Vietnamese Culture

Business Culture

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Meetings

  • Be punctual. If you are late, be sure to make an apology for your tardiness.
  • In Vietnam, people generally enter a meeting in order of importance – the highest ranking person arriving first and so on. The same goes for introductions.
  • You are expected to greet everyone in the room individually, even if the group is large.
  • Vietnamese colleagues will be interested to know your age so they can address you properly.
  • Receiving Business Cards: Asian culture interprets the respect you show someone's business card to be indicative of the respect you will show the individual in business. Use both hands (or the right hand only) to receive a business card. Do not put the card away immediately. Regard it carefully and place it in front of you on the table until everyone is seated. Do not put it in the back pocket of your pants as that could be taken as you sitting on the other person's face. Similarly, do not write on a card unless directed to do so.
  • Presenting Business Cards: Use both hands (or the right hand only) when presenting a business card and make sure the writing is facing the other person. Do not deal out your cards as if you were playing a game of cards; this risks being interpreted as rude.
  • Allow a few moments of social conversation to pass before mentioning business.
  • Negotiate in a firm and fair manner; appeal to logic and justice.


Relationship Oriented

Personal relationships play a large role in Vietnamese business culture. Third-party introductions are almost a necessity, as Vietnamese people prefer to work with those they know and trust. For them, trust is key to good business. They will be looking for honest commitment to the relationship from you. Their business networks are often comprised of relatives and peers as nepotism guarantees trust. They only want to expand their networks with partners they can rely on.


If you display anger or lose your temper, you will lose their trust in doing business with you. All disagreements or conflicts should be dealt with in the most diplomatic, private manner possible. Also, be aware that Vietnamese business people may take spoken word as fact. You will lose face in their eyes if you do not act on your word. It can be very difficult to regain their confidence once you have broken a ‘promise’.


Considerations

  • Workplaces in Asia are hierarchical, based on age and position. Everyone has a distinct place and role within their business.
  • Everyone is consulted before reaching a decision, which can lead to lengthy negotiations. Remain patient. Don't expect things to be done quickly.
  • Most Vietnamese business people are internationally exposed and culturally aware. However, this may vary depending on ethnicity, age, gender and status.
  • Acknowledge the important role women have in the workplace.
  • When there is a point of tension or difficulty that can’t be resolved, Vietnamese businessmen sometimes resort to sitting in silence. This is their way of allowing the conversation to simmer back to harmony so that there is a clear space for a new topic of discussion. Westerners often find silence like this awkward. Try to resist the inclination to interrupt the silence or continue to push the problem.
  • To avoid the loss of face, a Vietnamese person may seek to resolve issues in the workplace indirectly. For example, they may use a third person to reject a proposal, ask for feedback or discuss problems.
  • On the Corruption Perception Index (2016), Vietnam ranked 113th out of 176 countries, receiving a score of 33 (on a scale from 0 to 100). This perception suggests that the country’s public sector is somewhat corrupt.
Vietnam
  • Population
    95,261,021
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Languages
    Tiếng Việt (official)
    English
    French
    Mandarin
    Cantonese
    Khmer
    Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian
  • Religions
    No Religion (81.8%)
    Buddhism (7.9%)
    Christianity (7.4%)
    Hoahaoism (1.6%)
    Caodaism (0.9%)
    Other (0.2%)
    [2009 census]
    Note: The United Nations and polling organisations believe these statistics from the 2009 Vietnamese census do not accurately reflect the spiritual landscape of Vietnam.
  • Ethnicities
    Kinh [Viet] (85.7%)
    Tay (1.9%)
    Thai (1.8%)
    Muong (1.5%)
    Khmer (1.5%)
    Mong (1.2%)
    Nung (1.1%)
    Hoa (1.0%)
    Other (4.3%)
    [2009 census]
    Note: 54 ethnic groups are recognised by the Vietnamese Government.
  • Cultural Dimensions
    Power Distance 70
    Individualism 20
    Masculinity 40
    Uncertainty Avoidance 30
    Long Term Orientation 57
    Indulgence 35
    What's this?
  • Australians with Vietnamese Ancestry
    294,798 [2016 census]
Vietnamese in Australia
  • Population
    219,355
    [2016 census]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Vietnam.
  • Average Age
    43
  • Gender
    Male (45.8%)
    Female (54.2%)
  • Religion
    Buddhism (56.2%)
    Catholic Christianity (21.6%)
    No Religion (14.6%)
    Other (4.7%)
    Not stated (3.0%)
  • Ancestry
    Vietnamese (69.6%)
    Chinese (21.8%)
    English (1.7%)
    Other (2.2%)
    Not stated (4.5%)
  • Languages
    Vietnamese (80.2%)
    Cantonese (13.3%)
    English (3.2%)
    Other (2.3%)
    Not stated (0.9%)
  • English Proficiency
    Well (56.5%)
    Not well (42.1%)
  • Diaspora
    New South Wales (38.8%)
    Victoria (36.9%)
    Queensland (8.8%)
    Western Australia (6.9%)
  • Arrival
    Prior to 2001 (74.5%)
    2001-2006 (8%)
    2007-2011 (11.9%)
Where do we get our statistics?
Country VN Flag