Magazine article Newsweek

You Can Go Home Again: Returning 'Viet Kieu' Add a Strong Dash of America

Magazine article Newsweek

You Can Go Home Again: Returning 'Viet Kieu' Add a Strong Dash of America

Article excerpt

Twenty-five years after his family took one of the last flights out of Saigon, Phil Tran is finally living the American Dream--in Vietnam. His family settled in California, but the 37-year-old entrepreneur has only excelled since returning to the communist country he once escaped. Gazing at the caramel curves of the Saigon River from his suite in Ho Chi Minh City's most luxurious office tower, Tran marvels at the change in his life. Five years ago, he came back to rediscover his childhood. Now as founder and director of "Glass Egg Digital Media," Tran manages 60 artists and software engineers who create animated CD-ROM games for such giants as Mattel. Business is good, but Tran would rather talk about Glass Egg's soccer team, the A-list parties he attends and the pristine fairways of the golf course he plays on weekends. "My friends in the U.S. probably think my life is miserable," he says. "Little do they know."

Overseas Vietnamese--known as "Viet kieu" --have always been a secret boon to the Vietnamese economy. More than 2 million people fled the South after the war, and in the quarter-century since, they have sent billions of dollars to the relatives they left behind. But now, encouraged by a gradual economic opening, thousands of Viet kieu--mostly young men and women who left when they were children--are returning to look for business opportunities themselves. Armed with cash, advanced degrees and cultural connections, many of the returnees have been able to thrive in a half-open economy that has frustrated local businessmen and foreign investors alike. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.