other industries like cinema and food are also expanding into Vietnam.
CGV and Lotte Cinema, for instance now account for 60% of the market by the end of 2015, and food brands Lottery, CJ Woodville, F&B, Cafe Bene and My Cay Han Quoc have also put pressure on Vietnamese food chains.
In 2015, Emart, one of South Korea‘s largest retail chains, opened its first hypermarket in Vietnam in an ambitious plan to expand its network throughout Vietnam in upcoming years.
Prior to that, Lotte Mart, another South Korean supermarket chain, stated it would open 60 supermarkets in Vietnam by 2020, and if so, it would become the second largest supermarket chain in Vietnam, just next to Coop Mart.