Doing Business in Vietnam: The Dos and Don’ts

Doing business in Vietnam successfully requires more than market knowledge and resources. You need to understand certain dos and don’ts.

Vietnam used to be known only only for its delicious cuisine, breathtaking scenery and historical architecture. While this country is still as beautiful as it was with heavenly food everywhere, it is also rising as an economic powerhouse with ample opportunities for doing business.

This prosperity that Vietnam is enjoying is no coincidence – strong GDP growth, young and skilled population, government support, new markets, free trade agreements, low costs and infrastructure development are the major contributors.

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Over the last few years, many international companies have tapped into Vietnam’s 95-million-consumer market with more than 50% of middle class. You cannot wait to be a part of the emerging economy, can you?

Just like any other parts of the world, the first step for a successful business venture in Vietnam is by familiarising yourself with the country’s business practices.

In this article, we have put together a list of do’s and don’ts for you while doing business in Vietnam.

Doing Business in Vietnam: Do’s

Greet and Address People Properly

In most parts of the world, a person is greeted and addressed with their title followed by the last name. However in Vietnam, you need to address a Vietnamese by the title followed by the first name. Titles are very important for the Vietnamese who still hold traditional values.

Know the Hierarchy and Seniority

Most companies in Vietnam embed the principle of top-down hierarchical structure. Therefore, it is important for you to respect people according to their age, education and job position. Therefore when it comes to the first meeting with a Vietnamese partner, you should always introduce yourself to the eldest person or the one with the highest position.

Exchange Business Cards with Both Hands

The fundamentals of business practices in Vietnam come down to respect. Business cards are extremely important in Vietnam to let people know about you and your business. When you receive or give a business card, always remember to use both hands as a sign of respect. Don’t forget to look at the details on the card with attention and interest.

The way you hand out or receive your business cards will let your business partner know if you respect them for possible business collaboration.

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Be Patient and Build Relationships

Time is pretty much a loose concept for Vietnamese and they take things slowly when it comes to business. They value relationships, family and friends, and believe that relationships come before businesses. Without good relationships, there will not be harmony; and without harmony, there will not be businesses.

So be patient and sometimes you need to go through several business meetings before you can seal a deal.

Doing Business in Vietnam: Don’ts

Don’t Wear Exposed Clothing

Clothing for both women and men for business meetings tend to be very simple and modest. Most Vietnamese are still quite conservative and therefore women do not usually wear skirts above their knee. Besides, women should wear blouse that cover their shoulders and shoes with no high heels.

Don’t Hug Without Consent

Vietnamese often give a slight bow or shake a person’s hand as a way to say hello or goodbye. If you are a man, you can greet another man with a handshake or a pat on the shoulder. But if you are a man and try to greet a woman, you should always wait for the woman to offer a handshake first. Otherwise, a simple nod will do.

Don’t Make Vietnamese People “Lose Face”

“Losing face” means to feel ashamed or embarrassed in Asian culture, and this does not exclude Vietnam. You should never do something towards someone in Vietnam and make them lose face, especially in front of others. For most business people in Vietnam, reputation and dignity are everything.

Entering the Vietnamese Market Smoothly

Through our business incorporation services, we can help you to enter the Vietnamese market smoothly. Whether you need to register your company, register a product or want to apply for a visa or permit, our professional consultants and legal advisers are ready to provide assistance.

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