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Taking a Bath in Vietnam Real Estate

Taking a Bath in Vietnam Real Estate - Vietnam - commercial property

Ho Chi Minh City got a 68-story skyscraper, Vietnam’s tallest, when the downtown Bitexco Financial Tower was inaugurated in 2010. The building, boasting a helipad at the 50th floor, can be seen from almost every part of the city.

It hasn’t been a celebration for the owner, however. Nearly 18 months later half of the building’s office space is still empty and none of the six retail podiums is open. Annualized interest rates reached as high as 23% late last year, and there are plenty of rumors that the owner is trying to sell the building to pay off construction loans. But the company dismisses them. “Bitexco Financial Tower is our pride; we are not selling it,” says Vu Quang Hoi, chairman of Bitexco, a private Vietnamese company that’s invested in more than a dozen other real estate projects, plus infrastructure, energy and mining. “This is a difficult time for businesses, but it is precisely why we need to continue to invest more.”


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