• Economic Reforms and beneficial global trends have helped transform Vietnam into a middle-income economy in one generation
  • The Australian Government is committed to being a part of Vietnam’s growth and fostering trade relationships between the nations
  • Across different industries several ASX companies are doing business in Vietnam with future growth plans as its economy scales

Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia, described by the World Bank as a “development success story”.

With a population of 97 million, the World Bank said the launch of Đổi Mới (the name given to economic reforms) in 1986, along with beneficial global trends, have helped propel Vietnam from being one of the world’s poorest nations to a middle-income economy in one generation.

“Between 2002 and 2021, GDP per capita increased 3.6 times, reaching almost US$3700,” the bank said.

“Poverty rates (US$3.65/day, 2017 PPP) declined from 14% in 2010 to 3.8% in 2020.”

Vietnam is part of the ‘Tiger Cub Economies’,  the name given to five developing economies of Southeast Asia which also include Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

Vietnam is now aiming to become a high-income country by 2045. The country also wants to become greener and has committed to reducing methane emissions by 30% and halting deforestation by 2030 while achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

And Australia is keen to be part of Vietnam’s growth with 2023 marking 50 years since diplomatic relations were established between the two countries.

Work is now underway to elevate the Australia-Vietnam relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese earlier this month visiting Vietnam to meet with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and other senior leaders.

According to the Government, bilateral talks focussed on ways to grow trade and investment, building on an expansion of two-way trade which rose by almost 40 in FY22.

From agriculture, education, manufacturing, and mining Albanese said Australia is working to continue to build its trade ties with Vietnam.

“Vietnam’s economic growth is nothing short of remarkable – and I am proud that Australia has played a role with increasing trade, investment, and development assistance,” Albanese said at a speech in Hanoi.

“I look forward to continued discussions to elevate the Australia Vietnam relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.”

ASX stocks also see potential in doing business in Vietnam. Here’s some we’ve noticed:


EZZ Life Science Holdings (ASX:EZZ)

The Australian life science company recently showcased its care products and equipment for mothers, babies, and toddlers at the Vietbaby exhibition in Vietnam.

EZZ said the healthcare product industry has been experiencing significant growth in recent years, both in Southeast Asia and specifically Vietnam.

According to a recent Insights report, herbal, conventional, and curing supplement products for both adults and children accounted for more than 70% of the total health supplement market share in Vietnam in 2021, establishing them as the dominant product categories.

EZZ recently launched its products on Lazada, one of Southeast Asia’s leading e-commerce marketplaces owned by Alibaba Group with more than 300 million registered users across six countries.

With the middle-class in Southeast Asia experiencing rapid expansion and a substantial increase in disposable incomes, EZZ said the region is observing an unparalleled surge in the demand for personal care products.

The company said individuals are increasingly giving greater importance to their own well-being, as well as that of their families, leading to a growing trend.


Blackstone Minerals (ASX:BSX)

BXS is focused on building an integrated battery metals processing business in the north of Vietnam that produces NCM precursor products for Asia’s growing lithium-ion battery industry.

BSX executive Tessa Kutscher told Stockhead  there are many pros for doing business in Vietnam, including the country’s abundant renewable energy and low capital costs.

“The existing business has a modern nickel mine built to Australian standards, which successfully operated as a mechanised underground nickel mine from 2013 to 2016,” Kutscher said.

Currently under care maintenance, the mine will be complemented by a larger concentrator, and a refinery to support integrated production.

“The reason for the decision to invest into these projects is based on the region being an emerging nickel sulfide district with several exploration targets yet to be tested as well as the high exposure to hydroelectricity enabling the production of the lowest emission precursor as verified by Minviro and the Nickel Institute, ” Kutscher said.

She said Vietnam is very environmentally focused with their mine sitting between two of the country’s largest hydro power plants.

“We can actually go low carbon because of the power situation and Vietnam has made strong commitments around renewable energy,” she said.

She said the Vietnamese are also very smart, driven, willing to learn – and call themselves the ‘Tiger Cub economy’.

“They’re great people and the government is really supportive,” she said.


MAAS Group Holdings (ASX:MGH)

The diversified industrial group is another ASX stock doing business in Vietnam.  Established in 2002 with “one Bobcat and a tipper truck by Wes Maas”, MGH now spans construction materials, civil construction and hire, manufacturing and real estate divisions.

The company has a Vietnam manufacturing facility covering 30,000m2.  According to the MGH website the facility covers manufacturing of the Jacon equipment along with toll manufacturing for other organisations globally.

The company employs 193 locals at the facility, ranging in jobs from engineering, hydraulics, electrical, mechanical and welding.


Schrole Group (ASX:SCL) 

Global SaaS and ed-tech company SCL sells software into a lot of international schools into Vietnam to recruit teachers including in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.

Founder and managing director Rob Graham told Stockhead the company also does a lot of professional development in schools in Vietnam.

“It is a real growing market and very easy for us to do business in Vietnam,” he said.

“Getting payments from Vietnam is easier than China.

“For us the biggest opportunity is that Vietnam is such a growing market with big investment in education and growth of schools.”


Forbidden Foods (ASX:FFF)

The Aussie health food company is also targeting Vietnam along with Malaysia and China with its toddler and baby food range FUNCH.

Co-founder by CEO and MD Marcus Brown told Stockhead Vietnam is a very good up and coming market.

“Vietnam is far easier to navigate and do business with than China,” Brown said.

“They are far more commercial and far more capitalist in that sense and there’s obviously cultural barriers but the Vietnamese market is very fast growing.

“I think in time Vietnam could be a very large Asia hub which could compete very squarely with the labour markets of India and China.”

Bubs Australia (ASX:BUB)

Organic baby food company Bubs is another ASX food company selling into Vietnam.  BUB announced it had inked a deal with the Vietnam’s largest mother and baby store chain, Bibo Mart JS, in 2019.

The chain currently operates more than 135 stores across Vietnam and focuses on providing products for mothers through pregnancy and for children aged zero-to-six years old.

In 2019 BUB also entered a master distribution agreement with Viet Nam TVV Service and Trading Company Limited (TVV), one of the largest Vietnamese owned distributors in Vietnam’s infant nutrition industry, distributing to an extensive network of ~20,000 retail outlets.


The EZZ, BSX, MGH, SCL, FFF & BUB share price today:


At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While EZZ Life Science Holdings, Blackstone Minerals and Forbidden Foods are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.