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Doing business in Vietnam: understanding cultural differences

2019-04-09 Business No comment

Introduction

In today's global business environment with your business, it's important to understand the people and cultures you want to do business with.

The more prepared you are, the more successful your business negotiations will be. “Be warned in advance, pre-established.” This is your choice.

I have included some basic strategies and options that can improve and improve your success if used properly. These recommendations are based on years of personal business experience in the real world with real people. Taking this approach is effective and I can assure you that it works well.

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Family culture

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2. Reputation – "Recover face"

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3. Name structure

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Greetings

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5. Bribery and corruption

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6. Gift giving

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7. Standard work practices

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8. Business Meeting – Preparation

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9. Business Meeting – What to Expect

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10. Business Culture – Communication

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11. Ask a question

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12. Festival / Festival

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13. Praise

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14. Social gatherings

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15. Superstition

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16. Others – Traditional Vietnamese customs

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17. Summary

Although we can do most of the business online using today's technology, in this case it can only take you so far. In fact, there is no substitute for being experienced or immersed in the local environment.

I believe that we often overlook the fact that technology is just a tool that can help us get the job done. The essence of business is people.

Family culture

The first step in understanding how to conduct business in Vietnam is to understand the mainstream dynamics that define its social structure parameters. By familiarizing ourselves with these basic cultural aspects of Vietnamese society and using a bit of empathy, we can begin to understand the key elements of its social pillar and how it defines and influences its business culture.

– Chinese Confucianism plays a very important role in its philosophical beliefs and daily life

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– Older people are often respected and their life experiences are highly respected in the family

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– Why do you see a generation living under one roof, which becomes very obvious?

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– For most people, men make the final decision, if not everything, the traditional ideal of male superiority still exists today.

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– The eldest son of a family is considered to be the head of the household. In this case, the elderly are usually regarded as role models.

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– Worship ancestors are commonplace because they are seen as a source of life, wealth and important tenants who maintain family culture

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– Their ancestors were respected. On the day of their death, they often held special ceremonies and ceremonies. For the Vietnamese, their deceased elders were considered to be the source of their existence.

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– Traditional Vietnamese families generally do not celebrate birthdays

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– Vietnam is basically a collectivist society in which the needs of the group often exceed the needs of the individual, especially in the context of family values.

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– Family and community issues almost always appear before business or personal needs

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– Family spirit plays a very important role in Vietnamese society

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– Family, extended family and community can have a major impact on the behaviour of individual family members, whether they are children or adults

The essence of "family" is one of the most important characteristics of Vietnamese culture, and "family" is everything. It is worth remembering that Vietnam is also a patriarchal society in terms of family ethos. Most Vietnamese companies have adopted similar hierarchies to varying degrees.

Vietnamese society is changing rapidly. As the country opens up, as society becomes more affluent, Vietnamese become more “Westernized” over time. Some long-standing family traditions have begun to fade away.

As the younger generation is exposed to more and more Western culture, some long-standing traditional family values ​​are being eroded, and Western thought and culture are rapidly becoming more common.

2. Reputation – "Save Face"

The concept of saving “face” appears throughout Asia, and in some cases it is the most important factor in everything they do. Today, in some of the more developed Asian countries, this way of thinking is not strictly adhered to as before.

– The concept of saving faces is still very important

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– Reputation gives people dignity and prestige, and with family members

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– Especially for Vietnamese, their hearts are deeply rooted, and "reputation" is regarded as the only thing that can be left to family after death.

As people get older and more educated people begin to feel their own existence in their own culture, these changes will become more apparent. Some of these types of traditional beliefs are beginning to take a step back, but don't underestimate how much impact; "reputation" will have an impact on your business negotiations in Vietnam.

3. Name structure

– The names are written in the following order: 1. Last name. 2. Middle name and 3. name [Christian name]

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– First place the last name because it emphasizes the human heritage, family, as mentioned earlier, "family" is everything

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– The middle name "Thi" indicates that the person is a woman and "Van" indicates that the person is a male

Greetings

– For more important occasions, use the last name, middle name and last given name

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– Use the word "Thua", meaning "please" to evaluate you more politely in their eyes

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– Resolving people older or higher than your name is considered to be disrespectful; even in family or relative relationships, include their title with their name

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– Generally, women don’t shake hands or shake hands with men; they look down slightly

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– If age and ranking are involved, usually the first person will be greeted first

5. Bribery and corruption

Please note that there are various forms of Vietnamese society at all levels; it is an integral part of their culture and has been around for a long time. One of the main reasons for this is that the “standard” wages in many commercial sectors in Vietnam are low, which also includes government departments. At the lower end, monthly wages can be as low as $100 a month.

– Recommended resources: Transparency International

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Corruption's perception index for 2012 covers 174 countries. The higher the number, the higher the degree to which a country is considered to be corrupt:

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o Vietnam – 123

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o Cambodia – 157

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o Laos – 160

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o Myanmar – 172

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– Recommended resources: Tuoitre News [Vietnamese English News website]

This is often considered a sensitive area, and from an ethical perspective, you need to make your own decisions. Some business units are different from others, so you need to understand the situation. What I can suggest is to do a considerable amount of research, from which you can draw your own conclusions and make informed decisions.

I suggest that your research focus is on understanding how and where the commission is. Somewhere, you will pay a commission, whether you know it or not. You need to know where this will happen, how it will happen, and most importantly, how much it will cost and be prepared.

Make sure you are as close to the source as possible when doing business in Vietnam, and only deal with the manufacturer if you purchase the product.

The farther you are from the actual work, the higher the cost, and everyone involved must get their commission and you will pay.

6. Gift giving

Gift giving is a common practice in Vietnam and is not considered a bribe of any kind; these thank-you gifts don't need to be expensive and should be considered a small part of your appreciation.

Surprisingly, when you give them a small gift, the Vietnamese are really grateful, it makes you conducive to further negotiations, there are some options to choose from.

– flowers

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– Chocolate / Candy

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– fruit

One of the most effective gifts you can give them is a small souvenir representing your home country. For example, if you buy more than a dozen from Australia, small key rings, kangaroos, koalas, boomers, etc., they cost only a few dollars each.

Wrap them in a box with bright wrapping paper. This method will bring you a lot of "Browny points", far more than the cost of buying these types of gifts, which is a great investment for the future.

7. Standard work practices

Standard working hours apply to larger cities from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Some corporate offices and government departments are open for a long time on Saturday. In regional areas, business hours may vary and stores may be closed for one hour or more during lunch hours.

– Vietnamese businessmen use English extensively when conducting business in major cities in Vietnam. Don't automatically assume that their English is good at giving you all the information you need.

– The further you enter the region and the province, the harder it is to find these small family businesses, the less English you can speak. So plan your trip to cover any possibilities

If you have any questions, please hire an interpreter and save yourself a lot of trouble. It is very important to find the right translation for you, this is not a simple process. I suggest you to have your translation sign a company confidentiality agreement.

An English copy and a Vietnamese version, let them sign two copies, and make sure to give them two copies, and keep the original as a record. You need to be absolutely sure that the translations you hire are at your side, not them [commissions].

8. Business meeting…

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