Communist Vietnam’s Ultra Wealthy Capitalists

The official newspaper of the Communist Party of Vietnam reports the country now has 195 “ultra-high net worth individuals” (worth $30 million or more), the latest consequence of Vietnam’s 30-year transition from collectivism to capitalism.

Not only has capitalism made a strong comeback.  Vietnam leads every country in Southeast Asia except Thailand in high wealth club growth — with 15% more members than last year — according to a new UBS report.  Vietnam’s 195 (the top 0.0002% of the country’s population) are said to control an aggregate of $20 billion in assets (about 15% of GDP).

Anyone paying close attention to Vietnam wouldn’t be surprised the country surpassed Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines in growing the ultra wealthy.

But why did the Communist Party newspaper report it?  Probably because pragmatic economics are now deemed more important than political ideology in a country with bold global aspirations.  The article points out, for example, that Vietnam holds promise for private global bankers (which would help grow Vietnam’s wealth).

The UBS study attributes the ultra wealth growth to investments in infrastructure and burgeoning private consumption — driven by a growing middle class and social reforms.   But optimism and consumer confidence are just part of the story; the rise of Vietnam also is related to economic slowdown in China — where the number of ultra wealthy individuals dropped 5%.

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