The retail market of Binh Duong province has become a magnet for foreign direct investment (FDI), as seen in the boom of supermarket and trade centres invested by overseas firms in the southern province.

In mid-November, Lotte Group, one of the leading retailers in the Republic of Korea, opened a shopping centre at The Seasons Urban Area, Lai Thieu ward, Thuan An town.

Built on a 21,300 sq.m land lot, the 30 million USD Lotte Mart Binh Duong also provides restaurant and entertainment services, an ice skating rink and a cinema besides shops and supermarkets.

Earlier, in late March, the Big C Di An supermarket and the Green Square Trade Centre became operational in Dong Hoa ward, Di An town after one year of construction.

In October last year, the Big C Binh Duong supermarket opened in Hiep Thanh ward, Thu Dau Mot city.

According to statistics from the provincial People’s Committee, 43 percent of newly-registered FDI in Binh Duong (about 500 million USD) this year is not poured into industrial zones but trade centres.

The Japanese retailer Aeon was licensed to build a trade centre near the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park I (VSIP I) in Thuan An town in March this year. The project has a total investment of up to 95 million USD and covers an area of six hectares.

The trade centre is expected to open in October next year, offering not only made-in-Vietnam products but also Japanese brands for the first time, said Oyama Nagahisa, Aeon Group’s Vice President and CEO of Southeast Asia business.

In addition, work on the 500 billion VND (23.8 million USD) Prince Town Trade Complex will begin soon, said the project’s investor, adding that this is a multi-function complex comprising restaurants, hotels, banks, supermarkets and recreational centres.

According to Le Viet Dung, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, with the appearance of a number of big faces, Binh Duong’s retail market has seen strong growth in recent times.

Experts said Binh Duong’s population of over 1.7 million, more than 17,000 domestic and foreign businesses operating in the province, and its annual revenues from retail sales and services totaling 90 trillion VND (4.3 billion USD) are factors prompting investors to come to the province.

Binh Duong is now home to eight supermarkets and seven trade centres. Under its supermarket and trade centre development plan, the province will have 17 supermarkets and 20 trade centres by 2015 and the respective figures for 2020 will be 24 and 37.

Since Vietnam joined the World Trade Organisation, the local retail sector has seen rapid development.

With 1,500 trillion VND (71.4 billion USD) in revenues from retail sales and services in the first seven months of 2013, a year-on-year increase of 12 percent, the Vietnamese retail market remains an attractive and potential destination for investors.

The country strives to have up to 1,300 supermarkets and 180 trade centres by 2020.-VNA