South Korea's top discount retailer E-Mart will set up a US$80 million joint venture with Vietnamese firm U&I to open 50 outlets in Vietnam's largest cities in the next 20 years.
The Korean company will contribute 80 percent of the capital for the venture whose investments will be gradually increased to more than $1 billion.
Mai Huu Tin, chairman of U&I, told the Saigon Times news website that the outlets can be convenient stores, supermarkers or large distibution centers, depending on store locations. The first outlet will be opened in Hanoi next year, he said.
Tin said E-Mart Vietnam will focus on selling fresh seafood and agricultural products. The joint venture will take advantage of the ongoing downturn of the real estate market to choose good locations for future expansion, he added.
The joint venture, pending approval, will make E-Mart the second Korean company to invest in Vietnam's retail market, after Lotte Mart.
A.T. Kearney said in a report last month that Vietnam was an attractive retail market with its growing population. The firm estimates that Vietnam's market size will expand to US$113 billion by 2012.