South Korean conglomerate Lotte Group has shifted focus to Vietnam’s retail market after a decision to withdraw from China in 2017, following China’s retaliation against the company over the U.S. anti-missile system deployment in South Korea.
The company is looking to make Vietnam its third-largest market after Korea and Japan. Lotte Group entered Vietnam in 1998 with its fast-food business Lotteria and has since expanded to 270 locations. The firm operates 15 Lotte mart stores and two department stores in Vietnam, with more projects underway.
The firm has also been expanding businesses in other Southeast Asian nations, including Indonesia, where it invested $3.9 billion in a large-scale petrochemical plant, which is expected to start operating by 2025.
The groundbreaking event is for Lotte’s Eco Smart City complex development on a 68,000-square-meter site in the Thu Thiem district of Ho Chi Minh City. The complex will have 60 floors and will cost about $900 million.
THAAD ControversyLotte Group faced retaliation from China’s ruling communist party for allowing one of its golf courses in South Korea to be used as a deployment site for the U.S.-built Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in 2017, which Beijing criticized for being able to “spy” into its airspace.
Beijing imposed tougher regulations on Lotte Group’s subsidiaries in China, including Lotte Mart, Lotte Department Store, Lotte Chilsung Beverage, and Lotte Chemical.