VietNamNet Bridge – A World Bank report recently released shows that the Vietnamese middle class has been expanding rapidly with 1.5 million people each year in recent years.
Le Dang Doanh, a renowned economist, said that Vietnam has gained significant achievements in hunger elimination and poverty reduction, paving the way for a higher number of people to join the middle class.
Doanh said that the middle class makes investments in the national economy, creates jobs, develop services, and promotes science and technology development.
Many people, however, have tried to enrich themselves quickly by making investments in real estate, cryptocurrency or speculative services, he said.
Sharing the same view, Ngo Tri Long, also a respected economist, said it is necessary to compare the number of people joining the middle class and the number of poor and near-poor in order to have a comprehensive view of socio-economic development.
We need to find answers to some questions. Do the 1.5 million people get rich from ethical business, or from exploiting legal loopholes? Are they educated workers, or farmers?” Long said.
“It would be good if the 1.5 million people joining the middle class are farmers or scientists who got rich from their works and brainpower,” Long said.
Tien Phong quoted Nguyen Tri Hieu, a banking expert, as saying that in developed countries, the proportion of the middle class working in manufacturing, technology and commercial enterprises is higher than in Vietnam.
The high percentage of people getting rich from real estate, securities and cryptocurrency trading should be seen as a serious concern, he said.
Hieu noted that the number of people with monthly income of $3,000 and higher is still very modest, while the majority in the middle class earn $1,500-2,000 a month.
Unlike other countries, where the middle class people live in many localities, in Vietnam, they reside mostly in the large cities of Hanoi, HCMC and Da Nang.
Phung Duc Tung, head of the Mekong Institute of Development Studies, said that real estate trade and securities investments are legal investment channels, which helps enterprises raise funds. When securities investors buy stocks, their money goes to production and business purposes.
Expected to account for 33 percent of Vietnam’s population by 2020, the middle class is a major contributor to the country’s development
A survey by Brookings Institute found that the growth rate of the Vietnamese middle class in the 2005-2015 period was 14 percent per annum and it is expected to rise to 18 percent in 2016-2020.