Vietnam Tips
Business Hours > Corporate Structure > Agreement & Negotiation > Knowing People/Etiquette > Business Meetings

Business Hours
  • Most Vietnamese are early risers, so businesses and shops open early.
  • Most businesses are open Monday through Saturday from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm
  • Banks are open Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm and on Saturdays from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm. Lunchtime is usually between 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.
  • Many businesses, shops, and all government offices are closed during this lunch period. Shops are open from about 7:30 am to 7:00 pm, with some open longer.

Corporate Structure

  • There are public and private sector organizations, although most of the big companies are state-owned, state-run companies.  There are three types of companies: those owned by and operated by the central government(usually large business), those owned and operated by the local people's committees (have lower quality level of managment)and privately owned and operated companies(new and generally well-managed, but tend to be patriarchal with centralized decision-making.  Also are often very shallowly financed.)
  • It can be very helpful to cultivate ministry contacts.  Each ministry has an international relations directors.  All contacts and approvals must go through this department unless otherwise authorized by the minister or other senior official.
  • Most foreign businesses will have to interact with the local People's Committee, which oversees local city and district investments and projects.  The State Committee for Cooperation and Investment is responsible for attracting foreign investment and must issue the final approval for any transaction.  Approvals can take a long time depending on the size of the project.  Your local representative should be able to manage these business aspect for you.
  • Agreement and  Negotiation

  • Vietnamese will review your proposal and evaluate standard business issues as well as the extent of technology transfer and employee training.  This last issue can often be a critical factor, for few Vietnamese have specialized training for manufacturing or management functions.
  • Research is not generally conducted, for Vietnamese have few resources available to them.  They will, however, be happy to utilize whatever information you provide.  Consensus building is the key aspect of decision-making, and the process remains very bureaucratic, with most decisions made by committee.  Realize clearly and in advance that your time schedule will probably not be shared.  Everything will take much more time than you expect.
  • Although senior officials may politely say "No," the average Vietnamese is unlikely to say "No," and will go to great lengths to maintain harmony.  Be careful not to make erroneous assumptions.  Ask indirect questions.
  • Use your local partner to make frequent visits to monitor any new or ongoing transactions and to build relationships.
  • Communicating with other countries via telephone calls and faxes is very expensive for the Vietnamese.  For this reason, you may feel that your Vietnamese counterpart is not keeping in touch with you. One solution is to offer to reimburse your counterpart for his or her communication expenses.

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