American fast food chains and franchisers are increasingly tapping into some hitherto untouched markets in Asia. The latest market on the radar is Vietnam, a 90-million people country that is on the far end of the Pacific Rim.
Taking advantage of the market that is a far way from maturity, fast food chain McDonalds has made a foray into the market with the opening of its first restaurant in Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City this Saturday.
The opening was grand, and the uninitiated could well have mistaken it as the opening night of a posh nightclub—complete with velvet ropes and techno music. Among the eager crowds were several American expatriates waiting to sample the burgers and fries. McDonalds already boasts thousands of restaurants in more than a 100 countries.
It was not until 2010 that American companies aggressive forayed into the Vietnamese markets, with brands such as KFC setting shop here.
The Vietnamese Prime Minister’s son-in-law Henry Nguyen is the McDonald’s franchisee. Henry has been associated with the fast food chain for several years now, starting his career in his student days as a restaurant crew member in the United States; as his family had fled to the U.S. after the Vietnam War. Henry later earned degrees at Harvard and Northwestern.
There is a growing curiosity among young people in Vietnam about Western culture, and this has garnered a lot of attention for McDonalds in Vietnam.
As most of the 90-million people in Vietnam were born after the 1975 Vietnam War, the middle class in the country is currently soaring. The per capita income in Vietnam has been consistently rising, registering a 50% increase in the four year period from 2008 to 2012.
According to market experts, revenue from the fast food industry in Vietnam was USD 535 million in 2013, up 14.5% from 2013, and is expected to grow further.