Mega plans for Mega Market

14:00 | 15/02/2019

Targeting Vietnam as an important market in Southeast Asia, MM Mega Market will continue eyeing ambitious development goals for 2019. Phidsanu Pongwatana, managing director of MM Mega Market Vietnam, talked with VIR’s Thanh Thu about the major milestones the company achieved last year and where it wants to be in the next 12 months.

mega plans for mega market
Phidsanu Pongwatana, managing director of MM Mega Market Vietnam

MM Mega Market had quite a ­vibrant year in 2018. What can you share about your most important achievements in Vietnam over the past year?

For the first time MM Mega Market (MM) officially exported Vietnamese produce to Thailand. Since the beginning of last year, we have been exporting four containers, or an equivalent of 100 tonnes a month, of staple agri-products, including dragon fruit, sweet potatoes, and various snacks.

After almost a year exporting Vietnamese produce to the 700-mall Big C system in Thailand, these products have now been much welcomed by Thai consumers, and that will be a key stepping stone for MM to push forward our exportation in the following year.

Last year, MM also put into operation our Ben Tre fruit platform, raising the total number of active food depots in Vietnam to four. This first fruit depot for MM works to achieve our important strategic goal of exporting Vietnamese fruit to Thailand, China, and some other markets in the region.

With the endless efforts we made in 2018, we were very proud that MM Mega Market Vietnam was awarded the Business for Farmers title by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) for what we did in agri-product imports and exports.

This is a much sought-after award presented by the MARD to honour businesses that make significant contributions and dedication to local rural development, and takes on a leadership role in agricultural restructuring in Vietnam over the past five years.

What’s your take on the retail market and consumer trends for the ­upcoming year?

I believe that the retail market in Vietnam has great potential for growth. Vietnam is one of the leading countries in terms of expansion of wealthy people in the world, just behind China and Bangladesh. Added to that, the increasing per capita income in Vietnam will also drive gross household spending up over time.

The fast ongoing urbanisation process in Vietnam will also help expand consumer markets further. These are ideal preconditions for retail markets to prosper.

We expect the local retail market of 2019 to be more competitive and consumers to be more demanding. I think that consumers will care more about food quality and safety, product look and designs, services, and convenience when they shop.

We know that MM would also try to export more Vietnamese produce to Thailand in 2019. What are the specifics of this?

After the first year of exporting Vietnamese agri-products to Big C in Thailand and getting positive feedback from the market, we have planned to double output in 2019, to about 200 tonnes a month.

In addition to the traditional exports from this year, MM will continue launching more new and high-value product lines, including frozen catfish, cuttlefish, milk fruit, and especially pomelo to Thailand and other markets.

What strategies does MM have in mind for the next year to grasp opportunities and better meet the needs of consumers?

This year, MM will still continue to focus on food quality and safety through our strategy of expanding and further growing our food platforms all over the country, so that we have complete control of the entire process, from the farm to the table.

To offer customers with the best services possible, MM will work tirelessly to further improve our service quality. Importantly, for 2019, we have planned a groundbreaking launch of new MM malls, most of them in the two major cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. This year will be the year MM speeds ahead in Vietnam.

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