According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, a web tool which uses data from the United Nations, electrical gear and related equipment makes up the largest export category in Vietnam. This includes things like electrical motors, telephones, insulated wire and all those myriad electrical pieces that make up our daily lives.
Many of the largest footwear brands in the world – Nike, Adidas and Puma, among others – all have factories in Vietnam. In fact, Vietnam is the fourth largest producer of footwear in the world. Only China, India and Brazil make more. And with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), this market will continue to grow. There’s a good chance the shoes you’re wearing right now were made in Vietnam.
With wages on the rise in places like China and India, increasing numbers of the world’s biggest electronics manufacturers are building factories in Vietnam to take advantage of the low cost of labor here. Integrated circuit boards make up the largest portion of this category, accounting for approximately 5.8% of all Vietnamese exports.
Have a look at the labels in some of your newer pieces of clothing. Many of the biggest fashion brands in the world now manufacture their goods in Vietnam. Depending on how you look at the data, this sector of the economy may be worth as much as $30 billion US dollars.
According to the Italian Centre for Industrial Studies, Vietnam is ranked number eight in the world in terms of furniture exports. Large furniture retailers around the world send their designs and specifications to Vietnamese manufacturers, which they then build and export. More recently however, local companies have been expanding their design capabilities. These companies intend to develop their own research and development programs, so they won’t have to rely on foreign companies anymore.
The highlands of central Vietnam are perfect for growing the Robusta strain of coffee, and even though Vietnamese people drink a lot of it themselves, there’s still plenty left over for exporting. In fact, Brazil is the only country in the world that exports more coffee than Vietnam.
Being a coastal nation, it’s no surprise that Vietnam brings in a lot of fish. Every little seaside town along the country has a fleet of turquoise fishing boats, bringing in shrimp, squid and all kinds of fish species.
Vietnam exported approximately 6.9 million tons of crude oil in 2017, sending the majority to its regional neighbors. With the Nghi Son Refinery opening up in early 2018, Vietnam will have two refineries, each producing a wide variety of petroleum products – mostly for the domestic market, but some for exports.
If you’re a tourist in Vietnam and aren’t opposed to wearing leather, we highly recommend you get some custom pieces made. You can find so many amazing, fashionable pieces of clothing and accessories here, and all for a great price – especially in a place like Hoi An.
Fruit, vegetables and nuts
Anyone who’s ever been to a fruit market in Vietnam knows all about the wonderful variety of fruit and vegetables that are available here. This segment of the economy is growing quickly as well, increasing by approximately 43% in 2017. And here’s a strange fact to finish off with: Vietnam is the largest exporter of cashew nuts in the world.