In 30 years Vietnam has gone from one of the poorest nations on this planet to one of the most dynamic countries in Asia. Still, there’s plenty of work to be done. Here are the key moments.



Doi moi (Renovation) is launched at the 6th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam.



In December, the country is opened to foreign investment and the first licensed projects are registered in Vietnam the following year. In just two years, 211 projects are agreed with a registered capital of US$1.6 billion.



Australian telecommunications giant OTC works with the Vietnamese government to launch the Vietnam Vista satellite earth station. By 1989 the corporation has helped Vietnam upgrade its telecommunications system. Prior to this, Vietnam only had limited international telecommunications reach out of the country.



The Land Law is enacted which recognises private land-use rights for citizens of Vietnam. Farmers are permitted to use their land long-term and sell their products on the free market. They are no longer obliged to participate in cooperatives.



The collapse of the Soviet Union creates an urgency in Vietnam to reposition the economy so it is more outward-looking.



Five young artists based in Hanoi, who become known as The Gang of Five, hold their first exhibition. Their work ushers in a new period of contemporary art in Vietnam



A professor at the Australian National University, Rob Hurle, brings a modem to Vietnam, and is the considered to be the first person to connect the country to the internet. Official connection to the internet commences in 1997.



The Vietnamese constitution recognises the role of the private sector in the economy. This is preceded in 1990 by the Law on Private Enterprises. The law provides a legal basis for private business.



President Bill Clinton ends the US trade embargo with Vietnam. As a result, multi-national companies such as Coca-Cola enter the country. Prior to building a factory outside of Hanoi, Coca-Cola products are shipped in from Cambodia.



Apollo Vietnam opens in Hanoi. It is the first fully foreign-owned English language training company in Vietnam. Other language schools soon follow, kick-starting a sustained period of English-language training.



Vietnam becomes the seventh member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It is the first new entrant since Brunei joined in 1984.



Pete Peterson is appointed the first US ambassador to Vietnam since the end of the war.

The Ho Chi Minh City skyline in 2015


US President Bill Clinton visits Vietnam from Nov. 16 to Nov. 19. The following year a bilateral trade agreement is signed between the two countries.



The Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HoSTC) is formed. In 2007 it is renamed and upgraded to the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE). Together with the visit of President Clinton, it ushers in seven years of exponential growth.



Australian tertiary education institution, RMIT University, opens in Ho Chi Minh City. It is the first international university to operate a campus in Vietnam



My Dinh National Stadium is completed in Hanoi West. It ushers in the start of extensive suburban development in the area. The new stadium allows Vietnam to host the Southeast Asian Games for the first time in the country’s history.



From a price of approximately US$0.40 (VND6,000 per litre at the time), fuel prices start to rise. In five years they almost double, reaching a peak of US$1.20 (VND25,000 per litre) in 2013.



In anticipation of joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO), foreign investment laws are revised to make it easier to invest in Vietnam.



Vietnam joins the WTO. From pariah state to member of the WTO in under 15 years is a notable achievement. Together with the revised investment laws, this represents a pivotal moment in the economic development of Vietnam.



Widening trade imbalances, rising inflation and a bursting credit and property bubble cause the economy to go into recession. The Vietnamese dong is devalued three times in the space of a year in an attempt to keep the export-driven economy afloat.



Real estate prices in Vietnam crash. It takes more than five years for prices to reach the same levels they were in 2008.



Despite limited access, there is an exponential rise in new Facebook accounts in Vietnam. By the end of 2016, the country has 34.7 million users.



The first expressway, from Ho Chi Minh City to Trung Luong, opens. It is part of the North-South Expressway which will eventually connect Hanoi with Ho Chi Minh City. By 2020 there will be 2,500km of expressway in Vietnam.



From a poverty headcount of 58% in the early 1990s, according to the World Bank, the figure in 2010 has fallen to around 10%. At the same time, inequality is rising. Ethnic minorities now account for 65% of the poorest 10% of the population.



Work starts on the Hanoi Metro System. The master plan for the Hanoi Capital Region includes nine lines that are expect to transport over 3 million passengers a day.



Landmark 72 in the Keangnam Tower in Hanoi is completed. It is the tallest building in Vietnam, taking the mantle from the Bitexco Financial Tower in Ho Chi Minh City, a structure that was completed the previous year.

Hoang Cau Bridge in Hanoi


The first Viet Pride Rally is held in Hanoi. All the participants are on bicycles or motorbikes.



Work begins on the first line of the Ho Chi Minh City Metro system. The system is scheduled to be operational by 2020.



After years of language training from an early age, the numbers of English-speaking Vietnamese entering the workforce increases significantly. This has a positive impact on the international orientation of Vietnam.



There is a decline in small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) investment in Vietnam. This corresponds with an increase in the development of franchise chains in the country, bringing in big-name brands in a range of industries. This is coupled with a growth in large-scale corporate investment.



McDonald’s opens its first store in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. For the first time, the country is included on the Big Mac index.



Amid much protest, Saigon Tax Trade Centre, a former French-built department store, is torn to the ground. It is part of the redevelopment of central Ho Chi Minh City.



Foreigners are allowed to buy property in Vietnam for the first time. Properties are sold with 50-year leases. A maximum of 30 percent of apartments in a block and 250 houses in a given ward may be sold to non-Vietnamese.



A number of environmental disasters take place in Vietnam, including the mass death of fish in Hanoi’s West Lake. The disasters bring environmental concerns into the public domain.



Then-president Barack Obama visits Vietnam to further cement US-Vietnamese bilateral relations. Obama is pictured eating bun cha in a local Hanoi restaurant.

The Word

Yes, that's us! Word Vietnam. And here's our tagline: Everything you need to know about Vietnam and a little bit more. Any comments, drop us a line on


Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated.Basic HTML code is allowed.

Online Partners