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Startup dreams lure Vietnamese refugees back

A vendor walks her mercandise on a bicycle along a street in Hanoi, Vietnam, on June 19, 2016. Photo: Luong Thai Linh.

During Dang Van Tran's numerous attempts to flee Vietnam at the age of seven he was shot at twice, nearly drowned at sea and stranded on an island. Now 40 years later, he is back in the communist country doing something unthinkable when he finally escaped with 150 others on a fishing trawler: running a startup in Saigon called Butterfly Hub, which helps businesses make data-based decisions in the beauty and fashion world.

Tran is part of a wave of overseas Vietnamese defying personal traumas and family objections to invest in a country they once risked all to escape. That includes his father, who lost everything to the communists in 1975 before seeking a new life for his family in the U.S. On his return, Tran found a country more enamored with iPhones than Karl Marx and with a burgeoning tech startup scene...

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