E-Mart, a leading retailer in the Republic of Korea (RoK), has officially set foot in the Vietnamese market with a joint venture contract with the Binh Duong-based U&I Group to set up a supermarket chain with a total investment of over 1 billion USD.

The event shows that the Vietnamese retail market is still attractive to foreign investors although the country’s ranking in the attraction of the retail market by A.T. Kearney Consultancy Group dropped nine places compared to last year.

According to Mai Huu Tin, Chairman of the U&I Group, the E-Mart Vietnam supermarket chain has an initial investment of 80 million USD with 80 percent coming from E-Mart.

The joint venture will kick off its first project in 2012 and its chain of 52 supermarkets and shops in big urban areas is expected to be completed in 2020, providing fresh food and agro-seafood products for the Vietnamese market.

Earlier, the Phu Thai Group and Japanese retailer Family Mart joined hands to open a Family Mart Vietnam chain. Meanwhile, the UK ’s largest retail group - Tesco is considering the possibility of investment in Vietnam in an effort to expand its presence to 15 countries worldwide.

Many foreign retailers operating in Vietnam also announced their expansion plans.

France ’s Casino Group - the owner of the Big C supermarket system set a target of opening 15 more supermarkets between now and 2013, raising the number of Big C supermarkets in Vietnam to 29. Big C expects to recruit 1,300 managers to serve this plan.

According to Dinh Thi My Loan, Vice President and General Secretary of the Vietnam Retailers’ Association, foreign retailers have seen good developments in Vietnam and this trend will continue in the coming time, especially for EU retailers when the Free Trade Agreement between Vietnam and the EU is signed./.