Big Week for Vietnam: Good and Challenging

November 17, 2006

In this blog, I am always eager to discuss Vietnam and its booming technology industry. With software development centers across Vietnam, Harvey Nash knows firsthand how rapidly this country is becoming a valuable contributor to the global technology marketplace. The WTO just last week economized Vietnam’s increasing influence in the global economy and community, making the country its 150th member. Bill Gates visited Vietnam this year and now another tremendously high-profile American is stopping by. President George Bush, during his eight-day Asia tour will visit Vietnam and attend the Pacific Rim summit in Vietnam.

Many pundits are wondering how the Vietnamese will receive the President now that the U.S. legislation to normalize trade relations failed in the U.S. House of Representatives. I think the President can expect a cooler reception as so many in Vietnam felt the trade deal was a done deal after the WTO entrance. Cooler because of shock. Many businesses in the U.S. were surprised too, after all Vietnam has the fastest growing economy outside of China.
But I believe the shock will wear off quickly and the world we continue to focus on the vast talent and capabilities of Vietnam. Companies like Intel, Nike and Microsoft are already making large, long-term commitments to the Vietnamese marketplace, which is incredible testimony to the viability of the country’s talent resources and business expertise.
It is my belief that the U.S.’s approach is mimicking that of our earlier approach to China. After years of standing on the outside looking in to the Chinese marketplace, judging and withholding trade incentives, the U.S. has decided to engage. Many believed that bringing fair practices and better employment standards to China through more business partnerships can only continue to slowly improve the country and its citizens’ quality of life. And they have seen success.
Now it seems the U.S. government may be eager to use that distanced approach on Vietnam. However, we could be missing a very pretty boat waiting too long to engage this exciting marketplace. I say jump into Vietnam while you can and there is still room for big opportunities, big success and big change!