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Vietnam becomes Japan’s fifth-largest consumer market

Saturday, April 17, 2021, 10:40 GMT+7
Vietnam becomes Japan’s fifth-largest consumer market
People walk past a store of the Japanese retailer Kohnan Japan at a shopping center in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: N. Binh / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam has become Japan’s fifth-largest consumer market, with an average growth rate of 15-17 percent per year, according to the Japanese Ministry of Finance’s statistics.  

In 2020, the export turnover of agricultural, forestry, aquatic and food products from Japan to Vietnam reached 53.4 billion yen (US$490.5 million), marking an increase of 17 percent from 2019 and the highest figure ever.

The aforementioned turnover only came after those of Hong Kong, China, Singapore, South Korea and the United States.

Notably, the sales of such Japanese products for domestic consumption as ice cream, rice seasoning, natto beans, apple cider vinegar, and relaxation masks in 2020 went up by five percent despite the price hike from 2019.

Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, Hirai Shinji, chief representative of the Japan Trade Promotion Organization (JETRO) in Ho Chi Minh City, assessed that the positive sales growth of these products proved the Vietnamese market’s consumption potential.

However, the Japanese side still has to make its products more affordable to better meet the purchasing power in Vietnam, Hirai added.

The JETRO representative also attributed the 17 percent growth in Vietnam’s imports of Japanese goods to Japanese investors’ shift from manufacturing to retail in Vietnam.

While 40 out of every 100 Japanese investors tended to establish factories in Vietnam previously, Hirai said, only 20 of them still stick to this practice nowadays.

According to Hirai, the development of e-commerce in the Southeast Asian country played an important part in helping Japanese goods reach Vietnamese consumers.

Facing the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, JETRO has operated the online platform named Japan Street to facilitate the distribution of Japanese goods to Vietnam since the beginning of 2021.

More than 500 international and Vietnamese suppliers have registered for the platform to date.

With the warm reception of Japan Street, JETRO also has plans to go on with a new project named Japan Mall to expand the trading activities of Japanese products into Vietnam.

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