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I'm going to tell you something you may not want to hear

First let me tell you that I speak from two years of experience on the ground in Vietnam....80% of it outside of Saigon...in the real Vn with real government officials, police chiefs, business peeps of all types and sizes.   If  you spend all you time in Saigon and think you kow VN then I suggest you reconsider your perspective.   I should point out that I have been living abroad and have operated a business as a foreigner in a foreign country for years before coming to Vietnam.   My ex was Vietnam born Vietnamese back in my home country so I have more than most of you in terms of an introduction into Vietnam culture.  She warmed many years ago that the VN counld not be trusted....

If your entire expectation of VN is to enjoy an Asian country on the cheap and it's fun attributes then you can be a happy camper.

If though, and to the point of this post, you get the inspiration to 'make a life in vietnam as a foreigner' and you think that you can enter into investment and business ventures like any reasonable country in the modern world....then you should take heed of my warning.

Don't do it.   You stand an 80% chance of getting reamed ....and I don't claim to be IMHO but in my learned opinion.   I've personally met over 60 foreigners who have been through the ringer..some going back twenty years...and the stories are just endless of their friends, countrymen or foreginers of all kinds that have felt the weight lifted from heir wallets and bank accounts and egos.   The deck is so stacked that you stand little chance of succeeding and no amount of 'American or British or French or ...whatever...stiff upper lip' will make a difference.  The entire VN investment horizon is a mirage...a mirage of smiling friendly Vietnamese who will not stab you in the back with a physical knife... but instead will slice your wallet and good intentions into a bled carcass all the time say 'so sorry you have bad luck...cannot help you'.

There is nothing, statistically, fair about the playing field for foreigners trying to do biz in VN.  It's rigged to fleece you...just take my advice and move on to another country. 

You may hear of 'government registered contracts' or 'guaranteed compliance' or other terms they local government officials sell you to invest in their projects.   I speak from personal experience...it means nothing because when the deal goes against you then you wil get the quick push out of town by the local police and lawyers will get the word not to take you on as a client in that area....and surprise the local judicial process always rules in the favor of the local who reamed you.

There is NO RULE OF LAW nor even in CONTRACT LAW...you are the rich foreigner and they are the poor VN and that is the only thing they care about...you must be fleeced....

Don't know why this reads so pessimistic; however, if reality is as dull as your opinion I bet that there would be no foreign entrepreneurs/companies would invest and operate their business in Viet Nam.

Thanks for the heads up..  I've had bad experience in micronesia ,and they even had the American judicial system in place.  But still got ripped off.

singuyen tranpham :

Don't know why this reads so pessimistic; however, if reality is as dull as your opinion I bet that there would be no foreign entrepreneurs/companies would invest and operate their business in Viet Nam.

Go ask a company like MGM Grand who left here. The OP is correct in a lot of what he says. The only way international companies can make money is from the cheap labour. Three big International banks are looking at pulling up stumps, I wonder why?

Well, It's strange to me that a wealthy giant like the Commonwealth Bank of Australia is pulling out! Maybe even they have been fleeced.

I posted my comment about The Commonwealth Bank of Australia and then read yours! Wow! The Vietnamese authorities are not doing themselves any favours and not looking at the long term like the Chinese do. Vietnam has so much potential. I can't help them in my specialist field because I have also been warned off by a long term expat.

It's a difficult environment , last year the Sheraton hotel was inspected 15 times over a 12 month period. These inspections are generally profitable to the numerous agencies that partake in these ridiculous inspections.

sushimonger :

First let me tell you that I speak from two years of experience on the ground in Vietnam....80% of it outside of Saigon...in the real Vn with real government officials, police chiefs, business peeps of all types and sizes.   If  you spend all you time in Saigon and think you kow VN then I suggest you reconsider your perspective.   I should point out that I have been living abroad and have operated a business as a foreigner in a foreign country for years before coming to Vietnam.   My ex was Vietnam born Vietnamese back in my home country so I have more than most of you in terms of an introduction into Vietnam culture.  She warmed many years ago that the VN counld not be trusted....

If your entire expectation of VN is to enjoy an Asian country on the cheap and it's fun attributes then you can be a happy camper.

If though, and to the point of this post, you get the inspiration to 'make a life in vietnam as a foreigner' and you think that you can enter into investment and business ventures like any reasonable country in the modern world....then you should take heed of my warning.

Don't do it.   You stand an 80% chance of getting reamed ....and I don't claim to be IMHO but in my learned opinion.   I've personally met over 60 foreigners who have been through the ringer..some going back twenty years...and the stories are just endless of their friends, countrymen or foreginers of all kinds that have felt the weight lifted from heir wallets and bank accounts and egos.   The deck is so stacked that you stand little chance of succeeding and no amount of 'American or British or French or ...whatever...stiff upper lip' will make a difference.  The entire VN investment horizon is a mirage...a mirage of smiling friendly Vietnamese who will not stab you in the back with a physical knife... but instead will slice your wallet and good intentions into a bled carcass all the time say 'so sorry you have bad luck...cannot help you'.

There is nothing, statistically, fair about the playing field for foreigners trying to do biz in VN.  It's rigged to fleece you...just take my advice and move on to another country. 

You may hear of 'government registered contracts' or 'guaranteed compliance' or other terms they local government officials sell you to invest in their projects.   I speak from personal experience...it means nothing because when the deal goes against you then you wil get the quick push out of town by the local police and lawyers will get the word not to take you on as a client in that area....and surprise the local judicial process always rules in the favor of the local who reamed you.

There is NO RULE OF LAW nor even in CONTRACT LAW...you are the rich foreigner and they are the poor VN and that is the only thing they care about...you must be fleeced....

Well, Totally agreed, If a foreigner stays in Vietnam more than 50 years but Vietnam law still treats then as a foreigner.

To the OP, spot on and all would do well to heed. For all the dreamers the man is telling the truth. This is a lawless country of laws. As a foreigner you will never have a status here as a citizen or resident. There is no Common Law and contracts can not be enforced. They write them to hook you TODAY and that is the end of the agreement. When you step off the plane or cross the border here, "Guard your money". If there ups are moving they are lying. But if you believe what the man says is true and simply want to enjoy a cheap lifestyle it is a wonderful place to be. Just must have a thick skin and put up with the caveman mentality. Don't try to educate them or help their ship rise, because they know everything and do not want your help and you will do fine.

Not a lot of reason to pay much attention to there rambles of an expat living in Japan. Once he arrives and starts his multibillion international powerhouse company hear in Vietnam he can tell the average joe that the OP was talking about how easy it is to make billions here when you are a small fry non-citizen here in this country. Maybe it works that way in Japn who does operate under the rule of Common law. Good thing he is not sticking around to contribute more silliness to the conversation. Let him come here and put his money where his mouth is. Let him try to buy a motorbike and register it in his name. in Japan he can

Roger, one post and you know it all. Try looking up ABN Amro then get back to us. Hopefully the pitiful replies won't hurt your feelings. Mẹ ơi, mẹ ơi.

Roger53 is a troll. Ignoring.

I don't have business experience, but I listen to my Vietnamese family stories, and I think the problem is bigger than Vietnamese vs foreigners. It is an attitude like: if you have power, you can get away with threatening and coercing those with less. There is no system of support for the weaker party, that cannot be also be corrupted. A Vietnamese citizen is just as vulnerable as a foreigner, although a foreigner is considered a more profitable (richer) target.

Definition of corruption: dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power

The attitude comes from authoritarian government, and trickles down by example to infect every level of society. Govt agency expecting bribes from a foreign investor. Shop owner who has to pay inspectors. Job applicant paying for job referral. Teachers expecting presents and dinner before exams. Policeman who threatens to impound motorbike for turn signal violation. On and on.

Solution: Fairness. Start simple with proclamation that all citizens will be treated fairly. Allow a free press that can publicly embarrass officials. Retire all the judges, then publicly monitor the actions and income of new young ones. Fear of being caught and losing face will trickle down.

Tiger was just a hit and run airbag from Japan. I imagine he is off. Punting his billions made in VN. Oh but it adds humor to the conversation . Moving on!😀

He didnt even pick up on the fact it was related to the average punter. He started rambling on about multinationals. Troll of the highest order.

Vietnamese business acumen : be related to someone in power or pay bribes to the necessary official. Yeah that's real business acumen Roger.

I see there's a guy doing business cards on the internet. You should get some! Colin Oscar Pee. Put Mr Pee on the front and your name on the back plus  Crocodile hunter, Slayer of Virgins, Tit inspector etc...I bumped into a guy in Cape Town who had some on him all the time.  All of his claims to fame were printed around the edge. I kept it for years. He knew plenty of girls and people generally. He had a genuine phone number on them. He'd invite you to a party and you'd have to pay to get in and bring a bottle of booze each!

I agreed with a lot of things Roger53 said. Doing business in any countries requires a deep understanding of the local culture as well as the unspoken rules that many people abide. How to run a business in the US will be quite different than how to run a business in Vietnam, especially rural Vietnam for that matter. Take taxes for example... In the US, you pay every dime of taxes owed to the IRS. In Vietnam, most businesses keep two sets of accounting records, and pay their auditors. In the end, you pay "taxes" one way or another...

If you want to learn how to build successful business in Vietnam, talk to successful entrepreneurs and learn. Don't assume anything... This applies to Vietnamese and expats alike. You didn't get fleeced because you were a foreigner. You got fleeced because you didn't know enough. Simple as that.

Vietnam is a great place to start a business if you know what to do. In fact, HCMC is one of those cities where the millionaire populations are growing the fastest, according to Forbes.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccar … 76adcb4ac1

Is that why Viet Nam is 99th on the list of places to do business. Those millionaires you mention, most are connected to the government in some way.

It is not so simple to start a business in Vietnam and compete with local. Take for example the internet business. Vietnamese start a web shop and start selling items similar to yours at deeply discounted price. Not because they are good at product sourcing but because they are not registered business entities and there are no additional expenses to pay like hiring an auditor, taxes, VATs, examination by government authorities,etc.

That being said, the locals are really nice people. So to be objective on this matter, my negative sentiment is only with regards to the business climate. If you really need to do business here, I suggest that you start as small as possible to limit potential losses. Big MNCs make money here because they are using lots of capital and hiring top legal experts to protect their interest. Most of the time they will do JV instead of 100% investing. Their JV partners are usually from high position government officials. Look at Macdonald, brother in law of the ex PM of Vietnam as an example.

Vietnam do not lack anything, they have talented people here as well. What they do lack is MONEY $$$. So the authorities try their best marketing front to attract investment and stack the rules in favor of locals. Nothing wrong with this approach as protectionism is pretty common nowadays. So for expats like us who wants to do business here, be creative and use as little capital as possible. The market potential is here definitely with a population of more than 90 million people.

I think most here do not realize that most MNC can not take the risk associated with do business themselves in a country that does not operate under Common Law procedures. So yes they use many JV with locals. The house is stacked against doing business here and having laws to protect you.
   Imagine if you had tried to get even the prime location the son-in-law got to build his McDonalds. There are probably only a couple people in the entire country that could have pulled that off. And those couple had to be well connected to the hands of power.

Good advice by many.

Until the country adopts Common Law I don't see it get to far to fast. And honestly I do not think the current coffee fund form of law would ever allow Common Law to get a foothold. Might be wrong. Just have to wait many years and see.
Sorry I thought this was on the thread concerning investing here. But the nemesis is the same no matter in the context of this thread or the other thread.

let me tell you from a foreigners perspective with real multi national experience, not just from western countries,  but from asian countries as well, Vietnam is well known as one of the most corrupt countries in the world and foreign  companies avoid doing business with vietnam, unless it is necessary.  So you can talk all the BS about local customs because it is meaningless on an international scale.  The government is corrupt and foreign companies will not invest in vietnam with the corruption in its present state.  The refusal to look beyond today will always be a detriment to vietnam.   Until vietnam reduces corruption at the border, it will never achieve anything but 3rd world status.  That is the cold hearted truth and the people of vietnam suffer from the ignorance  of 3rd world government thinking.

Well said VNdreamer, and my point exactly. But that is probably not going to happen. Just go see the homes of the poorly paid non-elected officials. They are not going to give that up. And I doubt there is any path to make that happen that we should/could talk about here.
  It is sad. Because there a great opportunities to be tapped and enough reward to go around for all.
   It is the economies of the world that drive the world economy. The inexspensive labor here could be the starting ground for advancement if the country. Of course someday they will not be the cheap source of labor. Yet if they use that increase wealth to improve their systems e.g. Higher education for one. They could become leaders in other areas not associated with cheap labor but valued added science etc. But as it is now the higher level education is worthless outside the borders of VN.
   Complex issue not easily solved. But no problem is ever solved until the problem is aknowkedged . I hope they see this someday.

vndreamer :

Until vietnam reduces corruption at the border, it will never achieve anything but 3rd world status.

Diazo :

But as it is now the higher level education is worthless outside the borders of VN.
...
I hope they see this someday.

That future is so not spottable on the horizon.  As I said to Dreamer recently, I don't think I will live long enough to see that day.

I too doubt it. They too easily dismiss the advances of other countries. Very difficult to teach them here anything. They think they put nan on the moon and you will never anytime soon tell them  anything

let me set the record straight.  I love VN and wish it nothing but the best,  But what I see,  a corrupt government that lives on theft from the masses and scared to death of having an educated work force for the simple fact that government employees are not well educated and living a lie because they are living off of theft and not hard work  and adding value to society.  If VN had a real formal education system in place for the masses, the government corruption would dissipate and VN could become a 1st world country like Korea, Japan and singapore, but the insecure thieves in the government will not allow it, how sad, truly sad.  They know they are living a lie, just wonder how long it will take for the masses to figure it out and oust them from power.  I truly hope that i live long enough to see it happen.  It is already 37 years to late.

since i have had a few to many wines here at at the san francisco airport with my lovely VN wife waiting for our connecting flight, she is the most amazing human being that i have ever met in my life.  She truly makes me a better person and that has to do with a lot of what her parents instilled in her has a traditional vietnamese person.  thus, I see so much potential in the society and people of vientam, but they are being held back by a corrupt government.  Why do you think the infamous HCM had hundreds of schools closed in south vietnam and families killed, including children, who refused to stop sending their children to school?  The people of Vietnam need to wake up to the cold hard truth of why they have been relegated to 3rd world status.  I see amazing people in VN on a daily basis who have traits that would make VN a great country, but their lack of a formal education system keeps them economically challenged and never in a position to achieve their full potential.  I do hope someday that the masses in VN rebel against the corrupt government and create a society that fosters individual achievement based on merit and not corruption.  In the end, the people of VN would benefit far greater than under the current corrupt system.  The question is this, how long will it take for the masses to recognize and mandate the changes for a more open and free society?

With ALL your Complaints Why you wolud move to this failed country????? Better stay in you wonderful homecountry :-)

AustriaKarl :

With ALL your Complaints Why you wolud move to this failed country????? Better stay in you wonderful homecountry :-)

boi vi, I have hope, the human condition is that it wants to be free, live a life of happiness and prosperity, not of oppression and submissiveness.  I see great potential in the people of VN and they should be set free to achieve greatness.  It will happen some day and I do hope that I live long enough to see it.

AustriaKarl :

With ALL your Complaints Why you wolud move to this failed country????? Better stay in you wonderful homecountry :-)

I have seen you complain numerous times, stop being a hypocrite.

Don't know about other posters, but my issues are not with the country, only somewhat with the people, and mainly with the powers that be.

We have had issues with the people and the powers that be in our home country too, that's why we've lived as expats a few times over.

We moved here for an absolutely selfish reason.  After visiting 60+ countries and living out our dreams in 4 of the 10 most beautiful countries in the world, spouse and I wanted to switch our focus to Asia.  VN is a good base, geographically and financially, for our plan.  On top of that, I speak the language fluently, understand the culture as well as any native born, and can blend in/be part of the landscape easily.  Spouse won't be, but he has the knack of not drawing attention to himself so he'll be fine for the few minutes my back is turned.  :top:

Colionscape: I think the hypocrite are the ones who complaine about everything but still stay her?

My word what a silly notion that one can live anywhere and make observation both positive and negative An discuss it with others. It is ludicrous to think that one hates any country because they make observations and comment on them. In my home country it is hobby to do so. Not sure where AustriaKarl has been all his life. Perhaps in a convent. But I am sure they complain. Start a thread on any county and many will contribute many a comment that would offend sensitive AustriaKarl.
  Myself I enjoy Vietnam and so much about it. But if anyone thinks it has no problems then you cone from another planet. Like I said before until one recognizes a problem it will never get fixed. Many in this country have nothing to compare to, thus may not see what holds them back.

AustriaKarl :

Colionscape: I think the hypocrite are the ones who complaine about everything but still stay her?

Maybe they stay because her makes their life good her.   :joking:

Yeah, lets just say good things and hope nothing changes.

Or start a thread about the great things we live here.
Jeez it is not an criminal indictment we are talking about. If a person stay here ling enough I can not imagine someone like ole AustriKarl whinny pants realizing this is a third work country for a reason. And maybe the line being a third world country. Nothing wrong with that. Bravo to them.

Ciambella, that's why I came here too . The world is full of previously 'lucky' countries rich in minerals where the streets are paved in fools gold which are hugely expensive to live in or where the natives have believed in the illusion that they can govern more successfully than the former colonial power. I'm now residing in my fourth continent.

Most millionaire ...that's a worry

colinoscapee :

Yeah, lets just say good things and hope nothing changes.

Aristotle (some old guy) once supposedly said.

Tolerance and Apathy are the last virtues of a dying society.

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