doing business in vietnam

Doing Business in Vietnam: What are the Challenges?

  • InCorp Editorial Team
  • 14 April 2023
  • 4 minute reading time

There are reasons why doing business in Vietnam becomes appealing to foreign entrepreneurs and investors. Vietnam is one of the key emerging economies in Asia these days, thanks to the economic reform and growing affluence.

In the medium and long term, it’s forecast that the country’s economy will continue to grow more than 6% every year. This progress is driven by a growing young and educated population and an expanding domestic market. What is more, Vietnam has the fastest-growing middle class in the entire Southeast Asia.

Asia’s newest ‘tiger’ economy is the new name for Vietnam, as the country’s economy is currently following in the footsteps of South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. For that reason, Vietnam has seen a dramatic increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) as many investors recognise the opportunities in this thriving investment environment.

However, doing business in Vietnam doesn’t come without potential challenges. This article identifies the major challenges business owners should be ready for before you start establishing your business in Vietnam.

Setting up a Company in Vietnam

Vietnam has been ranked the 104th in the world’s Ease of Starting a Business and the 69th in the world’s Ease of Doing Business.

Though the reform is still on-going, there are still certain requirements you have to meet before you can start a company, such as:

  • A company address and a signed lease for your company are required before you can register your legal entity
  • Restrictions are imposed for some foreign investments in certain fields such as businesses dealing with particular chemicals, drugs, minerals, firecrackers, and some biological businesses. These sectors are forbidden for foreign investments.

You might also want to read Common Business Mistakes to Avoid in Vietnam

Vietnamese Currency

The exchange rate is stable between the Vietnamese dong and the US dollar, benefiting trading partners. Hence, Vietnamese dong is regarded as one of the most stable Asian currencies for foreign investments.

However, the government regulates the transactions involving foreign currencies very strictly: control of foreign currencies inflow is more relaxed than their outflow.

Vietnamese Language is Used in the Paperwork

All reporting and filing paperwork, including licenses, must be written in Vietnamese language. For documents that are in English or other languages, they must be translated into Vietnamese through certified translations at court in the home country. It does not stop here. The certified translated documents must then be validated by a Vietnam embassy.

Taxes in Vietnam

Though reform for Vietnam’s complicated tax system is underway, there are still 10 corporate tax payments that must be made every year. Other taxes also include VAT and social insurance.

Through the reform, the government of Vietnam intends to simplify all tax calculation and declaration procedure, sort out unclear tax issues in order to create a favourable business environment.

A lot of work must also be done by the authority in respect of the improvement of technology for tax reporting such as electronic tax declaration.

Read also: Tax Incentives in Vietnam

Lack of Transparency and Bureaucracy

Even though the country is going through a huge transformation in terms of its economy; bureaucracy and lack of transparency of regulations are still common in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s overlapping jurisdiction of ministries results in the lack of consistency in policies as well as the lack of corporate financial transparency, which can also bring forth many challenges.

Payment in Cash

Vietnam depends heavily on cash for payment in the country. More than 90% of the country’s transactions are done in cash due to the lack of reliable and trustworthy cashless system and ATMs.

The corrupted local banks also add challenges for the Vietnamese to adopt and trust other types of payment method.

The government, however, aims to make Vietnam one of the cashless countries by 2020 with a plan to build the infrastructure of such system.

Cekindo Helps Overcome These Challenges when Doing Business in Vietnam

Whether you’re thinking of investing in Vietnam, or have already been doing business in Vietnam for some time, it is very critical to get the assistance you need to help you navigate this ever-evolving economy with many unforeseen circumstances that are coming your way.

Get in touch with Cekindo now by filling in the form below and we’ll have our local experts to help you take your business in Vietnam to a new height.

Pandu Biasramadhan

Senior Consulting Manager at InCorp Indonesia

An expert for more than 10 years, Pandu Biasramadhan, has an extensive background in providing top-quality and comprehensive business solutions for enterprises in Indonesia and managing regional partnership channels across Southeast Asia.

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