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How Vietnam’s Rich Earn Their Millions

Two words: Real estate.

Citing an unnamed report, VietnamNetBridge found that nearly 30% of Vietnamese millionaires made their money from real estate investments and development.

As living standards began to raise in the early 1990’s, the first wave of local businessmen, who made money abroad, began investing in local properties. With Vietnam’s economic boom, real estate values skyrocketed.

Those who bought land at bargain prices reaped massive profits as they sold off their properties to be redeveloped into residential towers and office buildings. This was the path to wealth for Vietnam’s only member of the Forbes list of richest people, Pham Nhat Vuong, who is worth $1.5 billion:

"Vuong started up his business as a fast food manufacturer and a real estate trader in a foreign country. However, since the day he returned to Vietnam, Vuong has been mostly pouring money into the real estate sector."

The report states that the richest Vietnamese families made their money in: real estate investments, finance and banking, mining, seafood, service industry and the communication industry.

With the numbers of multimillionaires increasing by 150% over the last 5 years, men have been the primary producers of wealth. According the to Guardian UK :

"There is no breakdown by gender, probably because women like Thuy Tien are still rare. Vietnam remains overwhelmingly male-dominated. There is only one woman in the 14-member ruling Communist politburo and overall equality is badly lacking. Problems such as bride trafficking and forced prostitution are rife. Yet, for better or worse, women have been playing a hidden role in the breakneck development."

While real estate elevated the initial wave of millionaires, the lukewarm market has forced people into other sectors such as technology and telecommunication, natural resource exploitation, retailing, finance and investment.

Many of the above industries could be considered easy money in that all you need is capital to get a seat at the table. But, for real and sustained economic development, Vietnam will need become a center of innovation to create weath from ideas rather than natural resources and property.

More gender equality would be solid too. 

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