Vietnam: The Rising Dragon of Southeast Asia

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Vietnam, with its rich history and cultural tapestry, has emerged as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Its youthful population, strategic location, and reform-oriented government policies make it a compelling destination for international businesses, including those from New Zealand.

Vital Statistics

  • Population: Approx. 97 million
  • GDP: Approx. $340 billion USD (as of 2021)
  • GDP Growth Rate: 6.8% (Projected for 2023)
  • Major Cities & Population:
    • Ho Chi Minh City (8.9 million)
    • Hanoi (7.7 million)
    • Da Nang (1.1 million)
  • Median Age: 32.5 years
  • Major Industries: Electronics, Garments, Footwear, Tourism, Agriculture, Seafood Processing
  • Primary Language: Vietnamese
  • Currency: Vietnamese Dong (VND)

Economic Overview

Over the past few decades, Vietnam has transitioned from a primarily agrarian society to a modern industrial nation. The country has become a significant electronics exporter, with giants like Samsung setting up large operations. The textile and footwear sectors also remain crucial export contributors.

Tourism is growing rapidly, fueled by world-renowned sites such as Ha Long Bay and the ancient town of Hoi An. Agriculture, especially rice production, remains pivotal for domestic consumption and export.

Business Culture and Etiquette

Vietnam is a blend of Confucian values and its unique cultural identity. Building personal relationships and showing respect, especially to elders, are paramount in Vietnamese business culture. While Vietnamese is the official language, English is increasingly used in business, especially among the younger generation.

Understanding and respecting Vietnam’s national holidays and festivals, like Tet (Lunar New Year), is crucial, as it greatly influences business operations.


  • Tech Boom: A rapidly growing tech scene, especially in cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, spells opportunities for IT and software services.
  • Manufacturing and Export: Vietnam is increasingly becoming a hub for manufacturing, from electronics to textiles.
  • Green Initiatives: With its focus on sustainability, there’s potential in renewable energy, waste management, and sustainable agriculture.

Vietnam’s burgeoning tech ecosystem offers immense potential for digital services, app development, and e-commerce ventures.

With its strategic location and competitive labor costs, Vietnam has become a preferred destination for manufacturing and exports, presenting vast opportunities in these sectors.

The country’s shift towards green initiatives and sustainability opens doors for businesses in renewable energy and sustainable agriculture.


  • Navigating Regulations: Vietnam’s regulatory environment is evolving, and understanding the intricacies can be challenging.
  • Infrastructure Concerns: Despite rapid development, certain areas still lag in terms of infrastructure.
  • Language Barriers: While English usage is growing, understanding and communicating in Vietnamese can be beneficial.

Understanding Vietnam’s complex and evolving regulatory framework is essential for foreign businesses to ensure compliance and successful operations.

Infrastructure, though rapidly developing in urban centers, can sometimes be a challenge in more remote regions.

Effective communication is crucial, and having a grasp of the Vietnamese language or working with local partners can be beneficial.

Future Outlook:

  • Digital Economy: With a significant portion of its population online, Vietnam’s digital economy is set for explosive growth.
  • Regional Trade Agreements: Vietnam’s active participation in ASEAN and other trade agreements positions it favourably for regional collaborations.
  • Skilled Workforce: Emphasis on education and skill development promises a skilled and competitive workforce.

Vietnam’s focus on digital transformation is poised to create myriad opportunities across various tech sectors.

Being an integral part of regional frameworks like ASEAN, Vietnam is set to benefit from enhanced trade partnerships and collaborations.

The country’s investment in education and training ensures a skilled and ready workforce for the industries of the future.

In conclusion, Vietnam’s remarkable transformation and growth trajectory make it a beacon of opportunity in Southeast Asia. Its blend of cultural heritage with modern dynamism presents both unique challenges and unparalleled opportunities.

If you’re contemplating venturing into Vietnam or seeking deeper insights into this thriving market, reach out to Aseanz . Together, we can harness the potential of this Southeast Asian dynamo.