Saigon Co.op proof of collective economic success in Vietnam

Mentioning collective economics, people usually think of Saigon Union of Trading Cooperatives (Saigon Co.op) and vice versa.

Consumers buy goods at Co.opmart (Photo: SGGP)

Consumers buy goods at Co.opmart (Photo: SGGP)

Saigon Co.op has become a pride and a live proof for the development of collective economics in Vietnam, worthy of title “Labor hero in the renovation phase” offered by the Party and the State.
After the 6th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam in 1986, the country transferred from subsidization into socialist oriented market economy. The old type of cooperatives fell into difficulties and crisis and a slew of them had to dissolve.
Amid that context, the HCMC People’s Committee on May 12, 1989 issued the policy of changing Trading Cooperatives Management Board into Saigon Union of Trading Cooperatives with two functions of directly doing business and mobilizing cooperative movements.
Saigon Co.op is a cooperative economic organization established on principles of collective ownership, self-control production and trading activities and self-responsibility. February 9, 1996 was a turning point for the union when the first Co.opMart supermarket opened in Cong Quynh street, District 1.
The union’s board of leaders decided to choose the way of trading Vietnamese goods to create a difference and better compete with some previously open supermarkets mainly selling import goods.
Saigon Co.op has become a Vietnamese goods distributor with the purpose of serving citizens as of the nature of cooperatives. Many programs have been launched to stimulate Vietnamese goods consumption and polices have been implemented to assist Vietnamese businesses to take their goods to the supermarket system.
Saigon Co.op has developed into a methodical model with modern management and trading process from goods display to marketing thanks to abundant commodity supply, good quality and reasonable prices together with assistances from Swedish Cooperative Union.
In 2009 when the Politburo launched campaign “Vietnamese give priority to consuming Vietnamese goods”, Saigon Co.op quickly joined hands with many specific, attractive and efficient programs such as “Being proud of Vietnamese goods” organized in September annually.
The supermarkets’ leaders yearly choose Vietnamese goods to gradually replace import items on their shelves. At present, Vietnamese goods account for over 90 percent of goods in Co.opMart supermarkets.
Developing toward distribution group
Saigon Co.op has well implemented policies of the Party besides trading, giving production cooperatives in HCMC and other provinces funds and technology assistances and consume their products.
In HCMC, Saigon Co.op has become one of major units implementing instructions by the city Party Committee and People’s Committee in market management and regulation, price stabilization; contributing to social welfare.
After 30 years of establishment with many ups and downs of the state economic sector, Saigon Co.op has developed into the leading retailer in Vietnam and listed among 500 top retailers in Asia-Pacific for many consecutive years.
Saigon Co.op now has 87 supermarkets, two mega supermarkets Co.opXtra, 120 Co.opFood convenient stores, two Sense City commerce centers, one complex center, Ben Thanh stores, HTV Co.op TV shopping channel, 20 Co.op Smile stores and nearly 200 Co.op stores.
Talking about development strategies by 2020, director general of Saigon Co.op Nguyen Thanh Nhan said that a retailer should focus on developing five factors goods, logistics, operation, network development, human resource and new technology application.
The five contents are equally important and must be implemented synchronously, he added. So Saigon Co.op has drawn up specific programs to develop them and ensure the growth rate of 12 percent a year.
Besides, the union has intensified cooperation with foreign partners to take Vietnamese goods into distribution systems in their countries. Of the foreign partners is NTUC Fairprice Group, the leading retailer in Singapore.
Moreover, Saigon Co.op has a policy of exporting Vietnamese goods including Co.op branded items to countries in the Southeast Asian region.
Mr. Nhan said that the union would strive to sustain the position of the top retailer in Vietnam by quickly and sustainably developing Co.opMart supermarket chain, develop into a national outstanding cooperative, gradually reach out to markets in the region and uphold customers and partners’ trust.

By THUY HAI – Translated by Hai Mien

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