My Facebook newsfeed for the last month has been filled with dozens of selfies taken by Vietnamese models at Saigon Centre.
Usually the excitement about a new shopping outlet passes away in a few days. But the buzz about this place has stuck around.
Why has another giant air conditioned mall in Ho Chi Minh City been so fortunate to dominate media headlines for an entire month? What’s so special about it?
After a bit of digging around, we found there to be one significant differentiator: 29 foreign brands are making their debut in Vietnam at Saigon Centre. The press release also makes sure to mention that 12 of them are “top Japanese brands.”
Vietnam’s consumer spending habits is about to get its first real test with the surge of premium foreign brands.
For those that didn’t see the news: Saigon Centre is a new real estate development that sits at the heart of Le Loi Boulevard in Ho Chi Minh City. Conceptualized by Singaporean firm Keppel Land, the anchor tenant is Takashimaya, a premium Japanese department store. Takashimaya is a member of a major Japanese keirutsu, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFJ).
While Japanese public relations in Vietnam is highlighted by the country’s investment into Ho Chi Minh City’s multi-billion dollar metro development, we believe for the next few years Japan’s most recognizable import into Vietnam will be the new Takashimaya department store.
The bright red logo sits prominently at the center of a major Ho Chi Minh City boulevard. It’s located right outside the entrance of the city’s future central metro station, a daily visual reminder to thousands of commuters. It’s unmistakable Japanese name reminds shoppers of the quality more Vietnamese are looking for. And now, it’s all within walking distance.
More importantly, as the first country outside of Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore to currently host a Takashimaya, it signals a turning point in Vietnamese consumerism and investment appetite.
But does the local population in Vietnam really have enough appetite for such premium tastes?
Stay tuned on Vietcetera. We’ll be talking with business owners, entrepreneurs, and industry insiders in the next few weeks to learn what they’re thinking about Vietnam’s future in premium retail, foreign investment, and what the local and foreign population are buying in Vietnam today.