Why is Vietnam still poor?




Edward Kenway

I’m Chinese, I went to Vietnam for 2 times. I discover a very interesting thing

vietnam GDP per capita is about 3000USD now, in this level we got mongolia, India, Indonesia and Philippine

But if you have been to vietnam, you will realize that vietnam is the best among them




At least in vietnam, i’ve never seen any extreme poor people in vietnam who are totally homeless. Lots of extreme poor people you can find in India and Phlipine, but in vietnam most people just live in a way “not rich but still acceptable”

and also, the education and the medical level, vietnam always does the best among them



The problem of vietnamese economy now is mainly about industrial system

vietnam was an agricultural country, and doesn’t have a comlete industrial system. Japan built its industrial system before WW2, Korea because of US support, and China by USSR support. All of eastern asian countries got complete industrial system, which can help us develop our own technology and find our own way to walk as an independent industry nation

While Vietnam doesn’t have this condition




You can see after the political conflict between Japan and China in 2013, many japanese companies left china to build their factories in vietnam. Western countries and korea also invested a lot in vietnam, and vietnam has become one of the largest world factory because of low labour costs. You can find lots of goods in the market, once made in china or made in S korea, now made in vietnam.

And now 7 years passed, the earning per capita of vietnam is still low, only $3000



Because all the profits were taken by foreign companies, cuz they own the core technology. Vietnam still hasn’t learnt anything from them and start their own manufacturer.

By manufacturing Ford and Benz, now japan got honda and nissan. By working for simens and edison, korea got sumsang and L. by letting Apple set facotries in Canton, now china got Huawei, iaomi.



Vietnam does not have his own industrial system, that’s why you could regard vietnam as the sacrifice of the globalization which is under western rule now

But I’m sure if Vietnam can establish their own complete industrial system and find his own role in world economy, Vietnam could become an economy far much bigger than Taiwan and South Korea, almost similar to japan.



almost 100 million hardworking and clever people (4times more than Taiwan and 2 times more than South Korea), good international political environment (no hostile enemies as North Korea to South Korea, China is a threat but also a partner, good relations with western world), enough resources from South China Sea.

Vietnam is definelty the most potential country in this world



PS: some comments wrote that Vietnam got problem of heavy corruption. It’s just common in almost all the develo countries. To 1980–1990 for South Korea and 10 years ago, human right and corruption were also a big problem. The political governance could get reform from economical development with the upgrade of production relations.

PS:有些评论说越南腐败问题十分严重。几乎所有的发展中国家都普遍存在这个问题。10年前的1980 ~ 1990年,韩国的人 权和腐败还是一个大问题呢。随着生产关系的升级,政治治理可以随着经济的发展完成变革。




Wares of the World

Why are Vietnamese working so hard, but Vietnam is still so poor? I believe this is a question of many people.

However, in terms of lifestyle, I think Vietnam is actually closer to Southeast Asian countries, such as Thailand. People like a slow pace of life and want to spend a lot of time with their families. I don’t think Vietnamese are lazy, but most people “work for the sake of living”. They usually do not "live for work". I saw on a self-media platform in China that a Chinese boss opened several factories in Vietnam and complained that Vietnamese workers do not work so hard and are difficult to control.



You know, Chinese workers are very disciplined and usually work long hours, even if this is really not something to brag about. When I work, my colleagues can stay at the company for four days without going home. They usually sleep for a while at the desk and continue to work when they are busy. It sounds really incredible.


In the 19th century, the feudal monarchy of Vietnam used modern China as an example to resist all contact and influence from the West. This stubborn and naive stance makes the country lag far behind the most advanced countries in terms of society, economy and technology. When the late modernists (Japan, Russia) adopted many Western approaches in order to maintain their independence, China and Vietnam could easily fall victim to the imperialist powers.


Therefore, Vietnam was finally colonized by France. Colonists are generally bad, but they do it differently. For example, the British are not benevolent rulers, but through the development of public institutions and infrastructure, they have laid a good foundation for the future modernization of Malaysia and Singapore. The French colonial rule of Vietnam in 1870-1945 was almost entirely concentrated on the extraction of raw materials, and its contribution to the development of Vietnam was almost zero.


Thirty years of war (1945-75) resulted in the massive loss of opportunities for Vietnam to resume economic development in the early post-colonial era, not to mention the terrible material damage and loss of life in the country.

It was not until the 1990s that Vietnam began to open up. At that time, Vietnam's economy was already impoverished. At the same time, China has established some solid industrial infrastructure and joined the global manufacturing supply chain.

持续了三十年的战争(1945- 1975)不仅导致越南在后殖民时代初期丧失了恢复经济发展的大好机会,更给国家带来了可怕的物质损失和生命损失。


After opening up, Vietnam has achieved some economic growth. However, macroeconomic policies have been poorly managed in several aspects, leading to periods of high inflation, high public debt, trade deficits, currency fluctuations and asset bubbles. Slow progress in improving state-owned enterprises has weakened Vietnamese efforts to increase productivity.


Vietnam’s approach to infrastructure development is chaotic and unsystematic. Vietnam’s resources are not concentrated on a few large-scale projects that can bring "value for money", but are scattered on many small development projects, which do not bring great economic value (small airports far away from economic activity areas, Seaports, roads and oil refineries).

In addition to the above, there are various related problems such as the poor higher education system and the brain drain, which are the reasons why Vietnam still poor.






Bao Nguyen

Vietnam was officially unified in 1975, after decades of war that destroyed the country. Industry and services were nonexstent, and agricultural output was poor. Everything had to be provided by the USSR and China.

Immediately after the fall of Saigon, the US imposed a trade embargo on Vietnam, further worsening the already destroyed economy. In 1978, Vietnam signed an alliance pact with the USSR, infuriating and alienating China. (At this time China and the USSR were bitter rivals instead of allies)



In 1978, Vietnam invaded Cambodia, officially in retaliation of border attacks by Khmer Rouge forces. China and the US condemned Vietnam for its action. China then invaded Vietnam in 1979 to test the Vietnam-USSR alliance. When they withdrew, their forces destroyed all of the infrastructure and industry in the regions they occupied. For the next decade, China continuously made border attacks and artillery strikes, forcing Vietnam to allocate troops to defend the border. Coupled with having to support the occupation troops in Cambodia, Vietnam had no funds to invest in the economy.


In 1986, an economic reform was initiated, pushing towards a free market economy. Needless to say, the economy boomed as a result. The US embargo was lifted in 1994 by president Bill Clinton. In 1995, full diplomatic relations with the US was established, and Vietnam joined ASEAN. In 2007, Vietnam joined WTO.


The results of 30 years of development:


In 1985, Vietnam’s GDP was 14 billion $. In 2017, 223 billion (Worldbank), a staggering growth. And Vietnam is still develo at a breakneck rate. Our country started late, but we are trying our best to catch up. Yes we are still poor, but not so much. If you come here, you will find an exciting country bustling with the spirit of entrepreneurship. That vegetable seller on the street? Do not underestimate her, she might have more money in her bank account than you!


Let me tell you a true story:

When I was small, our neighbor was a scrap metal dealer. She went on her bicycle everyday to collect cans, old pots, and bits of metal to sell to the steel plant nearby.

Today, she owns 4 steel mills, producing a million tons of steel every year.




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