#Asia A peek into the three major themes to be explored this coming Echelon Vietnam


The return of the Viet Kieu, Vietnam’s future gems & growing global interest


With Echelon Vietnam early bird tickets launched yesterday, we’ve been steadily gearing up our efforts to make this one incredible event you wouldn’t want to miss!

Echelon Vietnam will focus on the explosive potential of the nation – a fact we have already established here – and explore three underlying themes surrounding the rise of Asia’s next dragon.

We thought we’d give you a sneak peek of what’s to expect this November:

1. The Returnees

The majority of the 4 million Vietnamese people residing overseas today left the country as refugees after the fall of Saigon in 1975. These Vietnamese are better referred to as Viet Kieu in their motherland, which literally means ‘Overseas Vietnamese’.

While official figures aren’t concrete, it is reported that between 2004 – 2013, approximately 3,000 Viet Kieu returned from abroad to live permanently in Ho Chi Minh City. Additionally, 9,000 were given long-term residential permits for work and investment purposes. The majority of these Viet Kieu return from the United States, where the largest Vietnamese immigrant population resides.

Given Vietnam’s burgeoning economy, the nation has witnessed an influx of Vietnamese-born entrepreneurs who realise the potential of returning to their homeland.

While local sentiments towards the Viet Kieu are mixed, the fact remains that the return of the Viet Kieu is indeed a reality.

So, what does this mean for Vietnam?

Returning Viet Kieu are an important aspect of Vietnam’s economy – an additional source of investment – and the government realises that.

range of incentives are already in place to encourage more Viet Kieu to return home.

Apart from additional resources, foreign-educated Viet Kieu also transfer knowledge and technology acquired from abroad. With Vietnam’s ambitious outlook of developing its own Silicon Valley, these returnees will be an undeniable asset.


2. The next generation of hidden gems

With Vietnam’s median age standing at 30 years old, the country is buzzing with a large and youthful workforce.

However, the full potential stems from a strong cultural affinity towards science, technology, engineering and mathematical skills. Vietnam’s students are often given early exposure to computer science and training – and they shine in these areas during international examinations. Clearly, the nation’s talent pool extends far beyond returning Viet Kieu.

Over the past decade, IT-related businesses in Vietnam rose from obscurity, with close to 14,000 businesses in the industry today.

Even global technology giants are eager to tap on Vietnam’s talent pool. This year, Samsung announced its $300million investment to develop an R&D center in Hanoi. In a similar vein, LG, Microsoft, Panasonic and Toshiba (to name a few) have also made investments into Vietnam.

Vietnam’s leaders know that in order to fully tap on its talent pool, it must actively cultivate a skilled tech workforce. An array of programmes are already set in place to further develop the local IT talent.

Also read: Here’s why this Swede thinks Vietnam has the tech talent Scandinavia needs


Rising Global Interests

This year alone, Vietnam’s tech scene witnessed its fair share of high-coverage investment stories and saw local fintech, MoMo, making headlines earlier in the year.

Also read: It’s time for Vietnam: fintech startup MoMo raises US$28M from big banks

With just a fraction of the population owning a debit card or a bank account, imagine the possibility of converting this large ‘unbanked’ population to mobile service platforms. Rest assured, foreign investors are paying close attention.

An interplay of numerous factors have given rise to Vietnam’s booming foreign direct investments. Apart from governmental commitment, Vietnam’s membership in the World Trade Organization and Trans Pacific Partnership has rapidly diverted international attention towards its economic landscape.

So… Echelon Vietnam 2016?

If you’re keen to meet returning Viet Kieu entrepreneurs, access some of Vietnam’s most promising startup talents and gain invaluable insights and networking opportunities, Echelon Vietnam is the absolute place to be!

Be sure not to miss our on invaluable insights from our exciting list of top-notch speakers.

Early bird tickets are available for a limit time only – grab them here!

Image credit: Flickr / Espen Storsve

Echelon returns to Vietnam on the 18th and 19th of November in Ho Chi Minh City. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to gain first-hand access to all the action in Vietnam!

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