Business and Market Summary on Vietnam

Most of the Vietnamese population are now living in the rural areas nevertheless the proportion with the urban inhabitants are gradually increasing from 19.7% in 1990 to 26.0% in 2004. Vietnam's largest city is Ho Chi Minh City (population 5.0 million) and Hanoi (population of three.5 million) followed by Nai, Haiphong and Dac Lac.


Household income in Ho Chi Minh City is nearly 3 times the nation's average - town makes up about up to 50 % of all of the motorbikes in Vietnam. Nearly 20% of the population live under the poverty level and mainly from rural households. 10%-15% from the households are middle to high-income households while 65%-70% are lower-income households.

INFRASTRUCTURE. Vietnam's telecommunication systems lag behind many neighbouring countries in the area and for that reason government puts great focus on its modernisation. Digital exchanges now attached to Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City and main lines have increased even though the using mobile telephones continues to grow. The nation's road system stretches in the northern to southern tip of Vietnam. Northern and southern Vietnam are using two international airports and 2 main sea ports serving international shipping.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE. Vietnam's major trading partners would be the US, Japan, China, Australia, Germany, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Columbia. Major exports include oil, seafood, rice, coffee, cashew nuts, rubber, tea, garments and shoes. Major imports include machineries and equipments, petroleum products, fertilisers, steel products, cotton, grains, cement and motorcycles.

CONSUMER USAGE OF TECHNOLOGY. There were nearly 10.One million telephones installed in Vietnam and nearly 5.0 million cell phone subscribers in 2004. The us government is putting considerable efforts to modernise and help the country's telecommunication system but still lags compared to Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. Computer penetration is low; estimates consist of 2% to 4% of people in 2004 as well as an estimated 5.8 million web users. The penetration of television is merely 20% and concentrated to homes within the cities and towns. Similarly, installation of refrigerators is targeted in the cities where 60% with the homes have refrigerators.

RETAIL MARKET. Retail sales in Vietnam grew by 8%-12% annually from 2000 to 2004 because of increasing disposable income as a result of country's strong economic growth. Vietnamese consumers spend two-thirds of their income on retail purchases amounting to US$16.3 billion in 2004. Traditional wet markets and the "mom and pop" shops dominate the retail industry making up 95% from the total retail trade. Many of these retail shops measure only five square metres (54 square feet). Modern retail establishments are limited but gradually emerging in the united states and often locally owned businesses concentrated in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

FOOD CULTURE. Rice and noodles would be the staple food in the Vietnamese but taste preference differs by region. Foods in central Vietnam are spicier while foods in northern and southern Vietnam are less spicy and tend to be saltier. The Vietnamese often dip their foods with chilli, garlic or fish sauce to incorporate flavour. In france they colonialists introduced European style bread and bakeries into the Vietnamese food culture. Western style junk food service establishments are beginning to emerge plus the traditional snack bars, cake shops and mobile food carts.
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