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Asia's Turning Point: An Introduction to Asia's Dynamic Economies at the Dawn of the New Century by Philippe Debroux, Ivan Tselichtchev

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16

Vietnam: A New Magnet for Investors?

A Few Basics

Vietnam, with its 85 million people, is the fifteenth most populated country in the world, just ahead of Germany. By nominal gross domestic product (GDP), in 2007, it was fifty-ninth, by per-capita GDP (purchasing power parity (PPP)), 129th—below Pakistan and above East Timor and Uzbekistan. For now, the national goal is to become a middle-income country with a per-capita GDP of around US$10,000 by 2020.

Vietnam is rich in natural resources such as offshore coal and natural gas, coal, manganese, chromium, bauxite, salt, timber, and marine resources.

Agriculture is still playing a vitally important role in the economy. Major crops include rice, sugarcane, coffee, cassava, corn (maize), peanuts, and soybeans. The country is also a producer of natural rubber and tropical fruits.

The major industrial products are foodstuffs and beverages (including canned fruits, marine products, and a variety of tropical juices), textiles, wood and wood products, bicycles and bicycle tires, cement, steel, chemicals, fertilizer, sugar, and sugar syrups. The machinery industry, including electronics, has been growing fast in recent years.

In 2006, agriculture contributed 20 percent to GDP, industry 41.6 percent, and services 38.1 percent. Their shares in total employment were 52.2 percent for agriculture, just 12.5 percent for manufacturing, and 35.3 percent for other sectors (ADB 2007).

Vietnam is divided into 58 provinces and 5 municipalities. The ...

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