Vietnam = “China lite”

From The Economist, 24 April 2008:

It is tempting to view Vietnam as a mini-China, since both countries are run by ardently capitalist communists, but there are differences. A foreign diplomat in Hanoi who used to serve in Beijing says that “everything here is more moderate than in China.” Vietnam is a bit less harsh with dissidents than China, and its capitalism too is less red in tooth and claw. Its health and education services have adapted more successfully to the transition to a market economy. Its press is strictly controlled, as in China, but the growing numbers of internet surfers have free access to most foreign news websites: there is no Vietnamese equivalent of the Great Firewall of China. …

China enforced a one-child policy harshly; Vietnam had a two-child policy, pursued half-heartedly. Whereas China is already greying, Vietnam’s post-war baby-boomers are now coming into their prime, and rapid economic growth has been providing jobs for them all. HSBC‘s chief in Vietnam, Tom Tobin, notes that in a decade or two, when much of the rest of the world will be ageing rapidly, Vietnam’s boomers will still be at the most productive phase of their careers.

This so reminds me of Malaysia:

Noting that higher education and scientific innovation were the keys to riches for Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, Vietnam is wooing foreign high-tech firms and inviting rich countries to set up universities and training facilities on its soil. An Australian university, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, has already opened state-of-the-art campuses in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. A German university and several South Korean technical colleges are planned. Meanwhile families from the prime minister’s downwards are sending their youngsters to study abroad.

But perhaps, lacking Malaysia’s uneven racial-preference policies, Vietnam will advance more in the way of South Korea — regardless of the communist government.

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