Singapore retailer NTUC FairPrice Co-operative is to set up a venture with Saigon Union of Trading Co-operatives to run a chain of hypermarkets in Vietnam.

FairPrice said the new chain of hypermarkets would leverage Saigon Co-op’s network of supermarkets for economies of scale, as well as its existing loyalty programmes and large customer base in Vietnam.

The new partnership also broadens the source of supply for FairPrice giving customers in Singapore more choice, the company said.

Ng Ser Miang, chairman of NTUC FairPrice, said: “As cooperatives, we share the same philosophy to put the interest of our customers high in the agenda of our business approach. FairPrice has been moderating the cost of living in Singapore for the past 37 years and we are keen to share our experience with our friends in Vietnam. As the leading retailer in Vietnam, Saigon Co-op already has a strong customer following and is deeply rooted in the hearts of the consumers in Vietnam. We are proud to be a partner of Saigon Co-op and we look forward to learning the culture and business environment in Vietnam.”

The hypermarkets will retail a wide range of local products and suitable imported products, as well as FairPrice housebrand products. FairPrice and Saigon Co-op will also hold exchange programmes for its employees to facilitate knowledge transfer.

Saigon Co-op owns and operates a chain of Co-op Mart supermarkets, Co-op food and Co-op store in Vietnam with a strong presence in Ho Chi MinH City and other provinces in Vietnam.

Nguyen Ngoc Hoa, chairman of Saigon Union of Trading Cooperatives, said: “One reason we found FairPrice as the right fit for our venture into hypermarkets is how we both uphold the social mission for our people. We are the people’s retailer and we want to evolve with our customers in Vietnam who now want a variety of services and products at our stores. We look forward to a successful partnership that combines FairPrice’s hypermarket experience with our local expertise and strong foothold.”

The first hypermarket under the venture is expected to be operational in Vietnam by 2012.