John Yeomans, director of Deloitte Consulting South East Asia Co in Vietnam said that Vietnam officially opened the retail market door for foreign wholly invested companies in the year early when the global economic crisis broke out. At that time, multinational enterprises faced many difficulties in crisis and were forced to re-adjust capital policies and consider investments in other countries carefully.

Two foreign big companies eyed investment in Vietnam but due to the effects of world's economic crisis, they delayed the investment plans, John said. On another hand, investors also felt that investment procedures into Vietnam remained complex and difficult.

Without the entry of global well known retailers, Vietnamese market has not yet been attractive as for multinational companies because the people's incomes remained low despite the country opened the retail market door under WTO commitments, said Dinh Thi My Loan, general secretary of Vietnam Retailers Association.

Similarly, Phan The Rue, chair of the association while addressing the conference said that in the current economic context, multinational distribution companies always decided to invest in the country where they had surveyed market carefully. And usually, they did not enter a market alone. Multinational enterprises wanting to enter Vietnam will cooperate with local firms so they have to spend less time on negotiations.

Rue predicted that the multinational companies will enter Vietnam two years later (2012) if the global economic crisis will end in 2010.

The Vietnam's retail market was opened in 2007 and totally opened in 2009 pursuant to WTO committees. From the year early, no new retailer was licensed to do business in Vietnam while old retailers namely Big C, Metro and Lotte registered to expand network.

Many specialists confirmed that this year Vietnam will not have any foreign investor registering business and the retail market still is dominated by old retailers.

US market research company RNCOS released the report "Analysis on Vietnam's retail market from 2008 to 2012" saying that the market scope is much smaller than other Asian developing economies. In return, Vietnam now has basic factors for a strong growth with the estimated retail sales turnover of $23.7 billion in 2005 to $39 billion in 2008.

RNCOS confirmed the retail sales turnover could reach $85 billion in 2012 and the retail channel will play the major role in the industrial development in future.

The Saigon Economic Times - October 8, 2009