HO CHI MINH CITY -- On a typical Sunday evening in the heart of Vietnam's financial center, European cars and Japanese motorcycles jostle for parking lots close to restaurants. On offer: high-end sushi, Italian cuisine, craft beers costing five times as much as mass-produced lager, and other foreign fare. Consumers sport iPhones and other premium handsets.
This scene in Ho Chi Minh City reflects what Boston Consulting Group says is Southeast Asia's fastest-growing middle class. According to BCG the "middle and affluent class" earning $714 a month or more in Vietnam will double to 33 million people, about a third of the population, between 2014 and 2020.