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Korean retailers vy for affluent district in Ho Chi Minh City

Retail in Asia Ho Chi Minh City

Korean retail giants are competing fiercely for the affluent Go Vap district near Tan Son Nhat International Airport, part of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. E-Mart, Lotte Mart and Vietnam’s second largest retailer Big C all have stores competing in a 4 km (2.5 mile) radius.

E-Mart and Lotte Mart are competing for dominance in the young Vietnamese market, where over 50% of the population of 93 million is less than 30 years old. The large market industry is also undeveloped in Vietnam, with 75 percent of shopping being done at traditional markets.

This potential attracts big retailers like E-Mart and Lotte Mart. Go Vap is particularly attractive because its residents are middle class, well-earning couples.

Lotte Mart established itself in Vietnam in 2008 and has 12 stores, which is the third highest in Vietnam for a retailer. E-Mart leapt into the Vietnamese market last December with its store in Go Vap and it is planning to expand its operations.

The E-Mart store in Go Vap is no different from the ones in Korea, with iconic yellow shopping carts and plenty of No Brand products (modeled after the Japanese company Muji). E-Mart’s membership card even has the phrase “Korea’s No.1 Mart.”

The Korean lifestyle theme is felt in the food available in the area, with Starbucks and Korean pork belly, or samgyeopsal, restaurants in the store.

On the other hand, the Lotte Mart store in Go Vap, located only three kilometers from its rival E-Mart, has a Vietnamese feel. The store is filled with a thousand types of Vietnam Choice L products, which are developed and produced in Vietnam.

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