Vietnam's Lone Billionaire Opens Mega Underground Mall In Hanoi Jul 28th 2013, 14:51
This is a guest post by Lan Anh Nguyen, editor of Forbes Vietnam.
On July 26, thousands of Vietnamese shoppers flooded the giant underground shopping mall in Hanoi owned by Vingroup of Pham Nhat Vuong, the country's first billionaire.
The new attraction, touted as Asia's biggest underground retail and entertainment complex, covers a total area of 230,000 square meters. The mall is 95% filled up with about 600 shops opened in time for the grand opening. There's also a water park, a 3,000 square meters ice rink for ice skating, game centers, movie theatres, and a "food street" with about 200 restaurants.
"We believe that Vincom Mega Mall Royal City, with many novel features and facilities, will be an ideal shopping, entertainment, and recreational destination for Hanoians as well domestic and international visitors to the capital," Le Thi Thu Thuy, Vingroup's CEO said at the opening ceremony.
The mall is a part of a bigger real estate development by Vingroup in the center of Vietnam's capital, called Royal City. In an interview with Forbes earlier this year, (see profile story of Pham Nhat Vuong), Vuong, chairman of Vingroup, said that 70% of 4,500 condo units at the development have been sold.
Earlier in May, a consortium led by an affiliate of Warburg Pincus, a global private equity firm focused on growth investing, committed to invest $200 million in Vincom Retail, Vingroup's retail property business. The investment valued Vincom Retail at approximately $1.1 billion. This is a subsidiary company under Vingroup, a listed company where Vuong and family controls over 60%.
With the opening of this new mall, Vincom Retail has become Vietnam's largest owner and operator of shopping malls, which include world class shopping, recreational and dining facilities.
"I see development opportunities everywhere in the country," Vuong said in earlier interviews with Forbes. Vuong was born in Hanoi and studied in Russia during the late 80′s. He made his first fortune building a instant food company in Ukraine before moving back to Vietnam and investing in real estate. He is worth an estimated $1.4 billion, his company Vingroup, listed on Vietnam stock exchange, has a market cap of $2.8 billion.
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