I recently explored Vietnam\u2019s tech startup scene as part of New Zealand\u2019s ASEAN Young Business Leaders Initiative delegation visiting the country. Here\u2019s the download:1. moving fastNZ tech entrepreneurs be aware. \u00a0We are in a global race and like most countries in Southeast Asia, the Vietnam tech sector is moving rapidly. \u00a0We visited the largest co-working spaces in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.\u00a0 They were both full and more are opening.\u00a0 The spaces consisted of 80-85% startups, with consultants and other service providers very much in the minority.\u00a0 Inside UP, Hanoi\u2019s large co-working space, developers were building the whole range of tech products including gaming, AR\/VR, ecommerce, fintech and social enterprise. And it was still at full capacity at 10pm at night …2. young, tech savvy and diverseOver half of the country\u2019s near 100million population is online, and is increasingly on mobile. \u00a0In terms of interaction, we learnt that Facebook dominates social media to the point that LinkedIn, Twitter and the rest remain largely irrelevant.\u00a0 \u00a0We were fortunate to meet a lot of entrepreneurs and founders of startups. \u00a0It was noticeable how young they were, and how many were women. Vietnam, like much of Southeast Asia, has traditionally been a male dominated society. The change to this status quo seems to be manifesting itself partly in the entrepreneurial space which is great to see.3. role of big corporatesVisiting Samsung\u2019s massive factory,\u00a0which employs\u00a0100,000 people and contributes about USD35billion (over 20%) of Vietnam\u2019s total exports, provides some perspective however. \u00a0Whilst Vietnam is emerging as an innovation hub, its role as a hi-tech manufacturing base remains fundamental to its economy.\u00a0 It will take some time before that shifts significantly. \u00a0As is often the case in Asia (think Alibaba), large local corporates can be dominant with multiple business models.\u00a0 We met VNG, Vietnam\u2019s only tech unicorn, with 2,000 employees, who cover everything from digital content, online gaming and entertainment, social networking, and e-commerce. If Vietnam is developing top tech talent, then these large corporates are also innovating and taking a lot of that talent.4. capitalTalk of Vietnam becoming Southeast Asia\u2019s Silicon Valley is very premature. \u00a0Startup ecosystems need capital and much of the significant VC money in Southeast Asia is currently flowing through the financing hubs that are Singapore or HK. \u00a0Indeed, we heard that many forward-thinking entrepreneurs in Vietnam incorporate their businesses in Singapore from the outset.\u00a0 Whilst this impacts on Vietnam\u2019s ability to grow their own startup ecosystem, the close proximity to investors from Singapore, HK, China, Korea and Japan may mean it doesn\u2019t matter. \u00a0It is still very early days in terms of the Vietnamese government helping home grown VC funds and making it easier for investor capital from offshore to be put into, and taken out of, Vietnam.\u00a0 VC funds including CyberAgent Ventures, IDG Ventures, Vina Capital and 500 Startups are on the ground in Vietnam. But it is not clear how many deals they are doing.5. what businesses are being builtThere are plenty of Vietnamese Americans returning to their home country which brings a Silicon Valley influence to the ecosystem.\u00a0\u00a0 As is common across Southeast Asia, startups tend to fall into two categories. \u00a0Companies built for local or regional consumption (generally B2C businesses which may well be copies of existing US models, but adapted for Southeast Asia). \u00a0Otherwise they might be genuine global tech plays such as Trusting Social, one of Vietnam\u2019s exciting fintech startups, building the next generation of social-data based credit scoring to make lending more efficient.6. relevance to New ZealandNew Zealand\u2019s trade relationship with Vietnam is the fastest-growing in Southeast Asia.\u00a0 For now, commodities of course dominate this.\u00a0 New Zealand may in the future have a role to play exporting technology innovation. The areas for disruption which consistently came up in conversation were healthcare, agritech and fintech. \u00a0All of which New Zealand could be said to show some potential. \u00a0However, these areas are also some of the most heavily protected by the Vietnamese government and their regulators. \u00a0Therefore, as ever in Asia, succeeding as a foreign market entrant will require trusted local relationships (potentially with government in some areas), time and patience. \u00a0It may be that Vietnam\u2019s own entrepreneurs sprint ahead in the meantime with their own innovation.