The trend to upgrade or replace traditional markets with supermarkets in
Vietnam 's urban areas was not necessarily a good one for shoppers
According to statistics from Ministry
of Industry and Trade's Domestic Market Department, there are more than
8,500 traditional markets, 600 supermarkets and about 102 shopping
Traditional markets and vendors
meet 95 percent of domestic demand for food and other necessities.
Supermarkets and shopping centres cater to other customers, often
Official surveys and public polls prove
that traditional markets can survive the toughest competition with other
A researcher from the ministry's Trade
Research Institute, Hoang Xuan Tho, said that traditional markets had
the major advantage of being able to offer a big range of fresh foods at
the cheapest prices - and support local farmers as well. "These markets
play an important role in supplying necessities for poor customers," he
Meanwhile, vice director of Hanoi's Industry
and Trade Department, Nguyen Van Dong, said that when markets are turned
into supermarkets or shopping centres, the cost for premises increased,
posing difficulty for small traders - who often have to push up the
prices of their goods.
Moreover, trends prove that
customers prefer buy food in traditional or street markets than in
shopping centres, leading to a waste in investment.
In Hanoi alone, there are 411 traditional markets, including three
wholesale ones. On average, each local district and town has 14 markets
and each market serves about 15,200 residents.
major markets have been replaced with shopping centres such as Cua Nam
, O Cho Dua and Hang Da. However, these new centres are reported to
have failed to lure customers.
from HealthBridge, a Canadian non-profit organisation, said that the
trends in Vietnam and developing countries are to move away from
traditional markets towards supermarkets.
she said, the shift can change the access and availability of food
supply and impact the economy, environment, health and culture. For
example, she said supermarkets are an easy entrance into a foreign
market for large international food companies.
Supermarkets, especially when they first introduce, focus on processed,
dry, and packaged foods because they enable economies of scale and have
long shelf lives. "This means more food is imported, creating fewer
employment opportunities for local farmers who produce local fruits and
vegetables, decreasing opportunities for the urban poor to make an
income," she said.
Moreover, fresh markets were
important assets playing a key role in the identity of neighbourhoods,
she said, adding that closing them can cause a loss in the sense of
community and culture. She noted that traditional markets make many
Asian cities, including Hanoi , unique.
Researcher Tho said that instead of replacing traditional markets, urban
authorities should develop them and make sure they are in convenient
locations for shopping. He backed a ministry plan that the Government
should even offer incentives for people to build them.-VNA