Economic development is a broad measure of welfare in a country, its indicators include: health, education, GDP per capita and the preservation of the environment. Vietnam, an emerging economy in transition, has endured a series of economic reforms since the government's decision to implement Doi Moi – Renovation or Reconstruction - in 1986. The fundamental objective of Doi Moi is to reduce the government's control over economic outcomes and to improve economic relations with other countries. In general, the policy of Doi Moi has resulted in private ownership of the country's resources and the convergence of Vietnam with the rest of the world. Overall, the forces of globalization – the integration of different economies and countries and the increased impact of global influences on all aspects of life and economic activity – has had both a positive and negative impact on the economic development of the Vietnamese economy.
Economic growth – measured by the annual rate of change in GDP - is a fundamental factor to an economy's economic development as it determines the ability for people to satisfy their material wants and thus, determining their quality of life. Since Vietnam's transition to a market economy, Vietnam has experienced a significant increase in GDP, increasing from US$6.3bn in the early 1980s to US$97.2bn in 2010. In short, Vietnam has experienced an average rate of annual economic growth of 7.2% since the 1990s, registering 5.3% in 2010. .
The key driver of aggregate supply in recent times has been the substantial increase in Foreign Direct Investment – the movement of funds between countries to establish a new business or purchase a substantial proportion of shares in an existing business. Global businesses and TNCs, such as Ford, has relocated production facilities in Vietnam in order to take advantage of Vietnam's low cost labour. This has been a result of their integration with the global economy, creating new export markets for Vietnam's goods (such as petroleum and agriculture).