Muji, the Japanese household products and apparel chain retailer, opened its first Vietnam store in Ho Chi Minh City on November 26.
Located in the city’s downtown commercial complex – Parkson Saigontourist Plaza Shopping Center, the 2.000 sq.m store is also the biggest outlet of Muji in Southeast Asia.
It is expected to become a new place for daily essentials shopping, said Tetsuya Nagaiwa, CEO of Muji Vietnam.
With more than 5,000 items, ranging from household utensils to cosmetics and food, Muji is capable of delivering more than just products. It’s a new living lifestyle that many people are longing for.
The CEO said Vietnam is among the most potential retail markets in the world, with a stable, growing economy, young population, and increased per capita income and living standards.
Ryohin Keikaku, the retailer’s parent company, had said last year that it would establish its subsidiary, Muji Vietnam, as a 100 percent foreign-owned company headquartered in HCM City.
Muji is internationally known for its wide range of homeware and consumer products at affordable prices ranging from furniture to clothing and even cosmetics. It has over 900 stores around the world, including 454 in Japan.
Japanese firms opt for Vietnam
Among 30 Japanese companies that were selected to be subsidized to increase production in Southeast Asia, 15 have chosen Vietnam to establish or expand their business, and this is proof that Japanese companies are paying increasing interest in doing businesses in Vietnam, according to VnExpress.
Several Japanese retail companies like Uniqlo and Muji are seeking to expand their operations in Vietnam. Japan’s largest cosmetic and pharmaceutical store chain Matsumoto Kiyoshi established its first outlet in Ho Chi Minh City last month.
Japan’s largest retail chain AEON also considers Vietnam a key market and plans to have 25 malls in the country by 2025 with an investment of up to $2 billion.
Nishitohge Yasuo, CEO of AEON Vietnam, said that Vietnam’s advantages are a high GDP growth and a large population (up to 100 million by 2025) with rising income.
The country’s ratio of modern retail sales area per capita is lower than other countries, he added.
Other industry insiders say Vietnam’s young labor population is another perk as this year marks the 11th consecutive year that Japanese population has decreased.
Furthermore, data from Goldman Sachs shows that Vietnam has competitive labor costs with the minimum wage in Hanoi and HCMC at $190 per month compared to $360 in China’s Shanghai.
The several free trade agreements that Vietnam has signed can also help it avoid the impacts of rising protectionism around the world, thereby making it a safe haven for multinational manufacturers. Its shared border with China is also an advantage.
These factors are why Japanese companies have been increasing their presence in Vietnam. The East Asian giant had 4,600 active direct investment projects in Vietnam as of September with a total registered capital of nearly $60 billion, ranking second behind the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)./.
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