There’s something extraordinary going on in Vietnam, and I’m not sure everyone sees it. The country blazes from the dry pages of our research printouts, its incandescence obscuring its neighbors and making our office fire alarms nervous.
Among the 105 nations we now survey, Vietnam will finish in or near the Top 20 in the world in our overall ranking, when we announce our latest results next month. It will be near the top in Asia. Our overall ranking integrates several socio-economic and technological factors.
Additionally, Vietnam will rank near the top of the world in our pure tecnology development ranking.
In contrast, Vietnam continues to lag in the traditional economic development rankings that I’ve read. The United Nations’ Human Development Index places it 121st among 187 nations, tied with Guyana and trailing even Syria and Iraq.
It fares a little better in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitive Index, finishing in a tepid tie for 65th among 144 nations, in the neighborhood of Peru, Colombia, Slovenia, and India. Another ranking, the Asia Cloud Computing Association’s Cloud Readiness Index, places Vietnam dead last among 14 nations surveyed.
Damned Lies & Statistics
The country’s mediocre to poor rankings in these surveys and others is no doubt strongly tied to less than $2,000 in per-person income, ranking around the bottom quartile of world incomes. Compare this amount to about $2,800 in the neighboring Philippines, $5,600 in Thailand, and $7,000 in China.
Yet this statistic, as with all single statistics, doesn’t tell the whole story. Our research takes the view that relative developmnt is the key; that is, how well is a country doing given its current economic resources. How strong are its underlying IT infrastructure and overarching societal development with respect to its overall wealth? And how dynamic is its environment? How quickly is its pace of change increasing?
By these measures, Vietnam is a star. Its global buzz has diminished recently, as years of rapid development following enactment of doi moi (renovation or innovation) reform policies in 1986 led to uneven development and societal stress.
Indeed, our research also shows Vietnam running “too hot” in our Goldilocks Index of pure technology development. How long can it sustain its current pace?