Political Risks and Cultural Awareness of Doing Business in Vietnam


McDonald’s has finally arrived in Vietnam! Vietnam is opening up further to the world!

After several years of macro-economic stability and continuous restructuring of the financial and state owned sectors in Vietnam, foreign investors are quickly renewing their interest in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s membership in the ASEAN+6 Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, as well as its continuing negotiation to join the US / Japan-dominated Trans Pacific Partnership, opens up tremendous opportunities for Vietnamese subsidiaries of multinational corporations to enjoy special trade and tax advantages for global manufacturing and trading operations.

Samsung and LG have committed US-billion dollars manufacturing facility in Vietnam. Japanese corporations are buying up stakes in retail and services sectors. The investors are back in town!

What are the attractive investment opportunities? Retailing in consumer goods and food & beverages has continued to grow, while educational and healthcare services have seen renewed interest by foreign investors. Major headways have also been made in manufacturing and logistics sectors, the later especially with further liberalization under Vietnam’s WTO commitments.

Foreign investors are drawn to the dynamic economy with a population of 90 million with young, eager-to-learn and hardworking workers, as well as growing customer sophistication.

Political stability and public security is also a big plus for Vietnam when compared to other investment destinations in the region. No doubt, nationalistic fervours at times run out of hands, as was the case of workers riots in mid May 2014 in response to territorial disputes with China, but such incidence was short-lived and quickly brought back under the control. For foreign investors, as is usual for investment into emerging economies in general, an ongoing strategic assessment of political and country risk at the boardroom level is crucial at each stage of market entry into Vietnam.

The establishment of business in Vietnam is a complex task given the emerging nature of the regulatory and administrative practices concerning investment activities. Seasoned investors are aware that although knowledge of the laws and regulations in Vietnam is essential, it is the practical tips and realist strategies of avoiding the common pitfalls and potholes of establishing business enterprises and operating in Vietnam that will contribute towards business success.

This workshop also aims to guide potential foreign direct investors in assessing, structuring and implementing successful joint ventures and acquisitions of Vietnamese enterprises. With valuation of businesses / assets still low and relatively high cost of domestic funding, many Vietnamese companies are entering into M&A and joint ventures with foreign companies in anticipation of the next phase of economic growth. This is undoubtedly the golden era of M&A activities in Vietnam, with further easing of state control in state-owned enterprises through IPOs and acceptance of higher level of shareholding by foreign partners.

What would be the possible expectation gaps between foreign investors and their Vietnamese partners in corporate and financial management? What makes a joint venture successful in Vietnam? What are the effective ways of integrating international best practices into Vietnamese work environment? An appreciation of the historical, social and cultural aspects of the Vietnamese people will go a long way in managing a great team in Vietnam.



1. Vietnamese Investment Prospects

· TTP, RCEP and Vietnam’s special position in regional trading block and why foreign investors are so excited

· What are the attractive investment sectors? Updates on opportunities in:

o Shift of manufacturing from China to Vietnam

o Infrastructure, logistics and transportation

o Education and healthcare sector

o Retailing in consumer goods and F&B

2. Market Entry and Risk Assessment

· Market entry modes – strategic and legal issues

· A premier on the history, geography and economy of Vietnam

· Country risk analysis

o Geo-political issues

o Macroeconomic stability

o Legal and regulatory risks

o Infrastructure and supply chain issues

· Cost of Doing Business in Vietnam

o Rental and leases

o Human resources cost

o Construction cost for factories

o Utility and basic amenities

o Transportation costs

· Investment Licensing essentials

o Legal and administrative framework of foreign direct investment

o What to watch out for and what to expect during investment licensing

· Setting up Representative Office and branch office

· Acquiring business in Vietnam

o Legal and financial due diligence

o Typical challenges and what to watch out for

o Post-acquisition “blues” – how to resolve / restructure business

o Valuation of business

3. Corporate Management

· Legal aspects of Management and Control

o Corporate governance

o Legal representative and general director

o Corporate seal and authorizations

o Chief accountant

· Joint venture with Vietnamese partners

o Expectations and aspirations

o Cultural aspects and business practices

o Case study

· Accounting and Taxation

o Introduction to the accounting tax system in Vietnam

o Tax invoice system and Vietnamese Accounting Standards

o Tax exemptions and incentives

o Profit repatriation and taxation

o Withholding tax

o VAT on importation and distribution

o Taxation of personal income / salary

o M&A

4. Managing in Vietnam

· Historical and cultural influences on the role of managers

· Understanding Vietnamese culture

o Vietnamese cultural dimensions

o Racial and social diversity

o Major celebration and festivals

o Customs and tradition (what to expect for staff weddings, funerals, birthdays)

o Taboos and sensitive issues

· Family, work and society – relationship and group dynamics

· Management and working style

o The approach to time and priorities

o Decision making styles, conformity and team work

o Communication styles and approaches - face and harmony

· Business practices, accountability and ethics

o Employment and entrepreneurial spirit

o Dealing with suppliers

o Interaction with customers

5. Living in Vietnam

· Hassle-free relocation to Vietnam - what one needs to know

· Work permit and residence visa

· Housing, education for children, getting around transportation and other matters

· Entertainment and recreational activities

Joy and hassles of living in Vietnam


Who Should Attend

· CEO and Directors

· Directors, general managers and senior management team members overseeing Vietnamese operations

· Managers relocating to Vietnam

· CFO, finance director and legal counsel

· Expatriate staff team and foreigners who need a good understanding of doing business and working with Vietnamese business partners, employees, customers and suppliers


Training Method

Interactive sessions

Real life case studies

Simulation of work place and business environment

Lectures and discussions



Two days


Speaker / Consultant

Lim Chor Ghee


General Director / CEO – Tricor Vietnam Co., Ltd

Senior Advisor – Vietvalues Consulting Group

Based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam since 2007, Chor Ghee has successfully developed Vietvalues Audit & Consulting Group ( - an advisory, accounting and tax practice with 200 staff that has supported many foreign companies in entering Vietnam through M&A and new investment licensing application, as well as providing taxation and business advisory support for multinational clients.

In June 2014, the foreign clients consulting division of Vietvalues Consulting merged with Tricor Vietnam Co., Ltd, a joint venture company recently established between Tricor Global ( and certain partners of Vietvalues Group. Tricor Global, a member of The Bank of East Asia Group, is a global provider of integrated Business, Corporate and Investor Services.

Prior to venturing into Vietnam, Chor Ghee was the vice president (legal & corporate affairs) for Star Cruises Limited, a multinational company listed in Hong Kong with annual turnover of USD1.5bn in 2002. In that capacity, he managed legal, taxation, insurance and corporate affairs for the group’s business operations in more than 15 countries. He started his career with international accounting firms Coopers & Lybrand and Price Waterhouse (now PricewaterhouseCoopers).

Professionally Chor Ghee is a professional member of CPA Australia, Malaysian Institute of Accountants and Chartered Institute of Taxation (Malaysia) and is an associate member of National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (USA). He holds several academic qualifications from distinguished universities - Master of Business Administration (Distinction) degree from Heriot Watt University (UK), Master of International Studies (in Political Economy and International Relations) degree from the University of Sydney, Postgraduate Certificate in Electronic Business from the University of Southern Queensland, and Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Melbourne. He was a doctorate candidate with the University of South Australia until 2008 and was awarded the Master of Advanced Business Practices degree after completing several stages of the doctoral research program.

Chor Ghee is an Adjunct Professor with Management & Science University (MSU) Malaysia, and a visiting MBA lecturer in accounting and finance with the University of Economics HCMC and Centre Franco-Vietnamien de formation à la Gestion (CFVG). He also speaks regularly in more than 8 countries for professional accountancy bodies and conference organizers.