Is Vietnam just 10 years behind China? What do I always hear about this from Vietnamese youths, recently?
Minh Long, lives in Vietnam
As a Vietnamese person, let me tell you the truth from a Vietnamese perspective.
Vietnam is inferior to China in nearly all areas. Don't look at the limited data of GDP and GDP per capita; look broadly at all aspects.
Education: Vietnam does not have any University of the top 1000 in the world, while China has 2 universities in the top 50 in the world. Beijing and Tsinghua University. The distance is too big.
Transportation and infrastructure: Vietnam does not have any subway or high speed train. 2 metro lines, in Hanoi, built by China, in Ho Chi Minh City built by Japan. China has built the world's largest bullet-train network and has 9 of the 20 largest seaports in the world.
The quality of Chinese roads is so good, I think maybe comparable to the United States, while roads in Vietnam are quite bad. After several years, the roads have been damaged, mainly due by corrupt officials and abating materials.
Industry and technology: Vietnam is bad, very, very bad. In manufacturing industries, almost all machinery components are imported, Vietnam does not produce anything at all.
Military: While China is the third largest exporter of weapons in the world and sells weapons to 60 countries, Vietnam's arms manufacturing industry is virtually anonymous; many Vietnamese know nothing about Vietnam's arms manufacturing industry.
Vietnam's metallurgical industry is very bad; Vietnam is unable to produce safe and durable alloys for military and aviation. Don't believe it? Come to Vietnam and ask Vietnamese people who are working in the metallurgical industry if you want to know this harsh truth.
Work ethic: I see that the work ethic of Chinese workers is better; Vietnamese people have a lack of discipline, low productivity, and lack of solidarity.
Computer, smartphone, semiconductor: Vietnam has almost nothing and can produce almost nothing by itself. Without Samsung investment, I bet the Vietnamese economy would be much worse.
10 years? Too optimistic. I think depending on the field, Vietnam is more behind China by 10 to 50 years, maybe even 100 years.
100 years, what is that? I would like to say that is China's space industry. Vietnam 's space industry in 50 years will not be equal to China’s currently.
Patrick Koh, Knows Asia, China and USA
If you keep hearing this, it’s a good sign.
Then the Viet youths now have more confidence, ambition and wish to upgrade their country. Accept China as being ahead and a concrete target to achieve. Delusion and denial is worse.
Vietnam has the potential, but seem to brew plenty of nationalistic anger and frustration - tend to feel the world unfair, blame the wars, US sanctions and not normalising diplomatic ties, China aggression, poor governance, nepotism, band lame co ption. About time to be more pragmatic and move on.
The windows are open. Plenty of nations now invest in Vietnam especially Japan, Korea, ASEAN, China, US, EU, etc. The windfall from the trade war with more shifting factories over. A bit like when China just opened up, with FDI, factories, wage increase, property boom, and rapid development of infrastructure.
Now the reality check. 10 years? I don’t think so.
55 times bigger. China $13, 407 billion vs Vietnam 241 billion.
Population - China is 15 times bigger.
In population and absolute GDP, the relative size is beyond comparison.
GDP per Capita: The only meaningful measure for Vietnam to catch up. However, Vietnam is 1/3 the GDP per capita of China (and that is on paper), being one of the lower ones in ASEAN.
On paper GDP per capita is shown above. But in reality China is far ahead.
China is already a super large, hugely complex and advanced economy. Vietnam is too far from the top end of China’s economic power and technological prowess. Vietnam is far back, when one looks at China’s truly developed first tier cities, economic zones, and the maturity of its industries.
No Vietnam is not even close to “10 years”. I’ll address the youths believing this later.
China is a fully industrialized nation. I mean industrialized like Western Europe and industrialized like the Soviet Union and Russia now. Industrialized like Canada and the United States. Industrialized like Japan and South Korea.
The industrialization of China means China can build anything from scratch. China builds and sells to overseas companies giant super freight tanker ships and super tankers and giant container ships. China can mass produce trains, buses, trucks, automobiles, whatever consumer goods, etc.
Vietnam cannot do any of this.
Vietnam has steel mills and chemical plants and other “industrial infrastructure” but in no way on any scale near that of China or South Korea or Japan or even Taiwan.
China had vast steel mills and chemical plants and other “heavy industries” going back to the 1960s but under Mao the vast industrial apparatus was underutilized or utilized very inefficiently. Once the economic reforms under Deng Xiaoping were put in place that vast industrial infrastructure in place was put into proper use and the Chinese economy took off.
Vietnam can NEVER have in place the vast industrial infrastructure already had in place in the 1980s when China “took off” economically. THAT is what is going to stop Vietnam from ever matching the “China economic miracle” LET ALONE IN JUST TEN YEARS.
Now why the Vietnam youth strongly believe in the “will catch up in ten years” is the exact same reason that india youth believe that “india will be a superpower in 2020”: Vietnam and indian youth HAVE BEEN TOLD OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER BY THEIR GOVERNMENTS THAT “vietnam will be china by the 2020s” AND “india will surpass the United States by 2020!”
BOTH the Vietnam and indian go nment have in their interests to keep telling their young people that the future of their country is going be golden BECAUSE VIETNAM AND iNDIA WANT TO KEEP THEIR YOUNG PEOPLE DISTRACTED FROM THE PRESENT WHERE THERE IS HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT BY YOUNG PEOPLE. By keeping their young peoples attention “on the golden future” the Vietnamese and indian go nments can thus get their young people to forget their miserable present lives.
“mighty india” suffers from the same issue that Vietnam suffers from but with a one BILLION 380 MILLION people problem: “mighty india” does NOT have a large industrial infrastructure and thus has no path to lift one BILLION 200 MILLION indians out their largely poor rural lives: an “INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION” that is NEEDED to transform indian society.
What people who have no concept of economics don’t understand is that China is RIGHT NOW going through its “INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION” and that is why China has gone from a nation where 80% of the Chinese people where farmers to today where 60+% of Chinese live in cities where they work in factories or in other industrial jobs in the cities. THIS IS WHY CHINA IS HEADED TO BECOMING A “wealthy modern advanced nation” like Europe and North America and Japan and South Korea.
对于没有经济学概念的人来说，他们不明白的是中国现在就在经历“工业革命”，这就是中国已经从曾经80%人口都是农民变成了如今60 + %人口在城市生活、在城市的工厂工作的国家了。这就是为什么中国正向着“富裕的现代发达国家”发展，变得像欧洲、北美、日本和韩国一样。
Without that “INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION” for their societies, both Vietnam and india can only hope to become “middle income” nations like Brazil and Thailand and Iran.
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/49505.html 译者：Joyceliu
Yes, this decade is calculated based on the speed of development in China in the past. China’s GDP has grown by $9,000,000,000,000 billion over the past decade(2008–2018), according to the proportion of the Vietnamese population, Vietnam’s GDP needs to increase about 216,000,000,000 in the next decade, probably double the existing GDP. In 2018, Vietnam’s GDP growth rate is about 7%. If keep this number for 10 years, it is just enough to meet the double standard.
I have to say that the cultures of China and Vietnam are very similar, I often see Chinese youths saying the same thing to the United States.
If the US monetary policy and China's industrial policy do not change, Vietnam has the opportunity to catch up with China within ten years. Vietnam's advantage is the same as that of China in 2005，highly educated workers, relatively low salaries, stable political environment and long-term development policies. From the diplomatic environment, China benefited from the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Now Vietnam’s position in Sino-US relations is also similar. These conditions have given Vietnam a opportunity to develop rapidly, a relatively low population base makes it easier for GDP per capita to exceed China.
Chinese people often say that opportunities are hidden in risks, and the same opportunities must be accompanied by risks. The risks of Vietnam's development are those that are different from China.
1.Vietnam’s dollar debt is a time bomb. Vietnam’s GDP is not large enough, but debt exceeds 60% of GDP. If the dollar’s quantitative easing ends, the bomb will explode at any time and the exchange rate of the Vietnamese Dong may collapse. The recent US signal is worthy of attention.
2.Education is also a problem. In the basic education stage, Vietnam did a good job, but it seems there is no complete and forward-looking plan for higher education. This may be related to Vietnam’s failure to think about the destination of national development.
3.The Vietnamese army controls 10% of the country's GDP. Vietnam has banned military business since 2017, but its effect is weak
4.The fourth industrial revolution that people have been discussing, if this really happens, will it offset the low cost of labor in Southeast Asia? I mean, if the price of AI and robots is low enough, they replace the workers on the processing line, then the road to accumulate capital as a factory in the world is interrupted.
I saw someone saying that Vietnam can't do the whole industry chain like China, I don't think Vietnam needs it. It is enough for Vietnam to focus on just a few industries like South Korea or Germany.
At present, the direction of reform in Vietnam has moved away from the Chinese model, it is exploring its own path and let us wait and see.