Business setup

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Many expats in Vietnam recognize this growing market as an excellent opportunity to start a business. We normally recommend one of these four types of companies:

Wholly Vietnamese-owned company
A limited liability company (LLC) where the owners are Vietnamese individuals or companies. Because of the easier setup and that some industries are restricted for foreign owners in Vietnam, a common practice for setting up a business in Vietnam is that a foreign owner can cooperate with a Vietnamese partner to set up a 100% Vietnamese-owned company, yet still protect their ownership and benefits. This type of company is very common for foreign restaurants and import/export companies.

Wholly foreign-owned company
A limited liability company (LLC) where the owners are foreign individuals or companies. This type of company is a common choice for foreign business consultants and software companies.

Joint venture company
A limited liability company (LLC) with at least two owners, individuals or companies, of which one is Vietnamese and one is foreign.  This type of company is common for advertising agencies and factories.

Representative office
A company which can not earn revenue in Vietnam, but works as a local representative in Vietnam for a foreign company. This type of company is common for any foreign business which needs a local point of contact for their business.

Step by step guide to setting up a business in Vietnam

There are a number of important steps that must be taken in order to ensure proper compliance with the country’s laws.

Step 1: Get legal advice

Meet with a local lawyer to get legal advice on which kind of business type is the most suitable for your situation.

Step 2: Find office space and a legal representative of your business

Find office space then for your business not only to have a place to work, but also as a specific office address is required by the government for the business license application. If you are not the legal representative of your business, you need to find a reliable partner.

Step 3: Apply for a business license

Prepare all necessary paperwork and make sure that you fulfill all necessary requirements prior to applying for the business license. Expect a 15 day waiting period for a Vietnamese-owned company, and 60 day waiting period for a foreign-owned company.

Step 4: Run your business

Run your Vietnamese business which is now capable of hiring employees and committing to business contracts. There are some things you need to do such as getting a company stamp, registering for a tax code, setting up a company bank account and publicly announcing the establishment of your company. Recurring tasks include tax reports, accounting and paying the employees’ insurance.

Frequently asked questions

What is the salary range in Vietnam?
It depends on the location, candidate and industry. Ho Chi Minh City has the highest salary levels in Vietnam. If the candidate speaks English fluently the salary is normally higher.  The gross salary of manual labor workers is around $200 per month, for junior office administrative employees around $200, for junior developers or designers around $300-500 and middle managers or team leaders often earn $500-700.  

How much is office rent in Vietnam’s major cities?
Of course it depends on the location, but in general, you could say that in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City it ranges between $7-15 per square meter for a normal office building and good location. For a high standard office building in a prime location it ranges between $18-30 per square meter.

What is the lowest possible company fund in Vietnam?
$10,000 for a foreign-owned company, and no specific requirement for Vietnamese-owned companies. Do note that this varies a lot based on the industry.