Etiquette in Vietnam

Vietnam, located in Southeast Asia, is the world’s 13th-most-populous country with an estimated 90.3 million inhabitants.

The official language is Vietnamese.

At the end of the Vietnam War, the North and South Vietnam were unified under a Communist government, becoming a Marxist–Leninist single-party state.

Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism have been the dominant religions throughout Vietnamese history. About 85% of Vietnamese identify with Buddhism. Although not all practice on a regular basis, these religions have a strong influence on the local culture.

The đồng was introduced as the official currency of Vietnam in 1978.

Business Negotiation Etiquette

The Vietnamese are punctual and expect others to be so to. Appointments are required and should be made several weeks in advance, preferably through a local representative who can act as a reference and also translator/interpreter.

Dress conservatively. Excessive makeup or revealing clothing is considered a sign of prostitution.

Handshakes are used upon meeting and departing, usually take place only between members of the same sex, and may be two-handed. Always wait for a woman to extend her hand. If she does not, bow your head slightly.

Business cards are exchanged on initial meetings. Present yours with both hands, with the text facing the receiver. When receiving business cards ensure you show proper respect to it. Do not simply glance at it and put it on the table, stuff it into your pockets, or write on it.

Relationships are critical to successful business partnerships. Always invest time in building a good relationship and use your initial meeting as a “getting to know you” meeting.

The spoken word is very important. Never make promises that you can not keep. Silence is equally important and may be a sign of passive disagreement.