Vietnam’s venture capital (VC) industry took shape in the late 1990s during a period of exceptional economic growth in the country and the development of its high-technology sector. High growth rates and technological advances have typically coincided with both strong VC market activity and state support of equity financing. This, however, has not been the case in Vietnam. In this article a policy diffusion framework is used to investigate the international and domestic origins of Vietnam’s nascent VC policies, and how they became part of the agenda of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) as credit-based, rather than equity-based, solutions. The article argues that Vietnam’s heterodox approach to VC policy results from both external forces from donors and from domestic factors. In particular, Vietnamese policymakers have a preference for credit-based SME financing solutions and Vietnam’s official development assistance providers diffuse expertise on loans, not equity investments, to the Socialist Republic. The only donors recommending VC and equity-based financing in Vietnam have gone “around the state” rather than through it by working directly with the private sector. As a result, Vietnam’s SME financing initiatives have significantly diverged from international VC policy patterns.
- venture capital markets, industrial policy, Vietnam, international organisations, financialisation, official development assistance