Dr. Alan Phan, a Vietnamese-American millionaire who has spent four decades doing business in the United States and China, said that Việt Nam now has a desirable population, with 50 million people under 30 years of age that could make many countries envious.
The nation currently tops the region’s human resource potential list with 3.5 million overseas Vietnamese boasting vast work experience and around 10,000 local people holding doctoral degrees, Dr. Phan pointed out.
It can create a competitive advantage on the international stage with such a huge workforce, he said, adding that learning from Singapore and Switzerland, small countries that have so far succeeded in securing a niche in the global market, will bring Việt Nam good lessons.
Dr. Phan elaborated that these two have successfully managed to become the world’s financial hubs through open, effective, and transparent policies even though their economy is not as big as the US or UK.
In that same way, he said, Việt Nam can compete with China in terms of investment attraction as investors are trying to avoid putting all their eggs in one Chinese basket, or with Thailand in the tourism industry by hinging on ecotourism, exploration packages, and services for the retired.
Hi-tech agriculture and IT are the two sectors in which Việt Nam can outperform other regional rivals if it is able to put forward consistent and innovative solutions, the speaker said.
He insisted that the nation should pay far more attention to the four very important intangible assets that can help its economy take off in the future, namely human capital, national brand name, market position, and social and familial culture.
“Such ‘soft’ assets play the most important role in the competitive edge of a future economy,” the Vietnamese American said.
Dr. Phan, a familiar name in the Vietnamese press, is the author of nine Vietnamese- and English-language books on emerging markets.
He also serves as a columnist for such local publications as Việt Nam Financial Review, Saigon Times, and VietnamNet.
He currently chairs Viasa, a fund which is based in Hong Kong.