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Tech Entrepreneurs Flock to Ho Chi Minh City

Three young Vietnamese girls go online at a cafe in Hanoi, Vietnam, May 14, 2013. The country’s potential for growth, young population and good Internet infrastructure have made it an attractive destination for regional and international investors and startups.
Tech Entrepreneurs Flock to Ho Chi Minh City
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Many online entrepreneurs are moving their businesses from Western nations to Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam is especially popular for young people starting online companies because of the country’s low cost of living.

Alex Fortin moved to Ho Chi Minh City from Calgary, Canada two years ago to develop online education courses.

“It’s quite safe there, and the Internet is pretty good,” said Fortin. “I wanted to be somewhere where I could focus 100 percent on my online business.”

The young entrepreneur makes money by writing online courses that help people make money on the Internet. He is one of many “tech nomads” building a startup in Ho Chi Minh City.

Also, it is easier to get a work visa in Vietnam than other countries. Entrepreneurs can legally stay in Vietnam for up to five years.

Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s economic center and caters to young entrepreneurs there. Many small community workplaces have opened up in the city.

One of those places is Start Saigon in the city’s popular District 1 area. Start Saigon offers work space to entrepreneurs.

The space is busy with people from around the world and is open 24 hours a day. It provides high-speed Internet and has a pool for swimming and relaxing.

“You don’t have to wait 30 years to start your life and drink coconut water by the pool,” Fortin said about the unique working environment.

Community centers and even some coffee shops in Ho Chi Minh City are attracting mainly expatriates who have many things in common.

“Expats hang around with other expats,” Fortin said. It is easier for foreigners to relate to each other, and they can speak to each other in English, he explained.

He also said that foreigners doing business in Ho Chi Minh City are well-respected and treated very nicely by Vietnamese.

Fortin has decided to leave Vietnam after two successful years working on his business.

One of the reasons he decided to move is because he met “the woman of his dreams” in Ho Chi Minh City. The two are now married, and his wife is accepting a job in the U.S. city of Seattle.

Although Fortin is starting a new life in the United States, the nomad lifestyle is still important to him. He said he has not changed to an American phone because he is sure he will travel abroad again to do business.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Esha Sarai reported this story for Bryan Lynn adapted the report for Learning English. was the editor.

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Words in This Story

entrepreneur– n. a person who organizes and operates a business

nomad – n. some who does not have a regular home and travels from place to place

advantage – n. a circumstance that puts a person in a favorable or superior position

cater – v. to provide all the things needed or required

pool – n. a small body of water used for swimming

expatriate – n. a person who lives outside their native country