Ho Chi Minh City is the perfect place for doing business in Vietnam. The country’s biggest city houses many international company headquarters, as well as local production facilities. Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh is recognised for its dynamic urban landscape, excellent business opportunities and the ideal culture blend between modern and traditional.
The city undergoes change every single day. The central business district is one area that is evolving rapidly. People from all parts of the world flock to Vietnam’s biggest city, to make the most of the professional and the social opportunities available.
Apart from having a beautiful urban area, Ho Chi Minh has many infrastructure projects being executed. Currently, city authorities are working on the construction of Long Thanh Airport. The brand new airport is expected to service 100 million passengers per year and its operations are set to start in 2025.
Ho Chi Minh is home to eight percent of Vietnam’s population with the number of residents constantly growing. These people are responsible for producing 20 percent of the country’s GDP and the per capita GDP was estimated at 5,100 dollars in 2014. This number is a lot higher than the average for the country, which is solely 2,052 US dollars.
This colourful and exciting city is the home of many businesses that represent dozens of industries. From banking to retail, seafood production and even mining. The local economy is also heavily dependent on tourism.
Unlike many other Asian countries, Vietnam has a communist government. This political fact impacts the business landscape. Approximately 33 percent of the economy in Ho Chi Minh is state-owned and operated. Only five percent of the businesses are in the private sector. At the same time, Vietnam has managed to accomplish something that few communist countries are recognised for. Nearly 62 percent of the business in Ho Chi Minh is the result of direct foreign investment.
With such a rich heritage and efforts towards modernisation, it’s no wonder why Ho Chi Minh is constantly growing in popularity among entrepreneurs from all parts of the world.
Citizens from ASEAN countries, Japan, South Korea, Russia and many European countries do not require a visa. Many others can easily obtain a visa on arrival however we recommend having it pre-organised to speed up your arrival process. For more information read more here.
Depending on your time of arrival at Tan Son Nhat International Airport be prepared to experience delays. Immigration protocols are not streamlined but do ensure you have your visa already organised prior to ensure you can expedite the process.
To stay connected without the expense of global data roaming, invest in a prepaid mobile SIM card with a data plan. You will find many operators Vinaphone, Viettel, Mobifone, among others at the airport or in town. You’ll also discover that most cafés, restaurant and bars offer free wifi but may be inconsistent.
A popular app used by Vietnamese for messaging is Zalo.
Violent crime is not a big problem in Vietnam and the city is comparatively safe. Just be careful about drive by bag snatching or pick pocketing. Also, be aware of how to cross the streets and negotiate the many motorcycles. Read more about health and safety here.
The official language in Vietnam is Vietnamese. Many people in Ho Chi Minh’s business and tourist areas speak English however to maximise your meetings engage an interpreter. Here are some useful phrases.
The culture is heavily focused on saving face in just about every aspect of life. Hierarchical social structures remain effective, predominantly in the respect for age and status. To be successful in business make sure you are fully versed in it here.
8.76 million (2017 est)
86% belong to the Kinh also known as Viet. There are 54 other groups - Tay & Tai are the next largest groups with 1.9% & 1.7%.
A local folk religion is prevalent influenced by Confucianism and Taoism. Also Buddhism is practiced along with minorities Christianity, Islam and Hinduism
2,095 square kilometres (800.23 sq miles)
HCMC has wet and dry seasons because of its sub-equatorial climate.
Ho Chi Minh’s average altitude is 19 metres (62 feet) above sea level.
Bottled or filtered water is the safe choice.
Electrical current is 220 volts, 50hz and the sockets are A-type or two-pin. Three-pin sockets available occasionally.
The international access code for Vietnam is +84. Area code for HCMC is 08. Internet domain is .vn
Tax rates are progressive to 35%.
Tipping is not expected but 5-10% is appreciated for good service.