Nestled between China, Laos, Cambodia and the South China Sea, Vietnam is home to thriving cities, bountiful beaches, stunning pagodas and more than 93 million residents. Doing business in this Southeast Asian land could involve any number of industries, provided you submit the proper paperwork to secure your Vietnam business visa before you go.
Vietnam business visas can often be processed in as few as two business days, although you first have to decide on the exact type of business visa you need. Choices include:
Those intending to visit more than once within a short period for business would want to consider the multiple entry visa, with an expiration date of either one or three months.
A number of required documents must be submitted to obtain a Vietnam business visa.
While Vietnam’s economy has historically been driven by agriculture, especially its wet rice cultivation, other viable industries have been emerging. Bauxite mining has made a mark, as has manufacturing and exporting of low-end textiles, garment, furniture and electronics.
In fact, the country’s manufacturing output has been beating out China, with Vietnam’s benchmark purchasing managers’ index hitting a reading above 50 every single month since Aug. 2013.
Economic development plans for the country’s three key economic zones (KEZs) were launched in 2004, with strategies and a vision of what to expect as each zone capitalized on its strengths through 2020.
If wet rice cultivation isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other opportunities to do business in Vietnam. Options range from high-tech to commerce to manufacturing of all types of clothing, furniture and other exports.
Doing business in Vietnam often involves giving a gift during a meal or at the culmination of a business meeting. Pick something small and not too expensive. Initial meetings should be designated as the “getting to know you” meetings, the first step in building essential relationships that will then allow you to effectively do business.
Conservative dress is the safest way to go, as is setting appointments several weeks in advance. Choosing a local rep to act as a reference and translator is a wise idea. Always be on time. Handshakes are generally only shared between members of the same gender, with a two-handed shake common.
Exchanging business cards is somewhat of a ritual. The ceremony should be done using both hands to offer and receive cards, making sure the writing is facing your recipient.
Patience is another must for Vietnamese business, particularly with negotiations. Mounds of red tape can often slow things down. Choose your words carefully, never make promises you cannot keep, and know that silence is common when a person disagrees with what’s being said and wants to save face.
Hierarchy is strictly followed in business dealings as well as throughout society as a whole. The most senior business executive enters the room first, and you must wait for the most senior member to sit first when dining. Age and status are important hierarchical markers in Vietnamese society, structures derived from Confucianism.
You can’t go wrong in Vietnam if you take the time to visit the country’s largest city and indulge in one of the most popular foods around.
Ho Chi Minh City counts as the former, a bustling urban area that sets the country’s cultural and economic vibe.
City highlights include the Jade Emperor Pagoda, massive boulevards, French colonial architecture and the bustling Ben Thanh Market. You can also take tours of the Mekong Delta for an up-close and personal view of those wet rice paddies.
And no trip to Vietnam would be complete without some authentic pho. This Vietnamese noodle soup contains flat, skinny noodles, herbs, broth and usually chicken or some other type of meat.
Pho originated in northern Vietnam and spread to the rest of the world following the Vietnam War. A super-popular street food and restaurant specialty, southern Vietnamese typically eat pho for breakfast or lunch while their northern counterparts eat it all day long.
Before you can even get to the pho, of course, you need to tend to a few other requirements. These include your airline tickets, out-of-town accommodations, a small gift for your business meeting, and a Vietnam business visa to ensure you can enter the country with ease.
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