Vietnam is gearing-up to be an export powerhouse and the process is just starting.

After spending most of the 20th century either under colonial control or armed conflict, Vietnam enters the new century as one of the most dynamic economies in Asia. With trade, capital flows, and growth shifting from the western to the eastern hemisphere, the country's favorable demographics, geography, and growth fundamentals create one of the most compelling investment stories in recent memory.

Vietnam is the world's 13th most populous country with 86 million people mostly between the ages of 25-35. The country's post-war baby boom demographic is highly ambitious, industrious, and captivated with modernisation. Isolated from global markets until the mid-90's, normalisation of diplomatic relations has sparked a rapid transition. Since Dragon Capital was established in 1994, the nation has visibly evolved from bikes to motorbikes to cars. Vietnam is centuries of material development compressed into decades.

Furthermore, the government is tempering "go for broke" growth with equality resulting in political and social stability. Starting with a universal land tenure program that incentivised the rural population, peasants became small farmers and revolutionised agriculture productivity. From famines in the 80's Vietnam evolved by the 90's into one of the top five global exporters of rice. The trend continues, as produce advances from low-value rice to coffee and aquaculture. Less competitive countries are left fumbling with trade barriers and subsidies as the only means to maintain market share against the Vietnamese small farmer.

With WTO these trade barriers will be much more difficult to unilaterally erect, furthermore it opens Vietnam for the next stage of development: manufacturing. So far the country remains at the lowest rung of textile production, but with a coastal population, continuing wage pressure in China, political stability, and an eager workforce the nation looks primed for growth. Intel, Canon, Foxconn, Olympus, Brother, and all the major electronics manufacturers are investing on a grand scale. Vietnam is gearing-up to be an export powerhouse and the process is just starting.

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