Vietnam 2


A tree map of Vietnam's exports in 2012
Tree map showing Vietnam’s exports

In 1986, the Sixth National Congress of the CPV introduced socialist-oriented market economic reforms as part of the Đổi Mới reform program. Private ownership began to be encouraged in industry, commerce and agriculture and state enterprises were restructured to operate under market constraints. This led to the five-year economic plans being replaced by the socialist-oriented market mechanism. As a result of these reforms, Vietnam achieved approximately 8% annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth between 1990 and 1997. The United States ended its economic embargo against Vietnam in early 1994. Despite the 1997 Asian financial crisis affecting Vietnam by causing an economic slowdown to 4–5% growth per annum, its economy began to recover in 1999, with growth at an annual rate of around 7% from 2000 to 2005 making it one of the world’s fastest growing economies. According to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam (GSO), growth remained strong even in the face of the late-2000s global recession, holding at 6.8% in 2010, although Vietnam’s year-on-year inflation rate hit 11.8% in December 2010 with the country’s currency, the Vietnamese đồng being devalued three times.

Deep poverty, defined as the percentage of the population living on less than $1 per day, has declined significantly in Vietnam and the relative poverty rate is now less than that of China, India and the Philippines. This decline can be attributed to equitable economic policies aimed at improving living standards and preventing the rise of inequality. These policies have included egalitarian land distribution during the initial stages of the Đổi Mới program, investment in poorer remote areas, and subsidizing of education and healthcare. Since the early 2000s, Vietnam has applied sequenced trade liberalization, a two-track approach opening some sectors of the economy to international markets. Manufacturing, information technology and high-tech industries now form a large and fast-growing part of the national economy. Though Vietnam is a relative newcomer to the oil industry, it is currently the third-largest oil producer in Southeast Asia with a total 2011 output of 318,000 barrels per day (50,600 m3/d). In 2010, Vietnam was ranked as the eighth-largest crude petroleum producer in the Asia and Pacific region. The United States purchased the highest amount of Vietnam’s exports, while goods from China were the most popular Vietnamese import.

Photograph of Vietnam's tallest skyscraper, the Landmark 81, located in Bình Thạnh District in Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam’s tallest skyscraper, the Landmark 81 located in Bình Thạnh, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).

According to a December 2005 forecast by Goldman Sachs, the Vietnamese economy will become the world’s 21st-largest by 2025, with an estimated nominal GDP of $436 billion and a nominal GDP per capita of $4,357. Based on findings by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2012, the unemployment rate in Vietnam stood at 4.46%. That same year, Vietnam’s nominal GDP reached US$138 billion, with a nominal GDP per capita of $1,527. The HSBC also predicted that Vietnam’s total GDP would surpass those of Norway, Singapore and Portugal by 2050. Another forecast by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2008 stated Vietnam could be the fastest-growing of the world’s emerging economies by 2025, with a potential growth rate of almost 10% per annum in real dollar terms. Apart from the primary sector economytourism has contributed significantly to Vietnam’s economic growth with 7.94 million foreign visitors recorded in 2015.


Much of Vietnam’s modern transportation network can trace its roots to the French colonial era when it was used to facilitate the transportation of raw materials to its main ports. It was extensively expanded and modernized following the partition of Vietnam. Vietnam’s road system includes national roads administered at the central level, provincial roads managed at the provincial level, district roads managed at the district level, urban roads managed by cities and towns and commune roads managed at the commune level. In 2010, Vietnam’s road system had a total length of about 188,744 kilometers (117,280 mi) of which 93,535 kilometers (58,120 mi) are asphalt roads comprising national, provincial and district roads. The length of the national road system is about 15,370 kilometers (9,550 mi) with 15,085 kilometers (9,373 mi) of its length paved. The provincial road system has around 27,976 kilometers (17,383 mi) of paved roads while 50,474 kilometers (31,363 mi) district roads are paved.

Scroll to Top