This book is based upon extensive and repeated fieldwork, close observation and familiarity with institutional detail. It traces Vietnam’s early attempts to create in State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) a basis for a military-industrial complex, and the ways in which these attempts failed, which explains the nature of state commercialism through the 1980s and into recent years. Since the 1990 breakout to a market economy, Vietnam has shown outstanding development success, with rapid GDP growth, macroeconomic stability, swift poverty reduction, maintenance of social spending and extensive globalisation. Her SOEs have played a major role, not only in showing that performance gains in 1989-91 could compensate for loss of the large Soviet bloc aid program, but also as major players in the rapid economic change of the 1990s, during which the officially reported state share of GDP remained high. By the middle of the 2000s, however, a rising private sector was, in harness with a large presence of foreign companies, sharply increasing pressures upon SOEs. Against this background, the book concludes with an assessment of the extent to which Vietnam’s commercialised SOEs are now no longer seen as an effective compromise, but acting as a major hindrance to Vietnam’s development.