Officials in Can Tho City – the centre of the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam – are rapidly responding to Japanese retail giant AEON’s plans to build its first mall in the populous rice-growing region.
A document seen by The Asset shows that in an AEON Vietnam proposal, dated June 10, the vice chairman of the Can Tho administration – Dao Anh Dung – assigned the city’s Department of Planning and Investment to work with the Department of Construction and other relevant units to complete by July 4 a detailed report for the administration on the five potential locations proposed by the company for the admin.
According to official statistics, the Mekong Delta makes up 13% of Vietnam’s total area, but houses 18% of its population, 96 million people. However, the region is yet to host an AEON mall. And, with up to US$2 billion set aside for expansion across Vietnam, the Japanese retailer is keen to push south and set up malls in Can Tho, the largest city in region often described as the nation's rice bowl.
AEON Vietnam representatives reportedly met with Can Tho officials late this May to discuss AEON's plans. This was followed by a proposal examining five potential locations in downtown Can Tho. They are eyeing four to five hectares of land for the first outlet.
AEON, according to the proposal, has an investment vision of more than 30 years for Can Tho, one of Vietnam’s five cities managed by the central government; the others are Hanoi and Hai Phong in the north, Danang in the central region, and Ho Chi Minh City in the south. The capital investment for the Can Tho project has not been disclosed.
Entering Vietnam in 2013, AEON has put into operation five outlets – two malls in Hanoi, two in Ho Chi Minh City, and another in adjoining Binh Duong province.
AEON Mall Vietnam’s CEO Iwamura Yasutsugu said, during his meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc late this February, that the Japanese group's US$2 billion expansion plans envision raising the number of its malls in the country to 25 by 2025, meaning adding 20 more.
The group also aims to raise the export turnover of Vietnamese goods to its malls in other countries to US$500 million this year and US$1 billion by 2025, he added.
The sixth AEON mall in Vietnam, with US$180 million already announced as investment capital and located in the central government-managed city of Hai Phong, will start operations later this year.