Four companies that run the biggest chains of convenience stores in Japan are considering plans to either expand or start their business in Vietnam, local media have reported, citing a Japanese business group.
The representatives of 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, Lawson and Ministop revealed their plans, as they were accompanying Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Motoo Hayashi to visit Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday, according to news website Saigon Times Online.
FamilyMart and Ministop, which are operating a total of 130 stores around the country, will open another 70 by the end of this year, it said.
7-Eleven is expected to launch its first store in Vietnam next year, while Lawson is studying the local market, the website reported.
Yasuzumi Hirotaka, chief of the Japan External Trade Organization's office in Ho Chi Minh City, was quoted as saying that convenience stores are a "very important" channel for medium and small Japanese businesses to sell their products in Vietnam.
Given that Japanese convenience stores operate like all-in-one shops, the businesses will bring not only consumer goods but potentially also financial and related services, he said.
When Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade bloc that Vietnam, Japan and another 10 countries, including Australia and the US, takes effect, bringing low or zero duties and simple import procedures, Japanese products and services will stand a better chance to enter Vietnam, one of the biggest and most potential retail markets in Southeast Asia, he said.
Vietnam's retail sales hit VND2,469 trillion (US$108.8 billion) last year, up 10.6 percent, according to official figures.