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Business trends

Air conditioner makers battle for Vietnam's red-hot market

Ascendant middle class gravitates toward high-performance models

Daikin air conditioners on display in a Hanoi store. Strong growth in recent years has created soaring demand from first-time buyers. (Photo by Atsushi Tomiyama)

HANOI/OSAKA -- Air conditioner manufacturers around the world are locking horns in Vietnam, whose market has become the second largest in Southeast Asia as rapid economic growth supports a burgeoning middle class.

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