With a population of approximately 89.7 million, Vietnam is bordered by Laos, Cambodia and in close proximity with China. Vietnam remained impoverished and isolated until 1986 when a host of economic and political reforms were initiated by the government to move the country away from a centrally planned economy back to a more market oriented one. Located in the cradle of Southeast Asia, Vietnam’s advantageous geographic location can serve as a launch pad and home base for what is already the largest collection of people on earth (the combined populations of ASEAN along with China, Japan, South Korea and Chinese Taipei account for over 2 billion people).
Vietnam remains one of the fastest-growing Asian economies with high GDP growth in recent years. Vietnam has a population of 87.84 million people (13th largest in the world) expected to grow to 100 million in 2020 with an annual growth rate of 1.2%. Over 50% of the population is 25 years or younger. Possessing, highly skilled, young workers with an extraordinary work ethic and literacy rate of more than 90%, the Vietnamese are equipped with a high level of education and are prepared to serve in high skilled industries like information technology, pharmaceuticals and financial services, at a more competitive cost than other countries in the region.
Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon as it used to be called is notably the heart of all economic activity in Vietnam. It has a strategic location in the heart of Southeast Asia and is situated a short distance away from other promising nearby markets such as China and India. The Southern Key Economic Zone consisting of Ho Chi Minh City as well as a few other provinces (Dong Nai, Binh Duong and Ba Ria-Vung Tan) make up 50% of the national economic capacity. Ho Chi Minh City itself contributes to 20% of the Vietnam’s GDP.
Hanoi’s industrial production in the city has increased since the 1990s. With 8 industrial parks, 5 new large scale and 16 small and medium sized industrial parks on the way, Hanoi as a non state economic sector is expanding fast. Known for its trade, Hanoi’s economic structure underwent important shifts and now the tourism, finance and banking sectors play an increased important role.