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The Big Story

How private equity is shaking up Southeast Asia

Western funds rush in as market reforms and rapid growth open up new opportunities

RYUSHIRO KODAIRA, Nikkei senior staff writer | Southeast Asia

BANGKOK -- Vietnam is still a communist country, but it is fast becoming one of the world's hottest markets for companies that are synonymous with aggressive capitalism: private equity firms.

The appeal for Western private equity firms -- known for their appetite for risk and debt-fueled buyouts -- is clear. Vietnam's economy is growing fast, its stock market has been performing well and the government has rolled out plans to privatize many state-owned enterprises. These are ideal conditions for private equity giants such as Warburg Pincus, KKR and TPG, which have been pumping money into Vietnam as opportunities shrink at home.

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