Intel Follows the Ho Chi Minh Trail

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted November 10, 2006

On Tuesday, Viet Nam won formal approval to become the 150th member of the World Trade Organization.

Two days later, Intel announced it would invest a billion dollars in Viet Nam and employ 4,000 people in what will be its largest assembly and test facility in the world.

It seems that over the past few decades, while much of the West wasn’t paying attention, Viet Nam starting tinkering with free-market economics. Today, it’s one of the fastest-growing economies in the world . . . boasting an 8.2 percent GDP growth. This is one of the highest GDP growth rates in the world!

And the country’s market-driven economic reforms that attracted the WTO in the first place have also helped create Viet Nam’s burgeoning middle class, which, like China’s, is gaining a zest for western luxuries like fast food and mobile phones.

This, my friends, is what makes the market wake up and take notice!

A recent report from Merrill Lynch called Viet Nam’s rise in consumption “nothing short of shocking.”

Of course, it would be irresponsible to disregard the fact that 70 percent of the country’s population still resides in the countryside, working in agriculture and, in some regions, making only about a dollar a day.

But many are banking on the middle class’s dong (Viet Nam’s currency) to help bolster and strengthen the nation’s economic infrastructure . . . making it even more appealing to the influx of industry that’s right around the corner.

And with that, Viet Nam can also look forward to the same pressing energy supply issues other emerging markets face today, as well as an inevitable increase in renewable energy integrations.

Renewable Opportunities in the Land of Pho

This past summer, the Ministry of Industry proposed to generate 3 percent of the country’s total electrical capacity through wind power by 2010, with production doubling to 6 percent by 2030.

According to the World Council for Renewable energy, Viet Nam boasts a huge wind power potential and the country is “uniquely endowed to become a renewable energy leader in Southeast Asia.”

A recent World Bank survey found that 8.6 percent of Viet Nam is capable of large-scale wind energy development, whereas Laos has only about 2.9 percent, and Thailand and Cambodia only 0.2 percent.

It’s also estimated that 41 percent of agricultural areas nationwide are suitable for small-scale win-turbines . . . pushing the country’s wind energy potential to about 513,360 MW per year.

Of course, with electricity prices already so low in the region, a higher cost for wind energy could make it difficult for suppliers to compete in the short term. It should also be noted, though, that the government is now drafting a wind energy development plan to deal with nationwide power shortages.

The Ministry of Industry also announced in August that it’s devising a plan to develop bio-fuel in hopes of producing enough E10 to partly replace conventional fuels.

The plan calls for Viet Nam to:

Develop the technology to manufacture bio-fuel, establish efficient distribution systems, define feed stock regions and train technicians by 2010.

Develop bio-fuel production and use, expand production scale and distribution networks and diversify feed stocks by 2015.

Maintain advanced technology in production and deliver 5 billion liters of E10 and 500 million liters of B10 bio-diesel per year by 2020.

While Viet Nam does maintain significant oil, natural gas and coal reserves, increases in export demand coupled with the country’s own demand increases from its burgeoning economy will certainly provide opportunities for renewable energy integration.

And we have every intention of profiting from it!

Over the next year or so, international investment expert Sam Hopkins will be working with me in an effort to find the most lucrative renewable energy plays in emerging markets. From Viet Nam and China to Argentina and Estonia, there’s a wealth of opportunities for energy investors.

In fact, next Wednesday Sam’s going to show you how you can personally get in and profit from the energy demand in these emerging markets . . . right here, from the comfort of your own home.

To find out more, click here now.