Saturday, June 08, 2013

McDonald’s is coming to Vietnam

McDonald’s plans to open restaurants in Vietnam, with the first to open in Ho Chi Minh City "in the next two years".

McDonald’s senior officials have visited Vietnam to talk to prospective franchisees and planning is now under way for the first stores. The real opening time is likely to be far less than two years, depending on McDonald's ability to ensure a reliable and secure supply chain of fresh ingredients and complete its complex training program of franchisees and then staff.

The American fastfood chain - a notable absence in the market which is dominated by KFC, Pizza Hut and Korea's Lotte-owned Lotteria - plans to open two outlets in Ho Chi Minh before expanding to Hanoi.

Long term it plans 100 outlets, according to the unidentified official.

McDonald’s has 33,500 outlets worldwide in 119 countries but has been slow to target Vietnam, which has mystified rivals and observers given Vietnamese population's rapid acceptance of fast food.

Meanwhile, fellow US chain Burger King is about to start an aggressive rollout in the major cities after trialling stores at airport terminals in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi for more than six months.

Billboards have appeared in downtown Ho Chi Minh City during the last week proclaiming "Burger King comes to town", citing an October launch. Stores are planned in 11 districts of Ho Chi Minh City and six in Hanoi, along with the provincial centres of Da Nang and Hoi An.

McDonald’s other local rival would be Filipino fastfood chain Jollibee which now has 31 outlets in Vietnam and competes at a lower price point.

Coffee giant Starbucks* and fastfood chain Johnny Rockets are also on track to make their debut in Vietnam within months.

It has not all been plain sailing for foreign fast food brands in the fast-growing former communist state, however. US chain Popeyes closed its stores earlier this year, its local franchisee unable to build critical mass and adapt the menu to suit local tastes. 

Source Insideretail.Asia

From Vietnam Investment Review


* Actually Starbucks is already here. They opened their first store in HCMC a few months ago.

Of course, none of  this should be a surprise. KFC has been here for more than 16 years that I know of, along with many other foreign businesses. Viet Nam does not claim to be a closed communist state, like its detractors might like to suggest. 

From the very beginning, Ho Ch Minh himself actively sought open, friendly relations with the whole world - including the USA and the West - in a spirit of mutual respect for national sovereignty. 

Decades of war interrupted that. Then the US government chose to "close the door" and impose a 20-year economic embargo on the country, after losing the war and failing to impose its puppet government in Saigon. 

In the '80s, Viet Nam introduced its "Doi Moi" ("Renovation") policy. Following Marxist principles, the government recognized that the socialist planned economy was not working, for various logical reasons, and it was necessary to step back and fully develop the capitalist stage, before progressing on to socialism, then finally communism. 

So, officially, Viet Nam is currently in the stage of developing a "market-oriented socialism", and as a member of the WTO, it is integrated into the world economy. This means accepting the best (and some of the worst!) of both capitalism and socialism. Including McDonalds!

What the future holds for Viet Nam (and the rest of the planet Earth) is anyone's guess. For thousands of years, Viet Nam has embraced change, and selectively assimilated influences and ideas from everywhere, choosing what works for them, and rejecting what does not. 

All they ask is to be allowed the right to run their country in their way, free from foreign domination and control. The challenge for all countries is how to do that in the face of the enormous power, including the power to corrupt and destroy, of the global financial capitalist elites.


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