Pham Nhat Vuong is ranked by Forbes magazine as the richest dollar billionaire in Vietnam
The super-rich in Vietnam today are “businessmen and officials,” a lawyer and civil society activist from Saigon told BBC News Vietnamese’s symposium on May 27, 2021.
“I think there are two groups of rich Vietnamese today, one is with businessmen and the second is with state officials,” said lawyer Le Cong Dinh, former deputy chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association.
Also according to this lawyer, rich people in the business group are the rich in terms of “public asset value” based on the value of their stock securities, while the wealthy bureaucrats are those whose assets may be not transparent.
In addition, “there are some that are not listed on the stock exchange but are also famous for being rich but are not officials“, said Associate Professor Pham Quy Tho, economist, a public policy expert from Hanoi.
Mr. Pham Quy Tho gave examples of Mr. Pham Nhat Vuong, Ms. Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, or Mr. Dao Hong Tuyen “lord of Tuan Chau island” or Mr. Dung “lime owner” (Huynh Uy Dung), etc.. are his enough numbers to form “a wealthy class in Vietnam.”
It can be seen that the rich in Vietnam is divided into two, one is to get rich from abroad and return to Vietnam to continue getting rich and the other is to get rich right at home, said former Dean of the Faculty of Public Policy, under the Ho Chi Minh University of Science and Technology Institute of Policy & Development, Ministry of Planning and Investment of Vietnam.
“These businessmen returning from abroad, especially getting rich from Eastern Europe, they were called ‘marshal’ of Eastern Europe,” added Mr. Pham Quy Tho.
“They are people who studied or worked in socialist countries in Eastern Europe from 1989 to 1991.”
When the Soviet Union collapsed, “the Vietnamese in Russia had a lot of opportunities,” said Tho.
“Starting with small trades from hotel stalls or arcades, and then gradually accumulating from retail trade in goods that are passed through…, but perhaps the greatest accumulation of capital may begin
the production of consumer goods.”
For the rich in Vietnam, there are two secrets to getting rich quickly, according to lawyer Le Cong Dinh.
There are many state officials becoming rich from corruption and their assets are never publicized, Dinh said.
“In Vietnam, people are well aware that there are officials at the ward level, they are already rich, let alone the district level or the city level, the provincial level, the central level,” said the lawyer from Saigon.
The second is to get rich from land, as Associate Professor Pham Quy Tho said: “most of them get rich from land and real estate.”
However, Mr. Tho also noted that now the “real estate pie” has “started with difficulties.”
That’s why they “started to move into service areas that also have great demand, which is airline services, then travel services,” he added.
From San Jose, California, USA, Dr. Nguyen Huu Liem, scholar, and jurist, added that this business shift in Vietnam “goes with the world’s economic shift” and is the same with the United States where he lives and works.
In another aspect, Associate Professor Pham Quy Tho noted that the rich in Vietnam “has a very close relationship with the government.” He said:
“Behind every official or every business or every giant that becomes rich fast, there are often state officials behind.
Without that relationships, I think it is very difficult to get rich in Vietnam, especially in a mechanism where power is not controlled openly and transparently.”
The guests participating in the Thematic Roundtable on Thursday, May 27, 2021, by BBC News Vietnamese all said that the rich play a very important role in the Vietnamese economy.
Dr. Nguyen Huu Liem, from California, said: “It is a development model for the next generation to learn” from the rich people who came before.
Comparing the state economy with the private sector, lawyer Le Cong Dinh assessed “the state economy completely failed,” therefore, he argues that the wealthy are entrepreneurs “who can help the economy move forward.”
Assoc. Pham Quy Tho said: “They are patriotic capitalists and we must encourage them, although the way to get rich may have problems.”
Tho also said that it is necessary to “see them as the locomotives that not only promote growth but also help other social groups of people.”
What are the legal sanctions?
Evaluation of the rich and super-rich class as entrepreneurs, from a professional career perspective, lawyer Le Cong Dinh:
“There is a very clear movement in the perception of Vietnamese businessmen in the matter of law compliance” compared to 10 years ago.
“The spirit of law compliance of Vietnamese businessmen, especially the rich, they pay great attention to law compliance.”
However, Mr. Dinh also said that Vietnam’s legal system is “i” leading to “taking advantage of loopholes in the law to make a profit.”
“The problem is that the state does not recognize those loopholes and fills them with stricter laws and regulations. Business people often take advantage of the loopholes to have the opportunity to get rich.”
“Then the problem is how the state creates a full and strict legal corridor to manage the development process of the Vietnamese economy and especially create favorable conditions for Vietnamese businessmen to earn money. money legally,” added lawyer Dinh.