Shinsegae to export its jjimjilbang to Vietnam

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Shinsegae to export its jjimjilbang to Vietnam

Following discount chain Emart and lifestyle brand Jaju, retail conglomerate Shinsegae Group’s next export to Vietnam will be its jjimjilbang, or Korean sauna.

The company announced that it signed a franchise contract Monday with Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup to build two Aquafield branches in Nha Trang and Phu Quoc, both well-known vacation spots in Vietnam. Both jjimjilbang will be located inside Vingroup resorts due to be completed in late 2020.

The largest private company in Vietnam with a focus in real estate development and retail, Vingroup operates multiple resorts and shopping malls across the country.

“The franchise contract might lead to opportunities to build even more locations,” said a statement from Shinsegae.

Built under the concept of a high-end jjimjilbang, Aquafield is a sauna-slash-swimming pool with food courts, located inside Shinsegae’s Starfield Malls in Hanam and Goyang, both in Gyeonggi. The Hanam branch has a water park both in and outdoors, while the Goyang branch has a roof-top swimming pool.

A Shinsegae spokesman explained that the branches in Vietnam won’t be that different in form and will keep the name Aquafield.

Under the contract, Vingroup will pay Shinsegae a portion of the ticket revenue and additional fees for opening a new Aquafield park for the next 10 years. The Korean company did not disclose exact details.

In turn, Shinsegae Engineering & Construction will lead construction, offer operational advice, train staff and support sales and marketing. The affiliate is also in charge of Aquafield operations in Korea. It plans to continue to use its smaller Korean partners that participated in the construction of the local branches.

According to Shinsegae, Vingroup approached the Korean conglomerate to enquire about the jjimjilbang. The Vietnamese conglomerate was on the search for leisure activities to fill its new resorts.

“Aquafield was given high points for its high-end interior design,” Shinsegae said. “Korea and Vietnam also have sentimental similarities, not to mention the Hallyu wave also played a positive role.”

“Vingroup is a big player that runs multiple resorts and hotels - the company inquiring about Aquafield proves that the facility has the possibility of succeeding overseas,” said Shinsegae Engineering & Construction CEO Yang Chun-man.

Shinsegae first entered Vietnam in 2015 with discount chain Emart. In June, Shinsegae International launched Jaju in Ho Chi Minh City.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]

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