By Tao Jun, Tai Bao HANOI Vietnam (Xinhua)
-- In a well-known electronics store
called MediaMart in Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi, after
glancing at a 65-inch smart TV set discounted to 51.9 million
Vietnamese dong (about 2,300 U.S. dollars), a middle-aged man
swiftly opened his large wallet.
“We have already
have a smart TV at home, but it is only 43 inches. We want a
bigger one, even though the price is four times higher, to enjoy
the World Cup to the fullest,” Bui Van Huy, the owner of a
metalware shop in the Thanh Xuan district, told Xinhua on
Monday, after paying a pile of cash for the 65-inch TV set.
The man said he did
not think of buying a new TV set until watching the first FIFA
World Cup 2018 matches, including nail-biting games such as the
5-0 opener between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia, the 3-3 game
between Portugal and Spain, and especially the 1-0 match between
Mexico and defending champion Germany.
Like Huy, many
locals have been willing to spend huge sums of money on large
screen TV sets during the planet’s biggest football tournament.
many electronics superstores and shops in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh
City said that after the Vietnam Central Television (VTV)
announced on June 8 that they had acquired the rights to
broadcast live all 64 World Cup matches, their TV set sales
increased by around 30 percent.
Most of the buyers
have been well-off families and owners of cafes and restaurants,
month-long football tournament, TV set and projector renting
services in major cities nationwide are also luring a lot of
cafe and restaurant owners. Nguyen Trinh, who works for the Tat
Thanh Company in Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Phu district, said her
company is leasing 400 TV sets and projectors, mostly units with
“I have rented a
100-inch TV set for the whole month at a total charge of 60
million Vietnamese dong (more than 2,600 U.S. dollars). If I had
rented it on a daily basis, I would have had to pay 10 million
Vietnamese dong (440 U.S. dollars) a day,” Le Van Thang, owner
of Chieu Tim karaoke bar and cafe in Hanoi, told Xinhua.
Besides TV sets and
projectors, replicas of the World Cup 2018 mascot, trophy, and
jerseys of national squads and football stars are selling like
hot cakes in Vietnam.
“Right after the VTV
announcement, I quickly bought loads of cuddly toys in the form
of Zabivaka wolf (official mascot of the 2018 FIFA World Cup),
replica trophies, key chains, and jerseys, some of which are
made in China. Last week, I sold around 30 products a day,”
Nguyen Quynh Hoa, owner of a fashion and souvenir shop on
Hanoi’s Hang Bong Street, told Xinhua on Monday.
Along Hanoi’s Trinh
Hoai Duc Street, well-known for housing many sporting goods
stores, jerseys of 32 national teams currently present in Russia
are hanging outside the shops. In a shop called To Ninh Ninh, a
local woman and her teenage son were staring at the yellow-green
jersey of the Brazilian squad, priced at 150,000 Vietnamese dong
(6.6 U.S. dollars).
“I bet Brazil will
win the World Cup,” the boy told her mother, and then pointed
his hand to a big Zabivaka wolf made from cotton costing 200,000
Vietnamese dong (8.8 U.S. dollars), saying, “Mom, buy that for
my younger sister, please.”
The shop assistant
told Xinhua on Sunday that among jerseys, those of Brazil,
Germany, France, Russia and Portugal are the best-selling, and
their sales have tripled over the past few days.
“Cuddly toys and
costumes in the form of Zabivaka wolf are also selling well,”
the shop assistant said, noting that Zabivaka wolf costumes can
be hired (by restaurants and shops to attract customers) at a
charge of 200,000 Vietnamese dong (8.8 U.S. dollars) per hour.
Small items bearing
the images of Zabivaka wolf and national flags such as key
chains, bags and hats, and Russian souvenir bank notes are also
catching the attention of many Vietnamese people.
The Russian Central
Bank has issued 20 million banknotes featuring legendary Soviet
goalkeeper Lev Yashin. The bill has a face value of 100 rubles
(1.6 U.S. dollars), and sell for about 6 U.S. dollars in Russia,
but in Vietnam, they now sell for between 500,000 and 700,000
Vietnamese dong (22-31 U.S. dollars), a Vietnamese shopkeeper
World Cup item but made totally crazy in Vietnam is the replica
trophy. The real FIFA World Cup Trophy is made of 18-carat gold
with a malachite base, and weighs 6.1 kg in total, but the
replica is made out of plaster and painted in Bat Trang,
Vietnam’s most famous pottery-making craft village.
“Each day, my family
sells around 1,000 replica trophies. We have just had to recruit
more workers,” Vuong Hong Nhat, owner of a pottery production
base bearing his name in Hanoi’s Bat Trang commune, Gia Lam
district, told Xinhua. He said this seasonal product has been
transported to many localities nationwide, including northern
Hai Phong city, central Nghe An province, southern Ho Chi Minh
City and even to Russia.
Another craftsman in
Bat Trang, Tran Duc Hiep, said the replica trophy’s wholesale
prices range from 80,000 Vietnamese dong (3.5 U.S. dollars) to
100,000 Vietnamese dong (4.4 U.S. dollars) per unit.
Not only products,
some services in Vietnam such as outbound tourism, cafes,
restaurants and night food shipping services are benefiting from
the ongoing World Cup in Russia.
According to many
Vietnamese travel agencies, the numbers of customers, who booked
tours to Russia in the first half of this month, doubled or
trebled compared to the same period last year.
“We have offered
7-day and 9-day tours to Moscow and St. Petersburg at prices of
50 to 60 million Vietnamese dong (2,200-2,600 U.S. dollars). The
tours have been fully booked,” Ngo Thi Nga, director of Postum
Travel Company in Hanoi, said last weekend, noting that the
prices excluded tickets to the football matches.
However, not all
Vietnamese people are excited about the World Cup. Some are
complaining about noisy neighborhoods, drunk driving,
underperforming staff and students due to sleeplessness, and,
especially, illegal betting.
international football tournaments such as the World Cup and the
Euros, police always detect many betting rings worth many
millions of U.S. dollars each in cities and provinces
nationwide. Sometimes, those who lose bets have to sell their
houses to pay their debt, and many bookmakers have ended up in
prison,” Nguyen Truong Son, a retired army officer in Hanoi,
said with a sigh.
Vietnam’s Penal Code, gamblers who make a bet of 2 million
Vietnamese dong or more (88 U.S. dollars), and bookies whose
ring has at least 10 people involved will be culpable.
If a bet is below 50
million Vietnamese dong (about 2,200 U.S. dollars), the gambler
will be fined between 5 to 50 million Vietnamese dong and
possibly given a jail term ranging from three months to three
years. If a bet is more than 50 million Vietnamese dong, the
culprit will be put behind bars for two to seven years.