Thai investors scaling up presence with raft of activities

Thai investors are banking on the promising future of the Vietnamese market, with several large conglomerates further increasing their foothold in the country.

Thai investors, vietnamese market, SCG, CP Vietnam, Thai investors, Vietnamese market, SCG, C.P. Vietnam
Thai investors scaling up presence with raft of activities(source: cafef.vn)

Central Retail Corporation on April 3 announced its 5-year plan for an investment of approximately $1.1 billion for the Vietnamese market. The move is part of its broader strategy to secure a stronger footprint in the country.

Philippe Broianigo, CEO of Central Retail Corporation said, “The corporation has set up the roadmap with key focus to expand multi-concept penetration in all clusters across city, suburban, and rural areas. Thus, we will revamp brands in the food category for better synergy and enhanced customer experience and build brands for our non-food section, as well as develop our omnichannel presence.”

In 2020, Central Retail opened four GO! malls in Tra Vinh, Quang Ngai, Buon Ma Thuot, and Ben Tre, and rebranded Big C to GO! and added five more branches, while opening the first branch of its GO! supermarket in Tam Ky in the central province of Quang Nam to target rural customers.

In 2021, Central Retail continues its endeavour and plans to open four GO! malls in Thai Nguyen, Ba Ria, Thai Binh, and Lao Cai provinces. For its food segment, the corporation will four GO! hypermarkets, one GO! mini market, and rebrand 15 Big C stores to eight GO! hypermarkets and seven Tops Markets, as well as further diversify its non-food category.

Central Retail welcomes an average of 175,000 customers per day at 37 malls and over 230 stores, with a total area of one million square metres across 39 cities and provinces. The long-term plan is to expand to covering 55 cities and provinces nationwide within five years and provide comprehensive services.

Meanwhile, SCG, one of Thailand’s top industrial companies, is upbeat about the bright outlook for the Southeast Asian market, particularly Vietnam. SCG CEO Roongrote Rangsiyopash said in an interview with Nikkei Asia that some Asian countries have fought COVID-19 well.

“So my expectation is that the growth of ASEAN markets, for example Vietnam, will continue to be better than the Thai market. There’s a trend of localised production within the region. That’s the strategy we are seeing within this region that we will focus on. For the next few years, I foresee that Vietnam will be our top priority,” he said.

“We have several projects ongoing, like a petrochemicals complex in southern Vietnam. Once the Vietnamese plant comes online, we anticipate that revenue from Southeast Asia excluding Thailand will rise to 35 per cent from the current 26 per cent,” Rangsiyopash added.

After 25 years of operation in Vietnam, SCG has 21 local subsidiaries in packaging, chemicals, and cement and other building materials. During the global health crisis, SCG still stepped up its expansion in Vietnam by acquiring Bien Hoa Packaging in 2020 and Duy Tan Plastic in 2021.

Other Thai investors also continue their steadfast expansion in the country. Last December, WHA Industrial Development Plc. announced the signing of an MoU with Thanh Hoa People’s Committee for the development of two industrial zones (IZs) in the province. The first project, WHA Smart Technology IZ Thanh Hoa, will represent a gross area of approximately 600 hectares, plus an additional residential area of 30 to 50ha. The second, WHA Northern IZ Thanh Hoa at 540ha, will target downstream industries including plastics, rubber, chemicals, and bio-chemical products. Both constructions are expected to commence in 2023 and 2022, respectively.

Also in the same month, C.P. Vietnam opened an export-only poultry complex in the southern province of Binh Phuoc, which is the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia. C.P. Vietnam invested $250 million in this project to raise the standards of livestock production in Vietnam, paving the way for the country to be a world-class food producer. The complex can produce and process up to 50 million chicken per year in the first phase (2019-2023) and 100 million chicken per year, in the second phase.

The ongoing investment of Thai investors reflects the attractiveness of the Vietnamese market. According to statistics by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Thailand is currently ninth-largest investment partner of Vietnam with 607 foreign-invested projects worth nearly $13 billion. It is expected that investment flows from Thailand to Vietnam will further increase.

Speaking at the conference Golden Opportunity for Thai investors in Vietnam held in January, Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thailand-Vietnam Business Council, highlighted key reasons for Thai investors to scale up presence in Vietnam, including political stability, successful containment of the pandemic, a high-quality workforce, favourable investment incentives, and a lucrative local market with large purchasing power.

By Van Oanh

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