One out of 1 million Vietnamese is super-rich: World Bank

Vietnam was estimated to have 110 ‘super-rich’ residents in 2013, the World Bank said in its Taking Stock report released Tuesday

Vingroup chairman Pham Nhat Vuong, one of Vietnam's super-rich with total assets recorded at over $1.7 billion by Forbes magazine, is seen in this file photo.

One out of every million Vietnamese nationals is classified as ‘super-rich,’ and the number of such affluent people in the Southeast Asian country has increased almost fourfold in the last ten years, a World Bank report released Tuesday reveals.

The ‘super-rich’ are individuals defined as having “assets of US$30 million or more excluding a principal residence,” and Vietnam was “estimated to have 110 super-rich” in 2013, the World Bank said in its Taking Stock report.

The number is seen as a substantial increase from 34 ‘super-rich’ in 2003.

The Taking Stock report, intended to provide an update on Vietnam’s recent economic development, noted that neither the number of ‘super-rich’ nor the growth rate is “extraordinary for Vietnam at its income level.”

“Around the world, the number of ‘super-rich’ has grown rapidly over the last decade, fueling concerns about rising inequality in Vietnam and at the global level,” the document reads.

Taking Stock has a special focus on inequality in Vietnam, as the issue has been a topic of public concern in the country and around the world.

“Concerns over inequality have arisen despite Vietnam’s rapid long-term growth with only modest increases in income inequality,” the report remarks.

“Popular concern about inequality and demand for policy responses is likely to grow over time as more Vietnamese move to cities and are exposed to visible differences in welfare,” Gabriel Demombynes, one of the report’s authors, commented.

“There is already substantial demand for redistributive social policy to narrow inequalities in Vietnam. This demand is likely to persist and to rise as Vietnam continues to urbanize.”

Taking Stock also addresses the gross domestic product and consumer price index growth in Vietnam.

GDP growth was estimated at 5.4 percent in 2014, and is projected to not exceed 5.5 percent before 2016, according to the report.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s inflation is likely to stay within the government target of 7 percent in 2014 due to modest credit growth and assuming that there are no major supply-side shocks.

“Projected growth of 5.4 percent is higher than for many of the countries in the region and the world, however it is still below Vietnam’s potential,” Victoria Kwakwa, the World Bank’s Country Director for Vietnam, said.

“In the short run, the subdued economic growth is linked to soft domestic demand.

“But longer-term prospects will depend on whether Vietnam can quickly address structural problems that can enhance the economic efficiency and competitiveness of the country.”

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