A HCM City foreign investment management agency said Japan's leading retailer Aeon Co Ltd was seeking approval to invest in the local retail market.

Aeon is expected to build a shopping mall at a cost of more than $100 million in Tan Phu District.

Local retailers said Aeon would be a powerful rival because of its experience and deep pockets.

Though it has yet to get a license, Aeon has been training personnel with an eye on beginning operations in 2014.

Japan's Nikkei newspaper reported that Aeon had tied up with the HCM City-based University of Social Sciences and Humanities for personnel training and recruitment.

Hong Kong's Dairy Farm International Holdings has got a license to begin operations in the country next month.

Dairy Farm will open an outlet of Giant, its supermarket chain, at the Crescent Mall centre in Phu My Hung, District 7.

In 2007 a subsidiary of Dairy Farm, Giant South Asia Vietnam, entered Vietnam with its Wellcome supermarket chain.

E-Mart, one of the largest retailers in South Korea, has joined hands with the Binh Duong-based U&I Group to open a supermarket chain in Vietnam.

E-Mart will hold an 80 percent stake in the E-Mart Vietnam joint venture, which will invest $1 billion to open 52 supermarkets and stores in urban areas around the country.

Some foreign retailers who are already in the country are eyeing expansion.

Korea's Lotte Mart said it had received the government's green light to hike its investment to $50 million.

In 2008 it tied up with Minh Van Co for a $15 million joint venture in which it held 80 percent to open two supermarkets in HCM City.

Germany's Metro Cash&Carry has expanded its network with two new outlets set up at a cost of $33 million in Ha Long and Vinh cities in the north last month and plans to open one more this year.

Tuoi Tre - October 5, 2011