AEON MALL Vietnam promises to grow with local communities

08:00 | 12/04/2018
Japanese giant shopping mall developer AEON MALL Vietnam last month held the ground-breaking ceremony of AEON MALL Hadong. Yasutsugu Iwamura, general director of AEON MALL Vietnam, told VIR's Phuong Thu about the new mall’s role in the corporation’s plans by 2025 and its long-term vision for the Vietnamese market.
aeon mall vietnam promises to grow with local communities
One of AEON MALL subsidiaries in Vietnam

AEON MALL is operating four malls in Vietnam. What do you expect from new AEON MALL Hadong?

Since our establishment, we are still only at the beginning stage. With AEON MALL Hadong, we enter the growth stage of operations. This is one of the projects we will focus on in this stage.

aeon mall vietnam promises to grow with local communities
Yasutsugu Iwamura, general director of AEON Mall Vietnam

This is the 5th mall of AEON MALL in Vietnam and the 2nd in Hanoi after AEON MALL Long Bien opened in 2015. AEON MALL Hadong is an important project to boost our presence in Vietnam. We are committed to bringing our expertise, experience, and passion to contribute to the local community and grow hand-in-hand with the locality. AEON MALL Hadong carries the same mission as our existing malls. It was designed as a place full of fun and excitement to enhance the enjoyment of life for everyone.

AEON MALL always respects traditional community, thus AEON MALL Hadong has the concept of “Knitting Hadong's future.”

Traditional silk weaving is very popular in Hadong district. The mall will celebrate this unique local custom, and with the concept of “Knitting Hadong’s future,” it will offer the latest fashion and a new, fulfilling lifestyle to locals, hoping to become the No. 1 mall in the district.

AEON MALL Vietnam announced that it targets to have 20 malls across the country by 2025. As the deadline is already looming, do you think this goal is feasible? Besides, are there any barriers keeping you from meeting the target?

To reach our target, we have to open two malls each year, which is difficult as site space is lacking. Thus, we are looking for reliable local partners to introduce new site space to us. Surely, we cannot reach this goal alone. We are also making use of our experience in developing shopping malls to harmonise traditional values with modern lifestyle to preserve national identity.

Our philosophy of putting the customer first and bringing both tangible and intangible values has guided our continuing efforts to create malls that enhance the quality of life for local people, stimulate local economic activity, and contribute to community life and culture.

In the coming time we are also thinking of smaller space instead of the 9-10 hectare model as such large spaces are unavailable in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. We set the target and are looking for suitable space. Thus, there are two important points, which are finding reliable partners and good prospects.

Whether this is feasible or not, we are trying our best as challenges are what make life interesting.

How would you arrange the locations of your malls across Vietnam by 2025?

This is a difficult question to answer. In general, we are thinking of a three-pronged approach, dividing the market into northern, central, and southern regions. Each region will have a main centre and satellite malls. If possible, we would like to have 10 malls in the southern area, seven malls in the north and four malls in Central Vietnam.

It will take about 2-3 hours to reach these expected malls from the city centre. However, it needs to be clarified that this travel time is not time at present, but time when the malls are open and the infrastructure system is improved.

As you said, finding partners is one of the key steps to successfully carry out your plan in Vietnam. How are you doing in this area? Except for BIM Group that you are cooperating with for AEON MALL Hadong, are there any real estate developers that you are going to cooperate with?

For instance, we are cooperating with Viet Phat Import Export Trading Investment JSC in Haiphong for our upcoming mall. We are looking for partners that understand local customers’ habits. From my view and experience in Vietnam, there are great differences among the regions.

We are willing to cooperate with potential partners if we can find opportunities in the coming time.

AEON MALL is different from others because we build the malls and operate them for over 30 years. Thus, “pursuing peace, respecting humanity, and contributing to local communities while focusing on the customer” is the base of our activities, and this philosophy has never changed since our establishment. We are always creating new values for customers and the local community.

Is this the philosophy behind AEON MALL’s success, as many others are forced to withdraw due to competition?

Actually, our malls take a slightly different approach than others. AEON MALLs are all about accessibility and safety. In the next three years, trends, stores, and customer demand may change, but our malls are built to adapt. We have a long-term vision.

Calling ourselves a Life Design Developer, we are creating a life for future by developing a unique shopping mall model with a focus on the localisation of middle-class population expansion, to not only innovate customer shopping experience, but also create an open environment for connecting people, fostering local culture and enhancing life quality by providing a variety of lifestyle functions.

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