Ho Chi Minh City
HANOI – Vietnam’s economic center, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), is currently seeing a strong period of economic growth. A variety of business sectors are seeing robust growth numbers in comparison to last year.
With a population of over nine million, HCMC (previously known as Saigon) is the largest city in Vietnam. The city’s population is predicted to rise to around 13.9 million by the year 2025.
Vietnam as a whole has seen much stronger economic growth as the world recovers from the recent financial crisis and as the country begins to attract more manufacturing opportunities from China to its own shores.
By Edward Barbour-Lacey
Dec. 10 – One of the most exciting industry sectors in Vietnam continues to be retail. There are numerous reasons why this industry is particularly attractive to both domestic and foreign businesses. Among its positive attributes, the country has a well-developed economy that continues to improve, a high population (90+ million) and ever increasing living standards.
Additionally important for the retail sector are statistics like the fact that 42 percent of Vietnamese are under the age of 25 and that there are a large amount of women (an important customer growth segment) in the workforce.
Through November of this year, Vietnam’s total retail turnover reached VND 2,386 trillion (around US$113 billion), an increase of 12.6 percent year-on-year.
Aug. 19 – Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC, known as Saigon until 1976) is much younger than Hanoi, with many historians dating the city at just over 300 years old. A prosperous and densely-populated trade hub, the city is today considered the commercial and economic center of Vietnam. HCMC is actually a municipality (on the same governmental level as a province) and, with a population of over 7 million, it is the most populous province/municipality in Vietnam.
The inhabitants of HCMC – the “Saigonese” – are generally seen as industrious and tolerant. HCMC is in many ways a “promised land,” attracting immigrants from across Vietnam to pursue economic fortune. While the majority of people in HCMC are ethnic Vietnamese, the city is also known for cultural diversity.
Jul. 18 – Home to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam’s largest city, the Southeast region has long been a focus of the country’s foreign investment inflows thanks to its impressive growth fueled by a massive energy sector and a thriving manufacturing sector.
HCMC is also Vietnam’s commercial center, and accounts for a large share of the national economy – contributing over 20 percent to the country’s overall GDP, and over 25 percent of total industrial production.
HCMC’s economy consists of a wide spectrum of industries, ranging from mining and construction to seafood processing and tourism. Other large industries include agriculture and high-tech/electronic products and services.
Jun. 21 – This week, the Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) Infrastructure Investment Joint-Stock Company (CII) announced that it will issue VND1 trillion worth of bonds to be used as funds for infrastructure projects in the city – specifically for the upcoming Saigon 2 Bridge project.
The Saigon 2 Bridge project is estimated to cost a total of VND1.5 trillion, with VND1 trillion of it being sourced from a bond issue. Construction on the project began in April last year, and it is expected to be opened by next November.
In addition to Saigon 2, CII has been entrusted by the HCMC government to upgrade the Thu Duc Intersection, the BOT Binh Trieu 2 Bridge and Road project and a road project to connect the East-West Highway and the HCMC-Trung Luong Expressway.
May 16 – Construction began last month on four main roads in the Thu Thiem New Urban Area, a development located near the heart of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC).
Construction of the Thu Thiem New Urban Area has been steady, with 99 percent of the seven square kilometer area already cleared, with the adjacent Thu Thiem tunnel and bridge already having been completed. Construction is currently expected to be completed by 2025, with its developers promoting the area as the future financial and cultural hub of Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
Economic recession, however, has slowed the development of other key infrastructure projects in the area. At the Conference on Investment Promotion held earlier this month, investors voiced their concerns, citing worries over the slow infrastructure development in addition to the high land prices and restrictive administrative regulations.
Apr. 26 – During the first four months of 2013, Vietnam attracted newly registered and additional foreign direct investment (FDI) capital worth over US$8 billion. The capital was injected into projects throughout 18 different sectors, with the processing and manufacturing industries topping the list, followed by the property, wholesale and retail sectors.
Of this, US$4.9 billion of new capital was added thanks to the licensing of 341 new FDI projects. Another 121 projects expanded its capital by a total of US$3.34 billion. These capital injections represent a 14.6 percent and 20.7 percent year-on-year increase, respectively.
Oct. 30 – The coming month in Vietnam will bring in a fresh set of trade fairs, shows, expos, and exhibitions to try and satiate the growing demand for new business in the country. A sampling of November’s key events can be found below.
Vietnam International Shop and Franchise Show 2012
- When: November 1-3, 2012
- Where: Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center, 799 Nguyen Van Linh, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Organizer: Vinexad
By Samantha Jones and Julia Gu
May 29 – Vietnam is composed of 63 provinces and five centrally-governed cities, which stand on the same administrative level as provinces (namely Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho, Da Nang and Hai Phong). The General Statistics Office of Vietnam further groups these provinces and cities into eight regions, listed below:
- Red River Delta
- Mekong River Delta
- North Central Coast
- South Central Coast
- Central Highlands
Apr. 30 – On April 12, 2012, Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance promulgated Circular No.58/2012/TT-BTC to guide the implementation of Decision No. 05/2012/QD-TTg dated January 19, 2012 on implementing a pilot project allowing VAT refunds for foreigners departing Vietnam from Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi or Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCMC.
Foreigners who buy goods in Vietnam and leave from either of those airports will be reimbursed the VAT they have paid. However, the tax refund service fee which commercial banks are entitled to charge is equal to 15 percent of the total amount of VAT on goods eligible for refund that foreigners carry when leaving the airports. As such, the amount of value added tax which foreigners will be refunded is equal to 85 percent of the total amount of VAT paid.