As Vietnam’s economy is growing at an alarming rate, navigating its unique business culture is crucial for potential investors who wish to enter this emerging market. The Vietnamese are open and optimistic about the opportunities brought about by foreign investment and the increasing integration of the international market . They share their proud culture, traditions and history with foreigners in order to protect their local customs and heritage in a rapidly developing and outgoing society.
Therefore, even the slightest recognition of Vietnamese culture can win a lot of respect from foreigners. With all this in mind, Julie Giguere, managing director of Asian Absolute, listed some tips for doing business in Vietnam.
Vietnamese has an interesting set of pronouns. There is no direct translation of “I”, “you”, “he” or “she” in Vietnamese, because the words used to address people are determined by age and gender. For example, people younger than you are called “em”, friends of the same age are called “ban”, and your grandfather’s males are called “ong”. To fully express Vietnam’s strict hereditary hierarchy, dozens of pronouns are necessary.
Millennials highly respect the struggle and sacrifice of the elderly on the road to freedom and independence. Most teenagers will agree that parents know the most important future decisions.
Experience, wisdom and pragmatism take precedence over young idealism. Therefore, it is always best to shake hands with the oldest person in the room first, and then shake hands with the youngest person.
When you come up with ideas, try to get experienced colleagues to focus on the actual solutions you have established, rather than arouse the audience’s interest in speculation, ideology, or conceptual discussions.
When we eating, generations play a key role. Usually, eating is a family gathering, so for most Vietnamese, paying separately is an inexplicable practice. If you invite a group of people to eat with you, you are responsible for clearing the bill, and traditionally the oldest man will pull out his wallet.
The Vietnamese people love food and are proud of their traditional cuisine. They will be happy to hear the buzz of foreigners saying “delicious” during their meals. Rice products, noodles, fresh vegetables and hot pot, as well as all imaginable meats, constitute the backbone of the Vietnamese diet. Common snacks during the conference are tropical fruits such as guava or green mango, pickled with salt,
It is worth mentioning that lunch is a meal prepared for the family. Between 11:30 am and 2 pm, the school is closed and the staff go home so that the family can enjoy lunch together. Because the working hours of Vietnamese can be extended from 7 am to 9 pm in tropical weather, Vietnamese also like to take a nap in the afternoon. It is unwise to suggest that a phone call or meeting may disturb the organization. Therefore, a business dinner is better than a working lunch.
When you sit down to eat, you may be surprised by some questions. People rarely ask “How are you?” Because there is no direct translation in Vietnamese (the closest word is: “Do you have power?”)
Vietnamese people may ask: “How old are you?”-usually regarded as artificial pas. But please don’t offend-this is just to measure how they should be passed on from generation to generation. In fact, reducing the actual age may be harmful.
The more common opening questions in Vietnamese include “Where are you from?”, “How many people are in your family?” and “Are you married?” The family sector in Vietnam is still very strong, and sharing photos of leisure time with others will be great Flattering, portray a healthy person.
Image is very important in Vietnam, especially when doing business. You must be a professional, but it also helps to show that you are a charity and a loyal family member.
to be frank
When sharing photos, don’t be attracted by Vietnamese sayings like “Your daughter is beautiful” or “Your family is rich.” Due to the simple grammar and logical vocabulary of the native language, Vietnamese people usually call things when they see them and like to communicate in a very clear and simple way. This may cause Vietnamese to meet Westerners sometimes suddenly, especially if they ask frank questions such as “How much can you make?”
However, some business people may find this refreshing because it is more effective to get to the point and show the results than to overwhelm people with euphemisms and jargon.
Don’t be afraid to express your position clearly, because you will have to negotiate. Like most Asian countries, Vietnamese companies tend to favor tailor-made, flexible transactions instead of standardized, fixed arrangements.
The numbers quoted first are usually only the goals of trading partners; they are the ideal outcome of negotiations. Then, your response should be your minimum amount, which will determine the scope of negotiations.
Vietnam’s exponential growth has created an optimistic economy, but competition has become increasingly fierce. Enterprises are eager to obtain foreign capital to gain advantage. Therefore, it is important to understand the environment in which you are negotiating and provide the right sweetener for any transaction. For example, long-term sustainable partnerships with flexible terms are considered favorable for rigid contracts with short-term benefits.
The image of the company is also very important. Doing business with large organizations in developed countries is an important symbol of success and prestige for Vietnamese consumers. Any transaction involving publicity, marketing and media opportunities and international relations is highly desirable.
If you have problem investing or establishing a company in Vietnam, please contact us: YAXIN is a consulting company with offices in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. YAXIN is also considered to be a Vietnamese company specializing in business information. There are many well- known practice areas in the market, such as labor and employment, banking law, taxation, purchase, sales and mergers, litigation, IPO consulting services and intellectual property. We are confident to provide our clients with the best and effective legal services.
E-mai l: firstname.lastname@example.org
Whatsapp :+ 86 15361679060