2018: A year of radical changes in Da Nang

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Da Nang, Vietnam, has experienced significant and obvious changes since spring of 2018. Property prices and cost of living prices are rising in line with the economic growth. Apartments for rent and hotel accommodation prices have increased by around 1.5-2 times within the last two years. People who do not have cash or property will find it harder to live in Da Nang in the future unless the bubble bursts. For the areas in Da Nang where property and rent prices have not risen are, in their own way, difficult and stressful places to live, especially for foreigners.

I think it was in 2018 that business quality also headed to the next level. Businesses that do not have a price list, businesses that lacks in terms of services but charges average prices, and businesses that need manpower but cannot offer above-average wage will suffer considerably in the future. Massage spa prices have increased by a factor of 1.5, with service quality remaining the same, only prices have increased. Prices for places and services to which foreigners often come and go have risen in particular. Whereas 20% annual rises in local service prices are normal.

The overall look of people walking down the street has changed and there are more and more scruffy people.We believe this means that the trend of Da Nang’s transformation from a country town to an urban centre is finally manifesting itself in the people. The touristy An Thuong Street has seen an increase in the number of expats that you do not often see in Da Nang before, including a dramatic increase in backpacker inns, changing the flow of people. There is an increase on people who enjoy travelling at minimum cost and are not the type to spend a lot of money.

As a resident, I was shown this up close and personal, and was reminded of what it is like to be slow to change, or even no change – on a personal level. In Japan, inequality is progressing slowly. It is progressing hard, fast and boldly in Vietnam. This may mean that a society where the strong are stronger will become more defined.

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