Stock market listings still a long way off for Vietnam's start-ups

By Thanh Thanh Lan   June 10, 2016 | 12:40 am PT
Experts say it would be impossible for Vietnamese start-up companies to go public on a bespoke stock exchange recently suggested by Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue.

The deputy PM proposed the idea at a meeting on June 7, and said it could become a reality in the next two or three years.

While appreciating the government's focus on start-up companies, many investors and CEOs have expressed different views about the feasibility of the trading floor.

Do Hoai Nam, founder of Up Co-working Space, said: “Every company needs to meet a lot of requirements to be listed on the stock exchange, and most start-up companies would be unable to do so. If they could, they would list on existing trading floors rather than an exclusive one.”

Many start-up companies have said it would take them several years to meet all the requirements, and the trading floor itself would take time to balance out, putting them at risk.

In addition, investors appear to be reluctant to buy shares in start-ups.

Chu Dung Hoang, founder and CEO of Zinmed, a startup company that provides health care services, said: “It’s difficult to assess the value of any startup, not to mention Vietnamese firms. When you can’t evaluate the value of a company, you can’t list it on a stock exchange.”

Nguyen Quang Thuan, general director of StoxPlus, which provides financial information and industry research services, also agreed, adding that: “Many profitable shares haven’t been sold on official trading floors, let alone shares in start-ups.”

Founders and CEOs of start-ups have reached a consensus that the government, instead of opening another exclusive stock exchange, should complete a legal framework to support start-ups and their investors, as well as provide guarantees for loans.

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