South Korea's Lotte Cinema, affiliate of major local distributor Lotte Entertainment, has announced that it has become the first major Korean multiplex owner to buy into the Vietnamese exhibition market.

Part of the Lotte Group conglomerate, Lotte Cinema has acquired DMC, a smaller Korean exhibitor that has successfully been operating three screens in Ho Chi Minh City and three more in Danang.

Lotte also announced plans for the end of the year to open a Lotte Mart superstore in Ho Chi Minh with a multiplex inside. It will further launch cinemas in Hanoi and other major cities in Vietnam.

'Compared to the rate of growth in Vietnam's economy and its film viewing population, the number of screens and accompanying facilities are greatly lacking,' stated the company, which plans to use Korean multiplex operating know-how to create innovations in Vietnamese cinema-going culture.

Lotte Cinema's rivals CJ CGV and Megabox previously launched into China with cinemas in Beijing and Shanghai, but this is the first time a major Korean exhibitor is opening in Vietnam, one of the early hot spots where the Korean Wave started in Asia.

Lotte also plans to show more Korean films in its cinemas there.