500 VN Apr-May 2017 Newsletter

Hi folks,

Although we also invest in Vietnam-connected global opportunities, in this note we’d like to provide a quick macro update on Vietnam, which is relevant to our local/regional opportunities.

The IMF projects Vietnam’s growth to begin outpacing China’s in the next 2-5 years.  But in the first quarter of 2017, Vietnam’s economy grew at an annual rate of 5.1%, below median forecast.  Some key factors remained strong, e.g. consumer spending growth (9.2% y-o-y) and export growth (12.8%), but there were a few places of weakness, esp. manufacturing of electronics (thank the Galaxy Note 7).

The first quarter performance seems to be just a blip.  On April 28 the folks at Moody’s affirmed their ratings for Vietnam and upgraded their outlook on Vietnam from “stable” to “positive”.  One economist assesses that “with exports likely to remain strong and private sector credit continuing to expand at a rapid clip, growth should recover over the course of 2017.”

With these kind of expectations, it comes as little surprise that in one week alone in March, Vietnam hosted visits by Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, and Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust.  It seemed like a good trial run for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting to be held in Danang later this year, for which the White House recently announced that the U.S. President would join.

Anyways, we’ll keep an eye on macros and an eye on the ground.  Check out the links below for a selection of news items ranging from deals, to a featured post from our blog, and a mention of one of our portfolio companies by Salma Hayek with Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show.

Team 500 Startups Vietnam

Vietnam In The News

  • Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visits Vietnam. Singapore has been Vietnam’s second-largest foreign investor so far this year. Bilateral trade between the two countries stood at S$19.8 billion last year. Straits Times. 3/23
  • Israeli President Reuven Rivlin visits Vietnam. Alongside Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, the two “vowed to lift two-way trade to $3 billion…by accelerating the negotiations over and signing of the Vietnam-Israel Free Trade Agreement”. Vietnam Economics Times. 3/20
  • Harvard University President Drew G. Faust visits Vietnam. She delivered a public address (entitled “Aftermath: War, Memory, and History”) and met with various leaders in the education sector.  Eddie also co-hosted a reception for her and Harvard alumni in Vietnam, including U.S. Ambassador Ted Osius. Harvard Crimson. 3/23
  • ANZ to sell Vietnam retail business to Shinhan Bank. South Korea’s Shinhan Bank to take over service for 125,000 customers with US$240 million in lending assets and US$600 million in deposits. Financial Times. 4/21
  • KKR invests US$250 million into Masan Group. “The close of the transaction makes it the second largest foreign shareholder of Masan Group, after the funds owned by the Government of Singapore (GIC). DealStreetAsia. 4/22

Source: Appota

From the 500 Startups Vietnam’s Updates

Check out Guy Kawasaki’s The Only 10 Slides You Need In A Pitch in English and now in Vietnamese!

Upcoming Events

  • Batch 20 Demo Day, May 11 2017, San Francisco.
    A one-day event for active & accredited investors to check out our hottest accelerator & Series A portfolio companies. Event Tickets
  • Building a Silicon Valley Engineering Culture in Vietnam, May 11, HCMC.
    Join Wizeline Vietnam for an exclusive tech talk about engineering culture in both the Silicon Valley and Vietnam, and what it’s like to work at a fast-growing startup. Event Page
  • Open Hardware: Build your own laser cutter, May 12, HCMC.
    At this May meetup, FOSSASIA will welcome guest speaker Teng Kee Wee, a hardware-startup founder from Singapore. Kee Wee will speak about his projects and how he built his own 3D printer and laser cutter. Event Page
  • Young Entrepreneurs Saigon After-Work, May 24, HCMC.
    Join a community of people with an interest in business and building a professional network. Event Page

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