The oldest porcelain factory in Vietnam hasn’t changed much since it was opened in 1960.
Back then it was operated by the communist government of the former North Vietnam when the country was divided.
Today it’s united under communist rule but the government has embraced capitalism.
Like most state-owned enterprises, this factory has been privatized and will soon move to a new purpose-built industrial park.
Moving to a new factory will help us develop. You can see all our machines are old, so we’ll invest in more modern production lines.
For more than 20 years, Vietnam was torn apart by war. It ended in 1975 with the North defeating the South, which was backed by the United States.
Communism emerged victorious but the leaders soon realized that their centralized economic system had to change.
Economic reality was the best future.
The government embarked on a series of reforms to open the country up and allow market forces.
It now has one of the best performing economies in the world.
When Vietnam began reforming in 1986, its total trade was worth only 640 million dollars a year. It was really only doing business with the likes of China and the former Soviet Union.
Just over 30 years on, as its economic borders have opened, that figure has leaped to more than 420 billion dollars.
But some believe it could do even better and say the government must continue evolving to combat problems like rising inequality.
It’s caused by corruption, illegal payment and informal economy and Vietnam must try to reduce it and now Vietnam must create new incentives to modernize its economy.
The process is ongoing and reforms like increasing efficiency and breaking down bureaucracy may be pushed along by trade deals like the trans-pacific partnership.
Some may question the pace but certainly the direction of the reform is very welcome.
But some of that will need to be accelerated for the domestic private sector to be able to grow more than it has been so far.
That’s certainly the goal of this company which used to import its clay and export the finished products.
Price fluctuations meant it eventually became a domestic supplier only.
TPP and a new modern factory may allow it to realize its goal of returning to the international market.