Hanoi has spent up to hundreds of billions of VND on upgrading traditional markets or building new facilities, but they are always deserted, failing to attract customers who prefer temporary markets.
A karaoke club at O Cho Dua Market
A number of traditional markets that used to be popular with the public have been upgraded, including O Cho Dua in Dong Da District, Cua Nam and Hang Da in Hoan Kiem District, and Buoi and Thuong Dinh in Thanh Xuan, but this seems to have had a detrimental effect.
O Cho Dua Market was turned into the OCD Plaza which includes seven floors and a basement for parking. Many people even thought that it had been turned into a karaoke club due to a sign on the front of the building. The first and second floors of the building are for rent, but 80% of the stalls have been closed and the rest is empty. The stalls that have remained open also struggle to attract customers.
A roast meat shop owner nearby said most traders had abandoned their businesses and those that remained struggled to attract buyers.
Cua Nam Market is also in the same situation. The market is in fact a small supermarket with two stalls. All steps from packing, price listing and payment are carried out at the cashier counter. Cashiers often have nothing to do and just chat while they wait for the end of the day.
Shops at Hang Da Market mainly sell luxury products which do not draw people’s attention. Cashier counters are sometimes left empty without any staff.
Thuong Dinh Market is in an even worse situation. Two of the three floors are vacant, and there are only 10 stalls on the first floor.
The design of the majority of modern markets is unsuitable and awkward, making it difficult for customers to move around.
Nguyen Thi Quynh, 70, from Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, said, "This cannot be called a market because most people come here just to visit. It is inconvenient because we have to park in the basement and then walk up to the stalls just to buy food.”
Phan Van Chien from Nguyen Khuyen Street said that almost no one wants to come to the market any more. The commodities are too expensive for labourers. People around here usually go to Ngoc Si Lien Market or nearby temporary markets.
Around Hang Da Market, many temporary markets have popped up to meet people’s demand.
Mr. Tinh who sells bread in front of Hang Da Market said although the market is modern, people favour small and temporary markets which are very convenient for them. No one wants to spend VND3,000 for parking services just to buy food.
A stall full of construction materials
Cua Nam Market
Stalls left empty at Hang Da Market
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