Vietnam at a Glance
Moving to Vietnam
Your move to Vietnam will take you to an elongated country in Southeast Asia, sharing borders with Laos, China and Cambodia. Vietnam not only attracts visitors, tourists and travelers. It has also become an attractive destination for expats.
The Vietnamese are usually very welcoming to foreigners and expats. However, although its people are hospitable, Vietnam was a country long occupied by foreign powers and the resulting warfare devastated it. The impact and influence of both can be seen across the country, from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh, or Saigon as it was once known. After living through such a brutal and bitter history, the Vietnamese are very protective of their independence and national sovereignty.
Geography and Climate in Vietnam
Vietnam is located between the Gulf of Thailand and the Gulf of Tonkin, in Southeast Asia. It stretches from China in the North to Cambodia in the South. Due to the country’s lengthy topography, you will, upon moving to Vietnam, soon find that the weather differs strongly depending on where you live.
In Vietnam’s North, you will be exposed to a monsoonal climate, with alternating dry and monsoon seasons. The South is tropical and hot all year round. The meteorological divide is the Pass of the Cloud, north of Da Nang.
If you are moving to Vietnam and the Mekong Delta, you will also experience quite a few typhoons in this area during the rainy season. These typhoons often cause flooding and severe damage.
After moving to Vietnam, expats will recognize that it is a densely populated country which still faces various economic challenges. Vietnam is a Socialist Republic that gained its independence from France in 1945. In the second half of the 20th century, though, Vietnam has seen several wars as well as political and social unrest.
Although the economy is still dominated by state-owned businesses, the government has made several attempts to further economic liberalization and international integration. Moreover, there has been a new and significant move toward privatization. Beginning in early 2014, the government has been making plans to privatize more than 432 state owned enterprises over the next two years. Thus, expats are welcome if they bring a willingness to invest or sufficient professional qualifications to the table.
However, more reforms are necessary, as Vietnam’s labor force is constantly expanding. At the same time, the global recession has hurt the country’s export oriented economy. This may also make it difficult for less qualified expats moving to Vietnam to find work there.
After having reached one of the highest inflation rates in August 2011, the government decided to focus on stabilizing Vietnam’s economy instead of growing it. Early in 2012, Vietnam introduced an extensive reform program focusing on public investment, the banking sector, and state-owned enterprises. As of 2014, reform efforts seem to be paying off. Although it is somewhat hampered by a sluggish banking sector, the economy is recovering with the World Bank projecting a GDP growth of 5.4%.
Vietnam’s main income is derived from the manufacturing industries. The services sector, however, also offers lots of employment opportunities for foreign nationals moving to Vietnam.
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