Our second day in Vietnam began with another wonderful breakfast provided by the hotel, and afterwards, we were off to our first lecture of the trip. The lecture was given by Dr. Dang Le Hoa, who is on the faculty of economics at Nong Lam University in Vietnam, who has done extensive research on the Mekong Delta area. Something that surprised me about her lecture was the fact that there are 210 traditional villages in the delta, and they export to around 50 countries! I found this interesting because although the delta area is very rural and the main jobs are agricultural, the delta plays a large role in the globalization of Vietnam. My initial perception of globalization in Vietnam was very urban-based, in that large companies would be the main participants in working to get Vietnam international precedence and recognition in industry; however, I recognized that agricultural areas play just as large of a role in the globalization and development in Vietnam as the urban areas do.
After the lecture was our daily Vietnamese language class, which went better than the first day. Although learning Vietnamese is difficult, since we have it with the students from UEF, it is nice to have extra help with pronunciation. After our class, we went to lunch, which was at a Japanese restaurant. The food was delicious, and I was very full afterwards. Once our meal was over, we walked a bit to a large building where we began our company tour of Phu My Hung Development.
The Phu My Hung Development tour was very interesting, and we first began with a video on the history of the company, what kind of projects the company works on, the numerous awards it has one for various projects of the years, and the main goals of the company. The video was very informative, as it stated many facts about the workings of the company in broad terms. At large, Phu My Hung Development is a joint land development firm between the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee represented by the Tan Thuan Industrial Promotion Corporation (IPC) and the Central Trading and Development Corporation (CT&D) of Taiwan, ROC, that has about 3,300 hectares of land to develop, and has already developed about 700 hectares into a very large complex of residential buildings, restaurants, office buildings, and others. The residential building aspect of Phu My Hung Development is very important, as the current population of Saigon South is about 8 million, and is expected to rise to around 10 million in the coming years. Overall, I would say that Phu My Hung Development housing is a place for all demographics, as about 40%-42% of residents are foreign, and 58%-60% are Vietnamese. Additionally, the rent is very affordable, and one point it was mentioned that a two-bedroom apartment could be rented for $600 a month. An aspect of comparison when it comes to housing and land in Vietnam and the United States, is that in the United States you can purchase land; however, in Communist Vietnam, all land is owned by the government, so rights are given to individuals, by the government, to live or farm on a certain plot of land.
When proceeding with new housing and various development projects, there are many different factors that must be considered. One of them is the environment, both in the sense of physical nature and the atmosphere of the various city centers being developed. In terms of the physical environment, one interesting aspect that Phu My Hung Development regulates is that the existing environment be preserved, and the development built around it. Additionally, they follow a policy that outlines when building along the water, they must build at least 30 meters away from the water, to reduce the amount of pollution in the ocean. Going along with the natural order of the environment, another selling point is that the buildings are very spaced out and not in complete square blocks that stand out. The density is fairly low to allow for an open atmosphere and a natural looking development.
Finally, something that really surprised me was that during our presentation, it was mentioned that the joint investors and architects from all over the world who come to work with Phu My Hung Development on their various projects have heart. It was mentioned that they do not come to Vietnam to exploit people and resources within their country, but instead seek to build and develop with the Vietnamese for the Vietnamese. I admired the immense trust between Phu My Hung Development and its joint investors, and the common vision to create a more developed and modern Vietnam.