Starting a Business in Vietnam as a Foreign National

Bustling Ho Chi Minh City – Dynamic business environment in Vietnam’s commercial hub.

Are you a foreign entrepreneur dreaming of launching your venture in the vibrant and fast-growing economy of Vietnam? You’re not alone! Vietnam has become an attractive destination for international businesses, thanks to its strategic location, competitive labor costs, and supportive government policies. But navigating the process of setting up a company in a foreign land can be daunting. Fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to turn your business vision into reality in Vietnam.

Understanding the Business Landscape in Vietnam

Export-oriented economy of Vietnam – Strong export sector contributing to economic growth

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of company formation, let’s take a moment to appreciate the unique characteristics of Vietnam’s business environment:

  • Economic growth: Vietnam has consistently achieved impressive GDP growth rates, averaging 6-7% annually over the past decade.
  • Foreign investment: The government actively encourages foreign direct investment (FDI) through various incentives and streamlined procedures.
  • Sectors of opportunity: Key industries such as manufacturing, tourism, e-commerce, and technology are thriving in Vietnam.

Choosing the Right Business Structure

Brainstorming a business idea – Consider structure based on ownership and goals.

One of the first decisions you’ll face is selecting the appropriate legal structure for your company. The most common options for foreign investors are:

  1. Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  2. Joint Stock Company (JSC)
  3. Representative Office (RO)
  4. Branch Office (BO)

Each structure has its own advantages and limitations, so it’s crucial to consult with legal professionals to determine the best fit for your specific business needs.

Navigating the Company Registration Process

Once you’ve settled on a business structure, it’s time to tackle the registration process. While it may seem complex, breaking it down into manageable steps can help you stay organized:

  1. Obtain an Investment Registration Certificate (IRC) from the Department of Planning and Investment (DPI).
  2. Acquire a Business Registration Certificate (BRC) from the DPI.
  3. Register for a company seal and tax code with the relevant authorities.
  4. Open a corporate bank account in Vietnam.

Remember, requirements and procedures can vary depending on your business structure and industry, so seek guidance from experienced professionals to ensure compliance.

Securing Necessary Licenses and Permits

Business license – General permit allowing you to operate your business in a specific location

In addition to company registration, you may need to obtain specific licenses and permits to operate legally in Vietnam. Some common examples include:

  • Certificate of Business Registration
  • Investment License
  • Tax Registration Certificate
  • Work Permits for foreign employees

Engage with local authorities and industry associations to identify the licenses applicable to your business and follow the prescribed application processes diligently.

Building a Strong Local Team

Team participating in a team-building activity – Encouraging collaboration and communication. 

No successful business can thrive without a talented and dedicated team. When assembling your workforce in Vietnam, consider:

  • Recruitment channels: Utilize online job portals, social media, and local recruitment agencies to find qualified candidates.
  • Cultural differences: Be aware of cultural nuances in communication, hierarchy, and work ethics to foster a harmonious and productive work environment.
  • Training and development: Invest in the growth of your local team through regular training programs and career development opportunities.

Navigating Tax and Compliance Requirements

To maintain good standing with Vietnamese authorities, it’s essential to stay on top of your tax and compliance obligations:

  • Tax registration: Register your company with the local tax office and obtain a tax code.
  • Tax filing: Submit monthly, quarterly, and annual tax returns as required by law.
  • Accounting and bookkeeping: Maintain accurate financial records in accordance with Vietnamese Accounting Standards (VAS).
  • Statutory reporting: Comply with various reporting requirements, such as annual financial statements and foreign investment reports.

Engage the services of reputable tax consultants and accounting firms to ensure ongoing compliance and minimize risks.

Leveraging Local Partnerships and Networks

Building strong relationships with local partners and networks can greatly enhance your chances of success in Vietnam:

  • Joint ventures: Consider partnering with established Vietnamese companies to leverage their market knowledge, resources, and connections.
  • Business associations: Join relevant business associations and chambers of commerce to access valuable resources, events, and networking opportunities.
  • Government support: Engage with government agencies and initiatives designed to support foreign investors, such as the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA).

Adapting to the Vietnamese Market

Finally, to truly thrive in Vietnam, it’s crucial to adapt your business strategies to the local market dynamics:

  • Consumer preferences: Study the unique tastes, behaviors, and expectations of Vietnamese consumers to tailor your products or services accordingly.
  • Marketing and branding: Develop a localized marketing approach that resonates with Vietnamese culture and values.
  • Pricing strategies: Consider the purchasing power and price sensitivity of your target market when setting prices.
  • Distribution channels: Understand the prevalent distribution networks in your industry and establish partnerships with key players.


Starting a business in Vietnam as a foreign national is an exciting journey filled with opportunities and challenges. By understanding the business landscape, choosing the right structure, navigating the registration process, securing necessary licenses, building a strong team, staying compliant, leveraging partnerships, and adapting to the market, you can lay a solid foundation for your entrepreneurial success in Vietnam.

Remember, seeking guidance from experienced professionals and connecting with fellow entrepreneurs can make all the difference. With the right mindset and support of, a company specializing in the construction of tempered glass roofs, you can transform your business dreams into reality. Don’t hesitate to contact via phone or Zalo to receive the clearest and most detailed advice on your entrepreneurial journey in Vietnam!

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