For the first time, the UAE’s ADIA investment fund poured capital into the Vietnamese market, with The CrownX -- a unique multi-consumer and retail platform -- being the maiden recipient.
Reputation of public investment funds from Middle East
In recent years, the UAE’s sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) have developed rapidly in quantity, size, and level of expertise around the world.
According to the ranking of SWFs by the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute (SWFI), four of the top 10 sovereign wealth funds in the world from the Middle East include Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).
With their growing size, SWFs in the Arab region are playing an increasingly important role in the global financial system.
The Middle East is considered a large and potential market, not only in terms of oil and gas but also in financial resources, science, and technology with the world’s largest and most reputable public investment funds.
Middle Eastern enterprises have regarded Vietnam as an emerging, potential, fast-growing, and stable economy.
|ADIA is a globally diversified investment institution that prudently invests funds on behalf of the Government of Abu Dhabi. Photo: Reuters|
In a market of nearly 100 million people, Vietnam’s middle-income earners account for 15 percent of the population and are growing rapidly, creating an attractive retail market that is ranked sixth globally.
Before investing in Masan, in June 2020, the ADIA poured US$750 million into Indian telecom giant Jio Platforms and injected capital in joint ventures between Reliance Retail and Jio Platforms. These are all consumer-retail platforms using technology.
Reliance Retail has continuously made mergers and acquisitions, such as online pharmacy Netmeds, furniture brand Urban Ladder, online grocery store MilkBasket, and high fashion brand Ritu Kumar.
These M&A deals have helped Reliance Retail promote the integration of traditional retail and e-commerce.
The model of Masan’s The CrownX has a lot in common with Reliance Retail and its alliances, thereby attracting great attention from the ADIA.
The investment of the ADIA and a group of other investors in The CrownX this time is the first but most likely not their only funding in Masan.
Appeal of consumer-tech ecosystem
Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing consumer markets globally, according to Hamad Shahwan Al Dhaheri, ADIA’s executive director of the private equity department.
In the Southeast Asian country, The CrownX is an excellent consumer platform, reflected in its outstanding results and experienced management team, possessing all the necessary elements to build a local integrated omni-channel consumer ecosystem, Al Dhaheri assessed.
The executive director said that the cooperation with The CrownX affirms the ADIA’s global strategy together with leading partners such as Masan Group and other shareholders at The CrownX.
|Masan's mini-mall is a unique integrated offline-to-online format, offering a broad array of daily, essential products and services.|
The agreement also demonstrates the ADIA’s growing interest in the Southeast Asian market and underscores its confidence in Vietnam’s strong economic foundations.
Masan is gradually building a solid basis for its 'Point of Life' strategy, bringing an experiential ecosystem that serves the essential needs of finance, education, society, entertainment, and healthcare to consumers.
With this methodical and potential strategy, Masan has become the focus of investments, besides being the most mentioned name in the financial market with a series of large M&A deals in Vietnam.
After a series of deals, including spending $15 million buying 20 percent of coffee and tea chain Phuc Long in May and its foray into the telecommunications field with an investment of $13 million to acquire a 70-percent stake in Mobicast -- which owns the Reddi mobile network -- in September, Masan continuously opened multi-experience mini-mall stores, aiming to integrate more digital services from Mobicast.
“This marks the end of our capital raising activities at The CrownX as we shift our entire focus to scale up our Point of Life platform nationwide both off and online,” Masan Group’s CEO Danny Le said.
“We look forward to a 2023-2024 international IPO of The CrownX with 3 simple KPIs: i) increasing our share of the consumer wallet by expanding our network, ii) digitizing our entire platform to become a consumer tech company, and iii) double-digit profit margins.”
A pioneer in creating a multi-utility and multi-experience consumer retail model, with a clear road map and a clear overall picture, The CrownX has been a ‘magnet’ attracting foreign capital flows not only from the Middle East but also from many other countries.