At the time of the French conquest in the late 19th century, Vietnam’s industry was at a relatively primitive stage. The French introduced some modern technology and production methods. After the division of Vietnam in 1954, both the North and South governments attempted to promote industrialization. However, efforts were stymied by the Vietnam War, and little was accomplished before 1975.
After reunification, the Communist government promoted the creation of an advanced industrial society characterized by state ownership, but the results were meager. The plans adopted as a part of the doi moi reforms call for a balanced approach to developing both industry and agriculture, with a mix of state, collective, and private ownership.
Most large firms remain under state ownership, but the role and number of private enterprises has steadily increased. Most enterprises produce consumer goods for the domestic market, although a growing number manufacture goods for export, notably textiles and processed foods. Steel production has increased dramatically since the end of the war, and the manufacture of cement, chemical fertilizer, and textile and paper goods is on the upswing. Foreign firms play a growing but still limited role in the industrial sector.
Most mining activities take place in the northern provinces of the country, where anthracite coal, phosphate rock, gypsum, tin, zinc, iron, antimony, and chromite are extracted. Coal and apatite are mined extensively. The total coal production in 2003 was 16 million metric tons.
In recent years, large petroleum and natural gas deposits have been discovered along the continental shelf in the South China Sea. With assistance from the Soviet Union, Vietnam began extracting oil from its first oil field in the mid-1980s. Additional oil fields have since become productive. In the late 1990s petroleum accounted for nearly one-third of Vietnam’s export revenues. Further development may be hindered, however, by disputes with China and other neighboring nations over the ownership of offshore deposits in the area. "Vietnam" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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