Hanoians believe that supermarkets are not the “markets” that they have got familiar for the last hundreds of years. If so, Hanoi would no longer have markets from 2030, since the city’s authorities are planning to restructure the wholesale and retail networks in Hanoi and remove traditional markets.
Under the new distribution network development plan, there would be no new markets in the inner city, from the belt No. 2 to the central area. Meanwhile, it would restrict the number of markets in the areas from the belt No. 2 to Song Nhue and newly developing areas.
In the inner city’s area, including the Hoan Kiem, Ba Dinh, Dong Da, Hai Ba Trung and a part of Tay Ho district, the existing supermarkets would be upgraded with the city’s budget, while new hypermarkets, second and third class supermarkets would be built on the areas where there are traditional markets or production bases and offices and commercial areas.
The city plans to upgrade the existing supermarkets, while preserving the existing hypermarkets and second and third class supermarkets in the areas from the belt No. 2 to Nhue River, the southern part of the Red River, which includes the districts of Tay Ho, Cau Giay, Thanh Xuan, Hoang Mai, and a part of Tu Liem and Thanh Tri districts.
In general, only hypermarkets, second and third class supermarkets, or modern distribution channels, would be existing in Hanoi, which is a part of the plan to develop Hanoi into a modern capital city. Meanwhile, traditional markets would disappear gradually.
The information has surprised many Hanoians, who love traditional markets, considering traditional markets as a part of their life. In the thoughts of many city’s dwellers, especially old people, “market” means the traditional market which has been existing for the last hundreds of years, while supermarket must not be called “market.”
The plan on renovating the market network in Hanoi has not been applauded by people and culturists, who believe that traditional market is not simply the place where goods are exchanged, but also the cultural beauty of Vietnamese people. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain them and upgrade the value of traditional markets instead of removing the markets and replacing with modern supermarkets.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, there are 8500 traditional markets nationwide, including 411 in Hanoi. As such, there are 14 markets in every district or town, while each of the markets serves some 15,000 people.
Currently, 50 percent of fruits and vegetables are sold at traditional markets, while the products of the same kinds available at supermarkets just serve 5 percent of the total demand.
Dr Hoang Tho Xuan from the Trade Research Institute also said that Vietnamese people like going to traditional markets because they want fresh, cheap and diversified products. Traditional market serves as the distribution channel for farm produce and fresh food which has been playing a very important role in the life of poor consumers.
However, the existence of traditional markets proves to be contradictory to the city’s plan to become a modern urban area, while they cannot satisfy the requirements on food hygiene and commercial civilisation.
In fact, Hanoi has been trying to build up modern distribution networks to replace the degrading traditional markets. Modern markets and shopping malls have been set up, but they have not attracted consumers. Many of them have been left idle. This shows that traditional market still has its important significance to the majority of people.