It’s economy is strong, it’s bigger than you think, more diverse than you realize and has become an important cog in the global supply chain. Which country am I describing? Vietnam, and we’ll be there in a few weeks advancing this fall’s Follow the Supply Chain Study Abroad program.
Vietnam has the 15th largest population in the world and the 45th largest economy, placing it in the top 25 of economies in the world. Increasingly it is a location for manufacturing as China’s labor costs soar. In fact, Vietnam now exports $276 billion worth of goods, nearly a 100 percent increase over the last half decade and a 27 percent increase from 2017 to 2018.
The U.S. is the biggest recipient of Vietnam’s exports, followed by China, Japan and South Korea, illustrating Vietnam’s importance in the supply chain. Vietnam has also been improving its business climate with the World Bank’s Doing Business Index ranking it 68th (China is 78th by comparison). The World Bank also listed it as one of the countries with the most improvement in ease of doing business in recent years. Such improvements include those in the regulatory environment, credit availability, contract enforcement and electricity access.
On the latter, despite improvements, infrastructure is still a challenge in Vietnam. Roads, rail and ports are still being built and improved but there is a long ways to go. Crossing the street in big cities, is still a treacherous endeavor (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmOVAPxg9v4)
The Follow the Supply Chain Study Abroad program will bring students to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), the main business hub of the country located in the south. With a young and vibrant feel, new infrastructure, and ease of access to ports in the south and manufacturing facilities just north of the city, HCM is an up and coming metropolis.
The study abroad program will provide students an opportunity to see and follow the supply chain up close in Vietnam and here in Washington state. Students interested in the program can apply here (link). Companies and organizations Interested in supporting the program, please shoot me an email or give me a call and I’ll let you know how.
In the meantime, keep a close eye on Vietnam. It means business.