Frontier markets will be the new emerging markets over the next 10 years, and that means long-term investors need to start looking to places like Vietnam for opportunities, said Khanh Vu, investment director at Vina Capital.
"Vietnam is a trading hub of Asia, so it has to be able to put in that infrastructure support," said Vu. "We are seeing a tremendous amount of money being spent on railroads and ports. For us, it is a case of a domestic consumption story supported by a lot of money going into infrastructure."
Vu helps oversee the London-listed VinaCapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund, one of the largest and most liquid closed-end funds in Vietnam with over $760 million in assets. Vu said the multi-asset fund is looking to rebalance from direct real estate toward its private equity portfolio of consumer companies and indirect real estate.
"Vietnam has historically been dominated by state-owned enterprises," said Vu. "About 20 years ago you had 10,000 state-owned enterprises, today you have 2,000. So that pace of privatization -- we find a lot of interesting opportunities from that."
Vu added that U.S.-Vietnamese ties are growing stronger, especially following the President's trip and the lifting of the arms embargo. He said that Vietnam is developing into a huge export market for U.S. multinationals. The Van Eck Vectors Vietnam ETF (VNM) - Get Report is down slightly over 1% year-to-date.
"With the eventual passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, Vietnam stands to benefit a tremendous amount from that trade pact," said Vu.
And Vietnam is also taking manufacturing business away from China due to its young, educated population and low labor costs. The first four months of 2016 saw foreign direct investment, or FDI, commitments jump 85%.
"We are seeing a tremendous amount of FDI flow into Vietnam," said Vu, noting that Intel (INTC) - Get Report and Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report among others have major manufacturing plants in the country.