Vietnam has one of the fastest-growing, most vibrant economies in all of Asia. Over the past ten years, economic growth has been second only to China and GDP has been doubling every ten years since 1986. Between 2002 and 2018, GDP per capita increased by 2.7 times, reaching over US$2,700 in 2019, and more than 45 million people were lifted out of poverty. Vietnam is forecast to be one of the top 10 fastest growing economies in the next few decades.

Vietnam joined ASEAN in July 1995. It has the third-largest population in Southeast Asia, over half of which is below the age of 30. An ambitious programme of major infrastructure developments including new urban railway networks, a new international hub airport and expansion of regional airports are rapidly improving the large market for capital goods and a growing domestic market for consumer goods.

Country Information
  • Head of State: President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc
  • Capital city: Hanoi
  • Total population: 96.46 million
  • Languages: Vietnamese, English, French, Chinese, Khmer
  • Religions: Non-religious or folk belief 73.2%, Buddhist 12.2%, Christian 8.3%, Caodaism 4.8%, Hoa Haoism 1.4%, Other 0.1%
  • Monetary unit: Dong (VND)
  • Natural resources: Phosphates, coal, manganese, rare earth elements, bauxite, chromate, timber, hydropower
  • Major exports: Clothes, shoes, electronics, seafood, crude oil, rice, coffee, wooden products, machinery
  • Major imports: Machinery and equipment, petroleum products, steel products, raw materials for clothing and shoe industries, electronics, plastics, automobiles

In 2007 Vietnam became a member of the World Trade Organization, helping to cement domestic reforms and precipitate the country’s progress towards becoming a full market-orientated economy. It has also had a positive impact on Vietnam’s foreign direct investment (FDI), manufactured exports, and property. These benefits are expected to continue as the country opens up more sectors to FDI and competition.

Since the country began its transition from central state control to a market-orientated economy in 1986, Vietnam has experienced sustained economic growth and is now classed as a middle-income country. GDP increased by 5.98% in 2014 and is now USD 170.6 billion. Per capita purchasing power is approximately USD 3,600. An average of 6% growth a year is forecast from 2015 to 2017. Retail trade grew 10.6% in 2014, +6.3% in real terms.

In other words, now is a great time for UK businesses to be considering Vietnamese markets.

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