Health franchises in Vietnam see growth spurt

Franchise opportunities in healthcare and wellness are emerging in Vietnam as locals increase spending to improve their health and overall well-being.

Vietnamese people spend billions of dollars every year improving their health and wellness, according to Sean T. Ngo, CEO of VF Franchise Consulting. A growing number of Vietnamese citizens are travelling abroad-to countries like Singapore and Thailand-in search of advanced healthcare services.

The Ministry of Health estimated the spending of Vietnamese citizens on overseas treatment at around US$2 billion per annum. This figure is even larger now, and the trend continues to grow as the population ages and disposable incomes rise.

“In order to take advantage of the fast-growing and high demand for these types of services, many foreign service providers and franchisers continue to seek further expansion or to enter Vietnam,” Ngo said, expecting this franchise category to be in high demand over the next few years.

Brands like OSIM, which is one of Asia’s largest health and wellness providers of massage products, plans to expand their brand further in Vietnam through franchising.

Besides having the financial capabilities, OSIM is seeking a local franchisee who is passionate about healthy and happy living. A franchisee who has retail experience and connections to shopping malls is also desired.

Yee Pheng Chan, franchise manager of OSIM, said the Vietnamese market has shown sustained economic growth. With the encouraging growth in the health and wellness sector, Chan is of the opinion that the potential in Vietnam is huge.

“The Vietnamese consumers share some common Asian beliefs on traditional medicine and health practices. Massage being a traditional healthcare practice that, we believe, will resonate well with the Vietnamese consumers,” she added.

In addition to OSIM, Vietnam is also a destination for other brands in the health and wellbeing sector, with enterprises from Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, and Japan already established in the country.

There is an abundance of health fitness brands in Vietnam, such as California Fitness, Curves, and the mixed martial arts brand UFC. These are just three among many international franchises that have entered Vietnam over the past five to 10 years.

Randy Dobson, founder and chairman of CMG.ASIA, said that Vietnam has been transformed over the last decade from a culture that did not see exercise and nutrition as a critical aspect of life, to now being a world leader in healthy lifestyle values and fitness related activities.

“Following the Global Web Index Report 2016, Vietnam has the highest percentage of household GDP spent annually on health and fitness in Southeast Asia.

Nearly one in three Vietnamese now identify as fitness fanatics, which puts Vietnam as the most health conscious country in the world and nearly doubles that of the US at 17%,” he noted.

CMG.ASIA celebrated its 10-year anniversary in Vietnam this year by holding a life enhancement industry expo. After a decade of operation, the firm consists of 18 brands across four vertical markets-tied together using its Life Enhancement Ecosystem Platform (LEEP).

The four sectors include fitness centres, medical clinics, retail distribution, and media entertainment. Its fitness business has been thriving with 30 centres in Vietnam under brands like California Fitness and Yoga, Yoga Plus, and CaliKids Academy.

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