Will Vietnam’s economy remain strong?

Will Vietnam’s economy remain strong?

As many trading companies battle the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ho Chi Minh City-based entrepreneur Jewel Nguyen is being rushed off her feet with orders.

In the past year, her business Viego Global has been in negotiations with hundreds of distributors, resellers and brokers for supplies of products such as coffee, coconuts, textiles and pharmaceuticals. She’s fielded inquiries from markets including the US, Saudi Arabia, Iran, South Korea and the Caribbean region. Not bad for a start-up.

“One hundred per cent of the customers are new, and we didn’t know them before,” says Jewel, the company’s founder and CEO, who attributes the company’s success, in part, to taking advantage of digital marketing to acquire new customers.

The quick commercial success of Viego Global’s team reflects business confidence in Vietnam, which has seen the South-East Asian nation outperform most countries during the pandemic.

The Vietnamese economy grew by 2.9 per cent in 2020, beating even China, on the back of its growing manufacturing base and strong domestic demand. The Lowy Institute, a Sydney-based think tank, has crunched data to rank the pandemic response of almost 100 markets, placing New Zealand in top spot, with Vietnam and Taiwan a close second and third.

Jewel says such positives are also encouraging highly trained graduates, professionals and other Việt Kiều – the term for Vietnamese living outside the country – to return home.

“They previously studied abroad and stayed to work,” she says. “Now a new wave will return to Vietnam and contribute to the country.”