Three signs of an increasingly mobile Vietnam

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April 18 – One sure indicator of a country’s overall development is its means and modes of transport. The following three news items reveal that Vietnam is gradually growing apart from the bicycle and moped, for better or worse, but certainly for an increasingly prosperous and industrialized nation.

Mai Linh Corp increases its cab fleet
Mai Linh Bac Trung Bo Joint-Stock Company, founded in 2000, invests in transport services. Last year, Mai Linh realized a net profit of VND 3.5 billion on earnings of VND 25 billion, a 600% increase on the previous year. They plan to increase their fleet of taxis to 550 with the profits, and to 1000 by 2012, citing an increased demand for four-wheel hired transport.

Mercedes Benz now available in Vietnam
The cheapest, SLK 350 models will retail at US$109,000, and the most expensive, S500L sedan will go for $210,000, reflecting a 70% import tax, 50% special consumption tax, and 10% value added tax. Despite the prohibitive pricing, Mercedes-Benz Vietnam reports a long list of customers who had been waiting for a pricing announcement.

Pacific Airlines forecasts record revenues
Vietnam’s second-largest airline expects its revenues to double in 2008, to $145 million. It has joined Australia’s Jetstar Airways, which owns 18% of Pacific, to exploit domestic and regional markets. To do so, it will add five aircraft to its fleet, and another five in 2009, which will serve new routes at home and throughout Southeast Asia.