Traditional markets in central areas, shopping malls in suburbs
Saigonese often advise travelers to go to central business districts if they want to find traditional markets, and to the suburbs for modern shopping malls.
A report of Savills Vietnam, a real estate service provider, showed that HCMC had 1.050 million square meters of retail premises by the end of the second quarter of 2016, up by 13 percent compared with the same period of last year.
However, central area is reserved for the traditional markets which have existed for 100 years such as Ben Thanh, Tan Dinh, Binh Tay and An Dong. Meanwhile, large shopping malls such as Aeon Mall, SC Vivo City and Lotte Mart can be found only in the suburbs.
The business central districts 1, 3, 5 and 10, for example, mostly gather traditional markets, small supermarkets and very few hypermarkets. In the suburban districts of Go Vap, Tan Binh and Binh Tan, more and more medium and large shopping malls have appeared.
Though Go Vap is not a central business district, Saigon Co-op, Big C, Vincom, Lotte Mart, E-mart and Auchan are all interested in the area.
Tan Binh and Tan Phu districts now see the race of Maximart, Lotte Mart and Big C with Aeon Mall Tan Phu Celadon.
District 7 is the ‘playing field’ for Lotte Mart, SC Vivo City and Crescent Mall, while the districts in the eastern part of the city such as 2, 9 and Thu Duc have Vincom, Parkson, Metro and Co-op Mart.
An analyst commented that there is a sharp contrast between Vietnam’s HCMC and Thailand’s Bangkok. The central area of Bangkok gathers vast shopping malls attracting millions of visitors a year.
This is the way that has helped Bangkok successfully turn into a shopping center of the entire South East Asia.
Meanwhile, the central area of HCMC attracts people with traditional markets and three other addresses which gather millions of people a year – the Saigon Railway Station, the Saigon Port and Tan Son Nhat Airport.
Aeon, explaining why it has not set up a supermarket in the central business districts of HCMC, said its business strategy is to facilitate development and improve people's life in new urban areas.
However, even if retailers want to set up shopping malls in central business districts, it is nearly an impossible mission.
HCMC’s leaders have been repeatedly urged to re-plan the city’s development.
In fact, central business districts where the people’s income is higher than the average level are top choices for retailers.
Tri Thuc Tre