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Ho Chi Minh City’s Wholesale Markets Gear Up for Digital Transformation

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Ho Chi Minh City’s wholesale markets are set to undergo a comprehensive reform and tech transformation, driven by the municipal Department of Industry and Trade’s vision to better cater to the needs of buyers and sellers while aligning with socio-economic development trends. Comprising major agricultural and food hubs like Binh Dien, Thu Duc, and Hoc Mon, these markets play a crucial role in supplying essential goods to the city, handling an average of 8,000 tonnes of produce every night.

Image credits: Vietnam Plus

The exponential growth of e-commerce, particularly in Ho Chi Minh City, further underscores the need for wholesale markets to adapt to digital trends. E-commerce is experiencing a 20-30% annual growth rate, making it essential for wholesale markets to integrate digital transformation strategies into their operations.

However, these markets face challenges such as overloading, inadequate infrastructure, and limited technology use, leading to difficulties in ensuring food hygiene, safety, and effective oversight. To address these issues and keep pace with evolving consumer behaviours, experts at a recent conference stressed the urgency of investing in facility upgrades, standardising procedures, and embracing digital transformation.

The city aims to construct a new wholesale market model that meets five key requirements: modernisation with a focus on hygiene, food safety, and reliable supply; implementing systems for quality control from inputs to retail points; brand building and export orientation; an efficient management apparatus; and ensuring operations are aligned with the context of digital transformation.

A research group from the University of Economics and Law outlined a three-stage digital transformation plan for these wholesale markets. The process includes transforming business and management models and integrating technologies to develop new products and services.

Crucial to the success of digital transformation are the four pillars of human resources, new business processes, technology, and data. Missing any of these elements can impede the transformation process and reduce its success rate, according to Nguyen Thanh Hoa from the city’s Department of Information and Communications.

Efforts to manage the Binh Dien Wholesale Market are focusing on digital transformation and studying information technology models from successful cases in developed countries. The market management company encourages the use of technology, including identification rings for tracing pork origins and implementing advanced access control systems.

Regular inspections of goods origins and environmental sanitation are conducted at the wholesale markets. The management teams actively remind traders about avoiding the use of chemicals and preservatives in fruits and vegetables. Rigorous testing ensures that only goods meeting safety standards enter the markets.

In response to unregulated trading around wholesale markets, the city has established teams dedicated to addressing this issue. Pham Khanh Phong Lan, the director of the department, emphasised the city’s commitment to tackling this challenge.

In 2023, Vietnam’s e-commerce market soared to an impressive US$20.5 billion, marking a 25% growth from the previous year. This robust expansion underscores the pivotal role of e-commerce in propelling Vietnam’s digital economy, driving economic development, and catalysing comprehensive digital transformations across businesses nationwide.

A significant contributor to this digital shift is the surge in electronic invoices directly generated from cash registers, championed by the General Department of Taxation. With a 47.6-fold increase, totalling 104.8 million electronic invoices, this initiative has streamlined administrative procedures for 94.36% of targeted businesses, significantly reducing costs and enhancing overall business productivity.

This confluence of e-commerce growth and innovative invoicing positions Vietnam as a tech-driven powerhouse, ready for sustained innovation in the digital era.

The planned digital overhaul of Ho Chi Minh City’s wholesale markets reflects a proactive approach to adapting to modern consumer behaviours and technological advancements. The integration of digital transformation strategies is expected to enhance the efficiency, safety and overall management of these essential hubs, ensuring they remain vital contributors to the city’s supply chain.


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