Thailand’s largest retailer Central Group says it plans to invest $500 million to expand its operations in Vietnam.
“We have already invested US$1.5 billion in Vietnam since 2012 and plan to invest another US$500 million in the next five years,” Philippe Broianigo, CEO of Central Group Vietnam and supermarket chain Big C Vietnam was quoted as saying by Thai newspaper The Nation.
Central Group wants to triple the number of its stores to 750.
One of the main reasons for the expansion is the rapid growth in Vietnam’s middle class, which now accounts for 13 percent and is expected to rise to 36 percent by 2026.
“Vietnam’s market potential is much bigger than Thailand’s,” the Nikkei Asian Review quoted Broianigo as saying.
He said his company would focus on developing non-food items.
“We are very strong in Vietnam in the food business, which is the primary need of consumers, but we are also preparing for the future, for the needs the consumers are going to have after food.”
He said he is happy to have entered the country in the early stages since there might be greater competition from local players in the near future.
Since coming to the country in 2011, Central Group Vietnam has bought out electronics retailer Nguyen Kim and Big C.
With 17,000 employees and over 175,000 customers a day, its sales have been growing in double digits, reaching US$1.3 billion last year.