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Vietnam’s Vingroup divests retail business to focus on cars, smartphones

Sunday, December 22, 2019, 11:34 GMT+7
Vietnam’s Vingroup divests retail business to focus on cars, smartphones
Vingroup will shutter VinPro before 2020. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup has announcecd its entire exit from the retail business in order to reserve resources for industry and technology, including carmaking and smartphone production.

Vingroup said in a statement on Wednesday that the ecommerce site Adayroi.com would be merged into VinID, a super app providing fintech and digital marketing services, while its electronic store chain VinPro would be dissolved.

The merger and dissolution will be complete in December, the group added.

The merger between Adayroi.com and VinID not only digitalizes customer behavior but also creates a new platform in which customers are placed at the center, said Nguyen Viet Quang, CEO of Vingroup.

Customers shop at a VinPro outlet in this supplied photo.

Customers shop at a VinPro outlet in this supplied photo.

Vingroup had announced the transfer of its VinMart+ convenience stores, VinMart supermarkets, and VinEco farms to local retail giant Masan on December 3.

These are the initial steps in Vingroup’s “austerity policy,” restructuring or disbanding subsidiaries that are not its core business, CEO Quang said.

All-in

Adayroi.com started operating in August 2014, while VinPro stores were debuted in March 2015.

The shutdown of VinPro came as a surprise because last year Vingroup completed buying Vien Thong A, an electronic store chain with over 200 outlets.  

In early December this year, Vien Thong An’s website and Facebook Page were just renamed VinPro.

A VinPro representative said its closure was indicative of Vingroup's shift in strategy, as the conglomerate, with portfolios ranging from real estate, healthcare, and hospitality to education and cartoon making, has been channeling all its rescources into carmaking arm VinFast and smartphone business VinSmart.   

VinSmart's smartphone models are seen in this supplied photo.

VinSmart's smartphone models are seen in this supplied photo.

Founded in 2017, VinFast produces cars and electric scooters. The company started delivering automobiles to customers earlier this year.

VinSmart Research and Manufacturer Joint Stock Company was established in June 2018 to create “electronic products, smart technology certified with global quality, while applying artificial intelligence (AI) and connecting all devices” on IoT platforms, Vingroup said on its website.

The technology arm has rolled out some smartphone lines to the Vietnamese market so far.

Car dream

Vingroup’s chairman Pham Nhat Vuong, who is Vietnam’s richest, said in an interview Bloomberg published on December 10 that he wants to sell electric cars to the U.S. market.  

“Our ultimate goal is to create an international brand,” the 51-year-old magnate told Bloomberg.

VinFast will not make a profit in the five years ahead and selling vehicles abroad will help make it profitable, Vuong said in the interview.

VinFast cars are delivered to customers at its factory in Cat Hai District, Hai Phong, northern Vietnam, July 28, 2019. Photo: Tien Thang / Tuoi Tre

VinFast cars are delivered to customers at its factory in Cat Hai District, Hai Phong, northern Vietnam, July 28, 2019. Photo: Tien Thang / Tuoi Tre

The firm plans to ship electric cars to the U.S., Europe and Russia in 2021.

VinFast will, however, have to incur losses in the millions of dollars in the next few years, the chairman admitted.

“It will be a very difficult road and we will have to put in a lot of effort,” Vuong said.

“But there’s only one road ahead.”

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