Vietnam-based developers and foreign real estate firms have rushed to enter the office property market, taking advantage of the rapid pace of economic growth. Property consultants said supply of office space was limited, but next year at least two dozen major projects would get under way in Ho Chi Minh City to meet the increasing demand. Some Vietnam-based companies, which used to be located in villas, were starting to move to commercial buildings as the economy grew, said Eric Chu, a Hong Kong developer who has been working in Vietnam for 15 years. Vietnam has a high economic growth of about 7.5 to 8 per cent annually, which is boosting the investment trend. 'The tallest building in Vietnam is 32 storeys. The next stage will be 40 storeys and above. We are currently consulting on one project that is 65 storeys. We will see a lot more integrated developments,' said Marc Townsend, CB Richard Ellis Vietnam managing director. In Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, integrated urban development projects in areas where land is plentiful and inexpensive are picking up speed, after stalling in the late 1990s. Indonesia's Ciputra is developing 300 hectares in western Hanoi, mixing offices, retail and residential properties. Two apartment blocks are just entering the market along with a few hundred houses. And there are many more to follow. A Korean consortium is developing Hanoi New Town. More comprehensive is Ho Chi Minh's Saigon South, called Phu My Huong, which includes offices, malls, parks, universities and housing. Taiwan's CT&E is responsible for the overall 700 hectare site, building infrastructure in return for development rights from the Ho Chi Minh City People's Development Committee or city council. 'Manulife has just bought a plot for their headquarters down there. A large, fast-moving consumer goods company is also looking,' said Brett Ashton, property consultant Chesterton Petty's Ho Chi Minh director. Saigon South could help prevent rash development in leafy Saigon proper, protecting property values there. 'I would imagine [Saigon] will be more of a Shanghai than a Bangkok or Jakarta. I think they are a lot more switched on in some ways. I also think the economic growth and therefore the city's growth and modernisation is going to be quite phenomenal over the next 15 to 20 years,' said David Clarkin, an Australian developer operating in Vietnam for more than a decade.