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TCC recently became the biggest shareholder in Big C Thailand with a 97.94 per cent stake, after acquiring Groupe Casino’s 58.6 per cent majority stake in February and buying CP Group’s 25 per cent in May. Big C is a major food retailer and trader of commercial real estate in Thailand, with a network of more than 700 sales points, 125 of which are hypermarkets.
On the other hand, Mega Market Vietnam (the official name of Metro Cash & Carry Vietnam starting from this July), where TCC holds 100 per cent, now has 19 wholesale supermarkets throughout the country, a vegetable and fruits distribution centre in Lam Dong, and a fish distribution centre in Can Tho, as well as two office supplies distribution centres in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
In July, TCC brought 100 tonnes of Vietnamese dragon fruit to sell at its Big C Thailand stores. The company said it would continue to export dragon fruit to Thailand at 100 tonnes per month. At the moment, TCC is looking for suppliers of other fruits, such as avocado, King orange, cainito, and sweet potato. Besides, Vietnamese frozen catfish and Da Lat flowers will also appear on Big C Thailand’s store shelves in the near future.
Speaking with VIR recently, TCC chairman Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi said that the company is excited to cooperate with Vietnamese producers to increase exports to Thailand through TCC.
He added that another TCC subsidiary, the Japanese restaurant chain Oishi, is looking for Vietnamese restaurants to bring to Thailand. Moreover, Mega Market is considering opening wholesale centres in Thailand.
Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi said that Vietnam is a special focus for the company. “We went to Vietnam in 1995 and survived the 1997 crisis without giving up. As of now, with our expansion plans having ripened for the past few years, we believe in our decisions and the growth of the Vietnamese market,” he said.
Earlier many Vietnamese suppliers have raised concerns that Vietnamese goods will have trouble penetrating a Thai-owned distribution channel such as Mega Market right in their home playfield. Regarding these concerns, the chairman said that sourcing locally is beneficial in terms of quality and price, while importing incurs high costs on preservation.
“Moreover, Mega Market is a wholesale channel and has a low profit margin. If we import a lot, the logistics price is going to be high, pushing this profit margin further down. We are only going to import products that Vietnam does not already have,” he said.
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