While most of the market fun tends to happen at Vietnam's two stock exchanges in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the bourse for unlisted companies, better known as the UPCoM, has been emerging as a new star recently.
The market has expanded at a very fast pace since 2009. It allows Vietnam to better regulate over-the-counter trading and gives newly listed companies enough time to get ready for the main stock exchanges.
The national carrier Vietnam Airlines, for instance, just had its successful market debut here early this week.
As the country is accelerating its privatization efforts, more state-owned companies will join the party soon.
At the end of 2016, the market cap of the UPCoM increased by over 400 percent compared to late 2015.
Notably, on November 30, it reached $11.15 billion and officially surpassed that of the Hanoi Stock Exchange for the first time. The trend has lived on since. On Wednesday, there was a large market cap margin between them, and analysts believed the approximately 1.7 billion fresh shares from Vietnam Airlines and textile giant Vinatex had driven up the UPCoM's market cap further.
The number of stocks on the UPCoM has topped 420, higher than that on both the Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City bourses. Since December, at least one company has made its UPCoM debut every day. But it should be noted that around 140 stocks are inactive.
Despite its size, trading value and liquidity here remain low, especially when compared to the main bourses. The UPCoM-Index does not seem to be a strong mover – it stood around 53 points most of the past week.
But analysts said with more state-owned giants such as Petrolimex and PVOil all set to list soon, the UPCoM is poised for some extra boost this year.