Saigon: Dynamic City of the Future

Daily News - Saigon/HCMC: Jan. 20, 2017

This week it was announced that Ho Chi Minh City is the second most dynamic city in the world!

A study by Chicago-based investment management company Jones Long Lasalle (JLL) revealed that HCMC is a “high potential city”, an assessment based on the city’s “Low costs, rapid consumer market expansion and high levels of foreign direct investment”.

This is great news for Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam in general, but it begs the question: how has the city made such progress?

Secrets of Saigon’s success

The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Christine Lagarde has been a long-time supporter of Vietnam’s global ambitions, and a has spoken about its potential growth. And for good reason – with an ever-growing tech sector, Saigon is drawing more and more companies to Vietnam.

Saigon’s “silicon valley” may be in its infancy, but it’s quickly gaining pace as the hot new place for tech startups and existing global brands to base their hi-tech manufacturing operations.

City skycrapers Saigon

Aiding this growth is a highly skilled new generation of young Vietnamese workers, who are ready to tackle the demands of Saigon’s new science and tech markets. In fact, a recent study found Vietnam’s science education to be eighth best in the world. This news is not lost on global companies looking for a place to make and design their products.

HCMC is also benefitting from Vietnam’s increasing openness to foreign investment in both the public and private sectors. Huge malls such as the Singapore-funded VivoCity are propelling the city into a consumerist future. Meanwhile, grand projects such as the Ho Chi Minh City Metro, which is partly funded by the Japan Bank for International Co-Operation (JICA), are shining examples of how foreign money is pumping new energy into the city.

Challenges ahead

It is important to repeat that the position Ho Chi Minh City enjoys is based on its potential for future growth, not its existing prosperity. There are many pitfalls to overcome before the benefits of its newfound status flourish.

And let’s not forget that while Saigon enjoys a boom in attention, the rest of Vietnam continues to struggle with relative poverty. National GDP stands at $193.6 billion, with a per capita GDP of $1684.87. Country-wide investment is vital to the health and wealth of this frontier economy.

Saigon dynamic city

Investment in infrastructure also needs ongoing attention. Unreliable internet connections have the potential to hamper Saigon’s efforts to become the tech centre of Southeast Asia. Similarly, ever-increasing traffic congestion doesn’t look likely to improve anytime soon.


Ho Chi Minh City certainly has the potential to become a major hub in what is more and more an East-facing world economy. Perfectly positioned to tackle both Eastern and Western investment interests, and with plans to develop more domestic businesses, the future seems bright.

City view HCMC

However, with abject poverty continuing to blight Vietnam, Saigon’s growth must be considered in a country-wide context. Only through across-the-board investment in social projects can Vietnam – and HCMC – continue their journey to dynamic success.



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