Vietnam Business Etiquette and Corporate Culture
Business owners planning to establish and expand their business in Vietnam can benefit greatly by following Vietnam business etiquette. Vietnamese people believe in developing strong relationships in personal as well as professional settings. Showing proficiency in Vietnamese business etiquettes can impress your business associate. It can also give you an advantage to develop a great working relationship with them.
Vietnam Business Etiquette & Corporate Culture The Vietnamese are quite punctual and expect foreigners to arrive on time. However, if a situation occurs that is beyond your control, they can be flexible and accommodating. Business cards are an essential part of Vietnamese business world.
They are exchanged at the start of the meeting and are considered as the first step to a long-term professional relationship. A bilingual business card shows that you value your client and are seriously interested in working with them. You need to receive and present the cards with both hands to show respect. You are expected to bring surplus business cards as you may meet more people than you expected. As a foreigner, you might need to deal with certain government officials to get permits.
This might be a long and stressful procedure. You might need to make several visits to get licenses and approvals from ministry officials.
Since the local chamber of commerce and the embassies have close ties, they can be a great source of information for business related queries and business procedures. They can also help in expediting your documentation process by facilitating effective networking. In Vietnam, decisions are usually made by committees.
As no one holds absolute power, you cannot rely on one person to safeguard your interest. You may need to meet and convince several individuals to close the deal. Additionally, Vietnamese businessmen anticipate high profits from business deals. They seek the best offer from you which may sometimes slow down their decisions making process.
Vietnam Business Etiquette Greeting: Personal respect has critical value in Vietnamese culture. Offering a hand shake with a slight bow is customary in Vietnamese business world. Additionally, it is expected that you address your colleague by Mr. or Miss. followed by the given name. The people of Vietnam are very sensitive about self-respect. Your Vietnamese colleague should never get a sense of lost status or dignity. A slight mistake on your part may make them feel disrespectful which may lead to immediate loss of contact.
Vietnamese Business Meetings Vietnamese businessmen prefer formal dressing at business meetings. Men usually wear suits while women wear dress or suits. During warm weather, it is acceptable not to wear jacket. Vietnamese businessmen are more comfortable in their native language than speaking in English.
Consider hiring an interpreter to facilitate communication. Learning a few Vietnamese words with correct pronunciation may also help to get admiration from your Vietnamese colleague.
In addition, this book, Vietnam Business Guide was absolutely amazingly helpful in giving critical background and business support for my trips and even more so for friends that moved there for work.
In addition to following these Vietnam Business Etiquettes protocols, you should be careful about choosing the businessman you are working with. Due to widespread corruption in the country, inappropriate business partners may cause inconvenience in several ways.
Many respectable companies are registered with the government and your local embassies can offer great assistance here. When I first moved to China back in 2003, it was still very uncommon to hear of people going to Vietnam for anything, to be honest.
I had the fortunate opportunity to meet a few Vietnamese during my travels and I found them to have a vibrant culture and great passion for learning and exploring. Many friends of mine ended up moving from Hong Kong to Vietnam in the late 2000’s as many banks were opening offices there.
And, if you’re looking to have a great time along the coast there, be sure to check out my article here: Vietnam Coastline.