Saigon Co.op supermarket system in HCM City (Source: VNA)
Experts said the service sector significantly contributed to the economic growth of the nation and HCM City in particular, adding that wholesale and retail trade is now the largest part of the service sector.
According to Deputy Director of the department Nguyen Phuong Dong, the trade and service field is a dynamic and high growth sector, making up 63.2% of the city's GRDP, with annual average growth of 8.15%.
The city’s retail sector has been developing in the trend of developing countries in the region and across the world, he said.
Vietnam’s retail market has considerable potential, with the rate of modern retail distribution channels making up only 25% of the total retail sales, and most supermarkets and trade centres are concentrated in big cities.
It is forecasted that by 2020, the rate of modern retail channels will increase to 45 percent. The country will have about 1,200 - 1,300 supermarkets, while the number of trade centres will also increase to more than 300 and there could be tens of thousands of convenience stores.
Representatives from the Saigon Union of Trading Co-operatives (SAIGON CO.OP) underlined the need to promote the development of modern retail sector by using modern technologies and e-commerce.
They said State agencies should pay attention to issues related to laws on market opening and investment commitments and support the domestic retail sector in the context that measures to protect domestic retailers from foreign investors are being reduced due to free trade agreements.
Domestic retailers should be also supported in accessing preferential capital and renting land, which will help them better compete with foreign firms.
HCM City can attract investment from Hong Kong (China) and China as the countries are seeking to move their trade centres to neighbouring areas due to the ongoing US-China trade war.
Nguyen Phuc Khoa, Deputy General Director of Sai Gon Trading Company Limited (Satra), highlighted the importance of making the modern retail sector a key product of HCM City.
He also stressed the need to foster development of logistics supply chain for the sector as it is one of the biggest magnets to foreign investment, which contributes to creating differences in trade activities of the city.
There are currently 3,000 businesses capable of providing full logistics services and hundreds of thousands of others providing part of this kind of services, he said.
Participants suggested municipal authorities increase investment to build logistics centres, noting that this will help the city improve its competitiveness.