Group 1

Ben Thanh Market (Cho Ben Thanh) is a big marketplace in the downtown area of Ho Chi Minh City. Definitely a tourist spot, it is a landmark at the big roundabout where Le Loi, Tran Hung Dao and Ham Nghi meet. The central island of the roundabout, alive with bright yellow flowers, is a good vantage point from where to photograph the energetic market. It is also interesting to watch the traffic go by!
Ben Thanh supplies everything and more... From fresh vegetables to stationary and tools!All these stacked up one another to their limits, definitely an interesting site to look forward to.Sadly but for those who suffer claustrophobia it may be a bit daunting squeezing down narrow aisles past product displays and bustling patrons.
Vietnamese versions of western food halls are very informal. Small stools line the many stalls, most of them occupied by hungry locals. Food preparation occurs in the open right in front of you. It is therefore easy to decide on a tasty-looking dish. Pull over a stool and tuck in!
It sells local handicrafts, textiles, áo dài (Vietnamese national costume), and souvenirs, as well as local cuisine. It is comparable to Bugis Village (much smaller than Ben Thanh), although it is in an enclosed building.

Ben Thanh Market

Aerial View

Night View

Vietnamese Consumers' Behavior 
The online vietnamese show more signs of caution compared to before. Inflation is still a challenge for them as more than half (64%) of online Vietnamese consumers indicate now is not the time to buy the things they want/need given the cost of things today and their own personal finances. 88% of consumers claim that they have changed their spending to save on household expenses, compared to one year ago.  Online Vietnamese have taken the following top 5 measures to save on household expenses: save on gas and electricity (73%), save their spending on new clothes (70%), cut down on out-of-home-expenses (61%), delay replacement of major household items (52%), and lastly, cut down on telephone expenses (51%). 
The top 5 concerns of the Vietnamese (for the next 6 months from 19th July, 2011) are increasing food price, work/life balance, increasing fuel price, the economy, and increasing utility bills in a decreasing order respectively. This would affect their choice of spending and eventually affect the overall economy in Vietnam.

Retail Developments of Vietnam
Vietnam continued its dominance in the top 10 emerging global retail markets in 2008 - 2009 but dropped to the 12th position in 2010.
With an economic growth of 5.3% in 2009, Vietnam outperformed its neighbours and was able to recover faster during the economic recession. 

Vietnam’s membership in the World Trade Organization has led to a rapid growth in Vietnam’s retail market in the recent past and made the country an attractive destination for multinational retailers. Now, the country has about 400 supermarkets and 2,000 convenience stores, operated by both domestic and global companies.
The value of retail sales in Vietnam has expanded rapidly over the past few years and will continue to grow. They now has over a half million stores selling consumer packaged goods and continues to see steady growth. 

Thomas Hofer, the managing director at Thomas R Hofer & Associates, who is an expert in international real estate development and asset management believes that Vietnam is the most potential market in Southeast Asia. He said that there would be plenty of opportunities for vietnam.
Currently, Vietnam’s markets are being dominated by traditional markets, but more supermarkets and retail shops would be set up due to the popular demand.  Many surveys were done in vietnam and results shows that vietnamese are willing to for out more money for healthier and better quality products. Also, they want to be able to get their necessities more conveniently.  The average expenditure of a shopper is 600,000 VND -1.4 million VND per year at supermarkets or modern outlets.

Day 2 - Vietnam's Retail Development
Lotte Mark
(Clothing sections of Lotte Mart)

 (Motorcycles of people shopping in Lotte Mark)

Why are the items in Vietnam cheaper than Singapore?
According to some sources, products in Ho Chin Minh City, Vietnam are 55% cheaper than  those of Singapore.
Why so? The answer is very simple, the reason for the difference in prices of the items found Ho Chin Minh City, Vietnam’s hypermarkets to those in Singapore’s. Are all due to the cost of living in each of the countries.

Cost of living is effected by the amount and average citizen of the country earns in total, is then calculated to the number of children and average family in that country has, these are the most important factors that are considered, when setting the prices, so as to provide reasonable and affordable prices, for the citizens of the country.

For example Country A average salary earned by Family B a month is $3000, and the average number of children a family has are 2 children. So knowing that the family, with a spenditure $3000 a month, to support a family of 4, and calculating that they pay for electricity and water bills which cost about $400 at maximum monthly. Family B would left with $2600 which would be used on food and clothing so as the daily needs, of the family.
Thus, having items prices at for example a can of potato chips would be reasonable to be priced at $3+ in Country A is the families would be able to afford for them.

But if another family, Family C in Country B has a lower salary a month and a higher number of children in average, Country would mostly price the same can of potato chips at  a price of $0.80 instead of $3+ in Country A as it would be more reasonable for the family to afford something without too much of their budget spent than to use it all up.

These is the meaning and logic behind cost of living, thus if we put Country A as Singapore and Country B as Ho Chin Minh City, Vietnam it is most likely the reason behind the price difference, in this case Ho Chin Minh City, Vietnam has a lower cost of living than Singapore and items generally in are 55% cheaper than those of Singapore

What are the difference in the layouts of Singapore and Vietnam’s shopping centers? Why are they different?
Firstly, the size of the Vietnam’s malls are bigger than those in Singapore. The car-parks are in a wide open spaced compared to those multi-storied ones we have in Singapore. This is because of the availability of land in Vietnam. 
In the Lotte Mart, they have a wide variety of shops selling food, drinks, clothing, electronics and a cinema + a gaming center. This way, the residents there can get their basic necessities and fun in one place. The items were all neatly placed in different categories. The aisle between each shelf/cabinet/items is around 1/2 size bigger than those in Singapore’s supermarkets. Hence, many people could push their trolley around without having to worry that they might knock into someone else.

(Push carts in Lotte Mart)
Lastly, the shops aren’t very neatly organized and space are not well-used. The push carts occupy too much of unnecessary area which could be used for many other stuffs. With more space, they can open more shops which can let them earn more income.

Why are there so many security measures in Lotte Mart?
There are a lot of security measures in place at the Lotte Mart. There were a lot of security personnel stationed around in vital locations around the place, and there were some security precautions taken as well, for example locking up the a portion of the chocolates section, in which some of the more expensive chocolates were stored and locked, and if they were taken out, it would then be a must to purchase them. Also, before entering some parts of the place, our bags would have to be stored into the lockers provided and our valuables taken with us from our bags. A high number of security personnel around would deter, prevent and stop people who commit crimes there (eg shoplifting) as it would be harder for potential thieves to steal anything from there. Locking up a portion of the chocolates would make it more complicated and troublesome for those thieves as well, and they may decide not to shoplift after all the trouble that they need to go through. This is because there may be a high crime rate in Vietnam/HCMC, and there is a high probability of crime happening in the Lotte Mart, and in order to prevent these crimes from happening and decreasing the possibility of it happening, these security measures are put in place as prevention is always better than cure. Thus, there are a lot of security measures in place.

The Vincom Centre
The Vincom center is very similar to the shopping malls you see in Singapore with a full air-conditioned space with clothing stores, marts, cafes and restaurant. They are targeted at working adults as most the the items are very pricy and do not look like items that young adults would be wearing/using.
You can spot many singapore shops there like Bread Talk and international brands like Jimmy Choo, Dr.Martens and Charles & Keith. This is due to the retail developments in Vietnam where more and more investors want to invest due the the business oportunites available and growing economy here. 
The food offered are in a great variety from restaurant styles to food court, buffets, grilling, cafes and ice-cream. There are also many different types of clothing stores for people form all ages to choose from. 

3 learning points 
1. Don't be complacent
2. Be punctual
3. Be considerate for others 

Day 4 - Ben Thanh Market

Why is Ben Thanh Market one of the most famous market in Vietnam?
When you enter Ben Thanh Market, you would mostly see flocks of foreigns around, looking for items and bargaining. The market is filled with different varieties of items ranging from traditional (clothes, food, coffee) to modern (electronics, shades, lasers) items. They are also able to bargain at Ben Thanh Market at a cheaper price which can let them save a lot of money. But there might also be many scammers around trying to treat foreigners out of their money. You can also get many delicacies there like the dried mango and the dried snacks at a very reasonable price. 

Differences between Traditional markets like Ben Thanh Market and Modern Markets like Vincom Center.
Traditional Markets and Modern Markets and many differences:
Traditional Markets have bargaining options, but modern markets do not.
As traditional markets set high prices for their items, they allow bargaining like Ben Thanh Market does, this is to allow the consumers to freely bargain for the price and the shop keepers to control the price they want to sell it to always try to earn profit, but for those unsuspecting tourists, they would fall for high price and get cheated. This way traditional markets always earn higher profits in terms of luck on getting someone unsure of prices, but modern markets earn profits through trust of prices.

Modern markets prices tend to be more expensive then traditional markets.
Modern markets always sell prices of items sold there at prices higher than the normal price of an item, so they are able to earn profit through trust of the consumers as they don’t get cheated at traditional markets, for example a can of chips may cause $3 which is about 50 000 Dong in Modern markets they may cause exactly 40 000 to 50 000 Dong but stuff in Vietnam have a lower cost of living and they may cause only about 20 000 Dong. And therefore stuff modern markets put prices higher than traditional markets.

Similarites between Traditional markets like Ben Thanh Market and Modern Markets like Vincom Center.
Both the Ben Thanh market and Lotte Mart sold a huge variety of stuff. For example, in the Ben Thanh market, they sold dried foodstuffs, bags, accessories, clothes, laser pointers etc, and in the Lotte Mart, they sold technological gadgets, clothing as well, and many other stuff, some of which are similar to those found in Ben Thanh market, but may be sold at a cheaper price compared to the prices found in the Lotte Mart. However, the goods may be a lower quality as well. A huge variety of stuff is sold in order to draw more customers to the store and buy their wants and needs from there. If there isn’t a huge variety of items to choose from for the customers, they may not be attracted to the store and visit other stores which offer them more choices, and a higher chance of finding what they want to buy.

By : Ryan, Kevin, Jamie, Gladys

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