Be careful with the challenges of doing business in Vietnam

Be careful with the challenges of doing business in Vietnam

Vietnam is a developing country in South East Asian with the economy having many challenges and advantages. If you want to do business here, should prepare carefully for some challenges to come over.


You may encounter basic infrastructure in the more regional parts of Vietnam. Ensure that your plans account for this, and you should have a decent understanding of the limitations. In urban centers, infrastructure is relatively modern and convenient. Especially, there are some modern traffic projects such as Metro Lines, rapid bus, bridges, etc. which are constructed to push the economic development.

Laws and regulations

There are numerous ‘grey areas’ in Vietnamese laws. This may cause difficulties in interpretation, application and compliance. It is possible for you to find a local partner early who can help you understand and deal with the regulations, permits and laws.

Do research and plan carefully

In most emerging markets, the level of bureaucracy can be challenging. This impacts many investors when they consider the business in Vietnam. It is better if you do your research beforehand to get an understanding the most critical permits you’ll need. Ensure that you fully understand how to comply with all the local regulations.

Being patient

It’s necessary to be patient when you deal with Vietnamese people. You need to know that negotiations can take some time, and most decisions have to go through group consultation. The processing of official documents and permits can also take a long time.

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Meeting etiquette

When someone disagrees with you, they are likely to remain silent. This is a cultural trait typical of several Asian countries that means to save face of the partners. Besides, kiss and hug are not popular in Vietnamese community, especially the traditional people.


In Vietnam, the relationships in business are extremely critical to success. The businessman should invest time in building solid relationships based on both personal and business lines. Eating and drinking together is an important part of business introductions.

Vietnamese names

The order of a Vietnamese name is family name, middle name and then given name. Therefore, it is quite difficult for the foreigners to call your local partner’s name. Thus, just use his or her given name with the appropriate title or ask his/her English name to communicate easily.

April 27, 2017 / by / in
Real Estate M&A keeps on growing in Vietnam

According to Savills Vietnam Ltd, Co, the number of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in Vietnam’s real estate market will continue growing this year and beyond. In this report, M&A’s by foreign investors continued strong development, especially from Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore.

M&A in Vietnam’s real estate market

For instance, a Japanese investor bought 70 per cent of shares of A&B office building in Ho Chi Minh City, and Creed Group co-operated with two domestic investors, Phat Dat and An Gia, to develop commercial apartment projects. Meanwhile, Singaporean investors stepped up their investment into the local property market. Keppel Land joined the Empire City project and CapitalLand increased its shares at The Vista project. Mapletree bought Kumho Asiana Plaza in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.

real estate in Ho Chi Minh, real estate M&A, Ho Chi Minh City

Strong development of M&A on the market showed high confidence of investors and a new sustainable development cycle in local property market. With many projects of high potential, M&A would continue to be a popular model for investors to join the local market and implement their goals in development of business on local property market. On the other hand, M&A’s would continue to be essential when the market develops further and investors would have to prove their skills, experience and class to achieve cooperation opportunities and join deals with large value and potential.

According to a research by Savills Vietnam, since 2014 the market has witnessed the strategic steps of investors, including mergers and acquisitions and development cooperation. For instance, Gaw Capital acquired commercial property from Indochina Land with high value, while Gamuda Land bought shares of domestic investors at Celadon City project in HCM City. M&A activities have taken place in various segments, such as a joint development venture of a resort project in Hội An with a total investment at US$4 billion between Chau Tai Phuc Group and Suncity or Lotte’s acquisition on Diamond Plaza (District 1). Besides, the domestic investors also played an important role in M&A and development cooperation. Van Thinh Phat, VinGroup, Novaland and Sun Group became strategic investors when they have acquired potential projects or land to develop property products.

Source: VNS

April 26, 2017 / by / in
Useful tips for renting a favorable apartment in Saigon

Do you have difficulties to find an ideal apartment to settle down and enjoy the new life in Saigon? Don’t worry!

Just consider these following tips:

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1. Start early

As Ho Chi Minh City is such a big city, it’s important for the expats to start doing their research before they arrive, for example which districts they prefer. Generally, you can also contact agents to set up appointments for you to go and see the apartments once you’re in town. The real estate agents are the locals, therefore, they are convenient to list the suitable apartments for you to choose.

2. Know your budget

It is the most important step of renting an apartment. At the moment, a decent fully furnished 1-2 bedroom apartment is rented out between $400-$600, which is suitable for singles or couples without kids. For families, a 3-bedrrom unit ranges from $700-$1,000USD in Phu My Hung Area, District 1 and especially District 2. Generally, you need to spend at least $150 for the utilities such as electricity, water, gas or management fees.

3. Double check facilities and amenities

When you start viewing your apartments, you should double check what is included. Many serviced apartments will include internet, cleaning, use of laundry machines and cable TV as a part of the rent. You will usually have to pay for electricity separately. If you are offered very cheap rent and it doesn’t include any services, be sure to check how much additional services (like electricity, laundry, water) will end up costing you.

4. Consider the contract carefully

Once you have decided to rent an apartment, you will have to sign a contract. This is combined with the agreements between the property’s owner and you and other rules. It’s important to read carefully your contract before signing. Make sure that everything discussed is included in the rental contract and if something is missing, don’t hesitate to question it.

April 25, 2017 / by / in
Property in Quarter 2 becomes extremely dynamic

At a conference on Friday, Mister Nguyen Manh Ha, the association’s deputy president, said the realty market would be bolstered by the stable macro-economic situation, rising number of tourist arrivals to Vietnam and foreign direct investment into the property sector.

The property market in quarter 2 of 2017

The statistics show that Vietnam had received more than 3.2 million foreign tourists in the first quarter of this year, up by 29 per cent over the same period last year. FDI inflow jumped by more than 91 per cent to a total of $334 million in the January-March period. He said the slowdown in transactions in Quarter 1 was because of the nation’s biggest holiday, which fell in late January.

property, real estate, Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City

However, the market started to get busier from March with more transactions and property developers gearing up for sale launches in the coming quarters. The property projects in District 2 (such as Masteri Thao Dien, Lexington, Imperia, etc.) will be benefited from infrastructure development, such as those along rapid bus BRT and Metro Lines, which had good liquidity. Several developers were expected to develop and release a huge supply of affordable homes, which would contribute to improving transactions and market liquidity, according to the Vietnam Association of Property Brokers.

Regarding tourism property, the association anticipated strong development, driven by the dynamism of foreign developers as well as the rising middle-income class in the country. The property sector ranked the sixth most discussed topic on social networks in the first quarter of this year, based on a survey by SocialBeat, according to the association.

Apartments and resort property were the two most discussed segments, with 33 per cent and 24 per cent share, respectively. Affordable housing segment attracted significant market attention, especially information about the location of a project, planning, facilities and sale policies.

Source: VNS


April 25, 2017 / by / in
How to adapt culture shock in Vietnamese workplace

One common issue that Vietnamese and foreigners are often different in the workplace is bringing the relatives to business affairs. While relationship-oriented Vietnamese are usually more comfortable to work with someone they already know, foreigners think that it is unprofessional to involve someone’s family or friend in business. These are the experiences of Mr Oliver H. Meeker, Senior Investment Analyst at Vietnam Investments Group.

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The differences cultures in workplace

The second difference is about the time management and conflict management. Besides being unable to meet a deadline or coming to the office late, Vietnamese employees tend to keep silent instead of expressing their disagreement to avoid direct conflict. On the other hand, disagreeing, speaking up, or challenging other ideas is welcomed in the foreign working style. Foreigners expect their staff to be more pro-active, ask questions and be result-oriented, asserted Meeker.

Another problem in workplace of Vietnam is that greeting culture is seen as important. It means that the Vietnamese workers will feel slighted if they are not greeted by their boss. While the foreigners put more importance on the ability of the boss to manage the workplace, instead of their friendliness. Employees are recommended to take time to build deep relationships with their colleagues and adapt to different cultural aspects. Moreover, both Vietnamese and foreigners should respect and try to understand the manners and ways in which each other live.

Regarding organizational development, one crucial key for companies which involve both foreign and Vietnamese employees is to train cultural competence for managers and workers to create mutual cultural understanding and tolerance in the workplace, emphasized Meeker.

Source: Tuoitrenews

April 25, 2017 / by / in
Do you understand tipping culture in Vietnam?

The custom of tipping varies widely between countries, but it is usually the standard of service that determines tips. Nowadays, tipping is especially common in Vietnam, so the following advice will be helpful for the expats to understand this culture.


Many of the eateries include a service charge in the bills, and this could be from 5% to 10%. However, this amount rarely reaches the service staff. If the management does send some of it their way, it’s most likely to be a meagre amount. An extra tip of 100,000VND/person is customary when the service has been outstanding.

Sampling Vietnamese street food is something that all expats really enjoy during their stay. In fact, some of the most delicious food in the country can be found at street stalls. It is not customary to tip at street food stops, but you can still leave a tip if you receive excellent service. This would generally be a tip of about 20,000VND.

tipping, tipping in Vietnam, tipping cultureHotels

As an expat, you may need to stay at hotels in Vietnam either during your initial days in the country or while traveling around it later. When it comes to tipping at hotels, the level of service is the determining factor. If you’re not particularly happy with the service, you are not obligated to leave a tip at all. But in other cases, leaving a couple of dollars for good housekeeping service is appropriate. You can also give the bellman a dollar for each bag he carries. If you have been satisfied with the overall service at the hotel, you can leave a small amount at the desk before you check out.


You are not required to tip taxi drivers in Vietnam, and so your driver will not be offended if you don’t leave a tip. However, many foreigners do decide to round off the total amount and request the driver to keep the change, if they feel that the driver was very helpful or polite.


Spa services in Vietnam are not as expensive as they are in Western countries. This actually makes it confusing for foreigners who don’t know whether to tip or not in such situations. The common custom is to leave just a few dollars at the less expensive spas. The more upscale ones will most likely include the 5 to 10 percent service charge in their bills, which essentially covers your tip. If you feel your refreshing spa experience deserves a small reward, go ahead and leave an extra tip.

April 24, 2017 / by / in
The reasons why many expats choose District 2 to live

District 1 seems to be the best place for the foreigners living and working in Ho Chi Minh City. All right, everything has changed. Recently, District 2 has become the new urban area which is an ideal place for many expats to settle down and enjoy the life. So why they love it?

The comfortable living space

For a lot of people, the endless hubbub of Saigon’s center is just too much after a while, and retreating to a quiet and slow space of life is a welcome relief. These people wish to be able to hear birds, to share the street with bicycles rather than roaring mopeds, to sit by a quiet river or relax in a local café in District 2. Let’s check out the restaurant and bar at Thao Dien Village, which offers a range of Italian, Vietnamese and Thai cuisine as well as a delicious tapas menu.

District 2, Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, expats in saigon, expats in Ho chi minh city

Expats communities

In District 2, Thao Dien Ward or An Phu Ward are also the ideal neighborhood for your home. Many expat families live here due to the high concentration of international schools and the comparative safety of its streets. Facilities are aimed at the expat community – from shopping malls to small businesses and hair salons – and the majority of people here are foreigners.

Luxury apartments

A range of apartments for rent in District 2 is extremely various and interesting. There are many residential projects have been completed which are modern and luxurious. Some outstanding apartments are Masteri Thao Dien, Imperia An Phu, Lexington or Diamond Island. They can satisfy all of customer’s requirements about an ideal place to live. In the future, Metro Lines will be completely constructed, therefore, District 2 shall become the golden land of Ho Chi Minh City.

April 24, 2017 / by / in
The shortage of a million homes in Saigon

According to a real estate expert, Ho Chi Minh City is likely to need 1 million more affordable homes over the next 10 years. The chairman of Ho Chi Minh City’s Real Estate Association, Mr.Le Hoang Chau, said that “Saigon’s shortage of affordable homes, social housing and low-cost rentals is expected to continue over the next 10 years when demand could grow to one million homes”. This shortage is not expected to subside in the near term with the World Bank forecasting the city’s population could reach 10 million by 2020 from 8.4 million currently.

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Demands of homes in Ho Chi Minh City

Without citing statistics on the number of homes built annually, Mr.Chau emphasized the need for low-to-middle income properties based on the population growth rate. About 500,000 families are currently unable to afford their own homes, and many currently share with parents or relatives. Meanwhile, 81,000 families will need cheap houses over the next four years, the local media cited a survey by the city’s construction department and Institute for Development Studies as saying. Migrants from other provinces who move to the city for work are the main contributors to Ho Chi Minh City’s population growth. The southern commercial hub is now home to 3 million migrants.

According to some estimates, up to 70.6 percent of the 402,000 workers in the industrial parks and export processing zones on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City are in need of affordable housing. The city is also faced with a serious shortage of affordable rental housing ranging from VND1 million ($44) to VND3 million ($132) per month.

Source: VNexpress

April 24, 2017 / by / in
What you need to know about Saigon transportation

In Ho Chi Minh City, there are a wide ranges of public transportation for expats to get around it. They can choose taxi, bus, “xe om” or cyclo, which will cost the reasonable prices.


Taxi is found in most major cities in Vietnam. It is really cheap by international standards and a safe way to travel around. Average tariffs are about 12,000d to 15,000d per kilometer, which are applied by almost companies such as Mai Linh, Vinasun or Vinataxi. Especially, the expats can book a taxi in Grab and Uber with the safe services and the competitive prices. This kind of taxi has been popular for the residents in Ho Chi Minh City recently.

taxi, taxi Saigon, taxi Vietnam


Few travelers deal with city buses due to communication issues and the cheapness of taxis, cyclos and xe om. With a bus map, you can choose a route and enjoy the journey. Nowadays, buses in this city is developing modernly and comfortably. Moreover, there are some buses in the international airport which is very cheap and convenient.

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Xe Om

The Xe Om (zay-ohm) is a motorbike taxi. This word means that “Xe” is motorbike and “Om” is hug (or hold). Getting around by xe om is easy and interesting as long as you don’t have a lot of luggage. The fares are comparable with those for a cyclo, but negotiate the price beforehand. There are many xe om drivers hanging around street corners, markets, hotels and bus stations, so you are easy to find one person to take this service.

xe om, xe om Saigon, xe om Vietnam


The cyclo is a bicycle rickshaw, which is cheap and environmental friendly. This mode of transport is usually used by the tourists to get around and enjoy the landscapes. Groups of cyclo drivers always hang out near major hotels and markets, and many people also speak a little bit English. To make the driver understands where you want to go, it’s useful to bring a city map. The price is between 10,000VND and 20,0000VND for a short ride, between 20,000VND and 40,000VND for a longer or night ride, or around 40,000VND per hour.

xich lo, xich lo Saigon, xich lo Vietnam

April 24, 2017 / by / in
Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate ranked in Top 5 of Asia-Pacific

According to a new report, Ho Chi Minh City is in the top 5 of the Asia-Pacific region for real estate investment and development prospects, with annual returns expected to be up to 25 percent. Emerging Trends in Real Estate Asia Pacific 2016, jointly published by the Urban Land Institute and consulting firm PwC, has ranked the city fifth for investment and fourth for development. Tokyo is at the top, followed by Sydney and Melbourne. Osaka and Ho Chi Minh City are neck and neck.

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Ho Chi Minh City is in top real estate market

The Vietnamese city has emerged as one of the most promising markets in the region over the past two years, jumping from the 19th place in 2014 to one of the top five this year. Foreign investors, mainly from Japan, South Korea and Singapore, are interested in the city’s property market on expectations of an annual return of between 20 and 25 percent.

The report also attributes the city’s rise as an attractive destination to the government’s efforts to stabilize the local currency, control inflation, ease property lending and improve market access for foreigners. Global investors prefer entering Vietnam’s real estate market through mergers and acquisitions. They are laying eyes on a wide range of projects, from beach resorts, serviced apartments and residential buildings to hotels, mostly in the three major cities Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang.

For instance, Singapore-based investment fund Frasers Centrepoint Limited has acquired a 70 percent stake in a luxury residential apartment project from a local real estate developer. The $100-million project, namely G Home, covers a one-hectare area in downtown Ho Chi Minh City.

Source: VNexpress

April 21, 2017 / by / in