Vietnam’s development over the past 30 years has been remarkable. Economic and political reforms under Đổi Mới, launched in 1986, have spurred rapid economic growth, transforming what was then one of the world’s poorest nations into a lower middle-income country. Between 2002 and 2018, GDP per capita increased by 2.7 times, reaching over US$2,700 in 2019, and more than 45 million people were lifted out of poverty. Poverty rates declined sharply from over 70 percent to below 6 percent (US$3.2/day PPP). The vast majority of Vietnam’s remaining poor – 86 percent – are ethnic minorities.
In 2019, Vietnam’s economy continued to show fundamental strength and resilience, supported by robust domestic demand and export-oriented manufacturing. Real GDP grew by an estimated 7 percent in 2019, similarly to 2018, one of the fastest growth rates in the region.
Given its deep integration with the global economy, the Vietnamese economy has been hit hard by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but has shown remarkable resilience. The initial health impact of the outbreak had not been as severe in Vietnam as in other countries due to proactive measures at the national and subnational levels. The macro-economic and fiscal framework remains resilient with an estimated GDP growth rate of 1.8 percent in the first half of 2020, projected to reach 2.8 percent for the year. Vietnam is one of the few countries in the world not to expect a recession, though its growth rate for this year is far less than the typical 6-7 percent pre-crisis projections. However, the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is hard to predict given the uncertainty surrounding its magnitude and duration. Public financing requirements will increase as the result of lower revenue and higher spending due to the stimulus package launched to mitigate the negative effect of the pandemics on households and businesses.
Thanks to its strong fundamentals, and assuming the relative control of the COVID-19 pandemic both in Vietnam and the world, the Vietnamese economy should rebound in 2021. COVID-19 has also shown the necessity for stronger reforms to help the economy recover in the medium term, such as improving business environment, promoting the digital economy, and enhancing public investment effectiveness and efficiency, which are some of the key agendas for Vietnam to consider stronger and faster reform actions.
In June 2020, Vietnam’s National Assembly has also passed the amended Law on Investment and Law on Enterprises, both of which will take effect on January 1, 2021.
The amended Laws simplifies the business registration process, redefines state-owned enterprise (SOE), and excludes household business from the scope of the current law.
The amended Law on Investment provides updates on conditional business lines, investment incentives, support mechanisms while removing administrative approval for certain types of investment projects.
Vietnam has a beautiful long seacoast of 3,444 km, which is an ideal condition for development of maritime industry, trade and tourism in particular and for its emergence as a shipping center for and the world in general.
Vietnam has witnessed an ever-growing increase in its performance for developments. Below are some key highlights to help you visualize the Vietnam business environment in recent years:
In recent years, Vietnam business trends are highly focusing on the private sector, together with the open business environment to attract foreign investors into the Vietnamese market. The country has also affirmed its position as a strong base for IT and manufacturing sectors thanks to its competitive and reasonable labor costs.
To speed up the country’s integration into the global economy, Vietnam has been actively entering into a range of free trade agreements, both collective and bilateral agreements. Currently, Vietnam has built diplomatic relations with nearly 190 worldwide countries and signed around 15 FTAs with key trade partners.
Vietnam’s joining in various free trade agreements has created strong motivations for foreign investors from developed countries to put their first step into Vietnamese markets.
Before joining to WTO Vietnam had demonstrated continued efforts in achieving high GDP growth, liberalizing its market and transforming its regulatory environment. Vietnam officially became the member of ASEAN and joining the ASEAN Free Trade Area AFTA and officially became the WTO's 150th member of WTO on 11 January 2007.
Vietnam has made major steps forward in its commitments to regional and international economic integration. Following the introduction of Doi Moi Vietnam signed an economic and trade cooperation agreement with the EU in 1995, joined ASEAN in 1995, adhered to CEPT/AFTA in 1996 and became an APEC member in 1998.The Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) with the United States was signed in 2000, which resulted in a dramatic increase in the trade volume between the two countries. Vietnam became the 150th member of the World Trade Organization on January 11, 2007 and the country has official joined the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with other 11 members on 8 March 2018, which is an unprecedented multilateral free trade & investment agreement that aims to further liberalize the economics of the Asia-Pacific region.
Vietnam's commitments in the WTO increase market access for exports of goods and services of WTO's members and establish greater transparency in regulatory trade practices as well as a more level playing field between Vietnamese and foreign companies. Vietnam undertook commitments on goods (tariffs, quotas and ceilings on agricultural subsidies) and services (provisions of access to foreign service providers and related conditions), and to implement agreements on intellectual property (TRIPS), investment measures (TRIMS), customs valuation, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, import licensing provisions, anti-dumping and countervailing measures, and rules of origin.At present, Viet Nam has established diplomatic relations with 172 countries and signed 55 bilateral investment agreements and 58 double taxation agreements with countries and territories. It has economic and trading relations with about 165 countries and territories. Vietnam holds membership in 63 international organizations and over 650 non-governmental organizations.
The policy of “multi-lateralization and diversification” in international relations has helped Vietnam to integrate more deeply into the global and regional economies and increase trade and investment ties with nations all over the world. More importantly, Vietnam has improved its enable business friendly environment over time.
In a region of the world where some countries remain vulnerable to political and economic instability, Vietnam has benefited from its stable government and social structure, making it an ideal place for capital investment. After 40 years of peace and development, Vietnam has become one of the reliable investment destinations for many countries due to its political stability and consistency. One of the most important factors for FDI enterprises to choose to invest in Vietnam is security.
Vietnam is a one-party state run by the collective leadership of the Communist Party Secretary-General, the Prime Minister (PM) and the President. Policy is set every five years by the Party congress and adjusted twice a year by plenary meetings of the Central Committee. The Government and other state organs are responsible for implementing policy. The National Assembly has the power to approve and revise the Constitution and Laws, make important decisions on national matters (policies on internal and foreign affairs, socio-economic factors, political factors, security factors, operations of state bodies), and supervise all operations of state bodies.
The President, as Head of State, represents The Socialist Republic of Vietnam on internal and foreign affairs. The Government is the highest administrative state body of The Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and responsible for executing and managing political, economic, cultural, social, national defense, security and foreign affairs of the state bodies. Ministries are responsible for the execution of state power in the certain industry or sector. People’s Committee (province, district, and commune) governs management affairs within its administrative location, manages, directs, operates daily activities of local state bodies and executes policies of the relevant People’s Council and higher state bodies.
Recently, Vietnam has been considered a bright spot in ASEAN by investors thanks to its political stability, sustainable economic growth, abundant workforce, large market, increasing per capita income, intensive international integration, competitive incentives, plus its geographical location in the center of Southeast Asia.
Vietnam is home to over 32,000 projects worth USD378 billion from 136 countries and territories. While countries in the world are still fighting against Covid-19, Vietnam has already resumed business activities normally and become one of the first nations to diversify the supply chains. Foreign investors therefore are considering Vietnam a potential investment destination in the post-Covid-19 period.
A survey from the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in February 2020 showed that over 63% of Japanese businesses in Vietnam plan to raise investment, the highest rate in ASEAN.
1. Unilever Vietnam has built up a sterling reputation in Vietnam for its quality consumer goods, the high number of jobs it creates here, and by making a considerable contribution towards the country’s economic growth over the past two decades.
Unilever Vietnam takes great pride in the close and mutually beneficial relationship. It has established commercial relationship with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) over the past few years. Almost 2,000 local SMEs have been working with the company in its supply chain, from raw material suppliers to packaging material producers, to service providers. This expansive supply chain has culminated in over 15,000 jobs throughout the country.
Unilever Vietnam Chairman cheerfully dubbed Unilever Vietnam as “Vinalever”, noting that it was the name he most desired, as it expressed the strong beliefs and warm sentiments that the company had accumulated over the course of more than 20 years operating in Vietnam.
2. Hanel Vietnam is operating in various fields, including electronics, information technology, telecommunications, real estate, logistics, financial investment, labor export...
Daewoo Hanoi opened in 1996 and is one of the famous 5-star hotels in Hanoi, Vietnam. The owner of this hotel is Daewoo E&C Korea Co., Ltd. and Hanel Vietnam. In particular, the Korean group holds 70 percent of capital. In 2012, Hanel Vietnam bought Daewoo Hanoi with the investment of USD100 Million.
3. Lotte Hotel and Resort with the opening of Lotte Hanoi Hotel in 2014, the group aims to become a leading Asian hotel owner.
The USD92 million Lotte Hanoi Hotel is located at the Lotte Centre Hanoi, right next to the Korean-before owned Daewoo hotel or Hanel Daewoo Hotel now.
Lee Jung Youl, general director of Lotte Hotels & Resorts Vietnam cum deputy chairman of Lotte Group said “I believe that it is high time for high-end hotel development in Vietnam, especially the five-star hotel segment, since Hanoi and Vietnam are integrated into the global market and are also attracting a strong flow of FDI, foreign tourists and businessmen, while Vietnam lacks high-end hotels.
Lotte Group expects to see profits from the Hanoi Lotte Hotel within three years of operation.
Lotte is also keeping its eyes open for potential buy-outs in Vietnam. The group paid USD62.5 million to acquire the five-star Legend Hotel Saigon from fund management company VinaCapital.