The Dramatic Transformation of Da Nang in 2018

In the Vietnam city of Da Nang, where I reside, significant and noticeable changes have taken place since the spring of 2018. With the economic growth, real estate prices and living costs have been on the rise. Apartment rents and hotel accommodation prices have increased by approximately 1.5 to 2 times over the past two years. I believe that those who do not possess cash or real estate will find it increasingly difficult to live in Da Nang unless the bubble bursts. Moreover, areas within Da Nang where real estate and rental prices have not risen are relatively less desirable places to live, and they can be particularly stressful for foreigners.

I also believe that 2018 marked a shift towards the next stage in terms of business quality. Businesses without price lists or services, yet charging prices higher than the average, and businesses that require manpower but cannot afford above-average compensation, will likely face significant challenges in the future. The prices of massage spas have increased by 1.5 times, while the service quality remains the same, resulting in a rise in prices alone. Prices of places and services frequented by foreigners have especially increased. It is common for prices of services targeted at locals to rise by 20% annually.

The overall appearance of people walking in the city has changed, and I think more sophisticated individuals have emerged. I believe this signifies the transition of Da Nang from a rural town to an urban center, which has finally become evident among the people. An Thuong Street, a popular tourist area, has seen an increase in foreign visitors of a different type and a significant surge in backpacker accommodations, altering the flow of people. These visitors tend to prioritize minimal travel costs and are not the type to spend a lot of money.

As a resident, I have witnessed these changes up close and have come to understand, on a personal level, the significance of slow or non-existent change. Japan’s society has a relatively gradual progression towards reducing inequality. In Vietnam, however, it is progressing rigorously, rapidly, and dramatically. This implies that a society where the strong become even stronger is becoming more evident.

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