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Vietnam, the new China?

7 / 5 / 2022

(Alan at V-Trust HCMC Office, Landmark 81 can be seen outside the window)

V-Trust reported rapid growth in Vietnam during the first five months of 2022. The 15.6% rise in imports & exports this year indicates factory output throughout the country is returning to pre-pandemic levels.  For those of you interested in learning about the fastest-growing economy in Southeast Asia, this blog will provide you with updates regarding business and life in Vietnam.

My name is Alan Heery, I’m from the US and I’m currently working at V-Trust Inspection Service in Vietnam. I was relocated to Ho Chi Minh City after working in China for over five years. While living in China, I heard a lot about Vietnam.  Some said it was ‘China’s China’ or ‘the new China’.  Others said it was like China 20 years ago or they said cities like Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and Hanoi would be like how second-tier cities in China are today.  While some of these comparisons can be useful for getting a general idea of a country, nothing beats going there yourself. 

Flying into HCMC, the first thing you can see is Landmark 81, which until just recently, had been the tallest building in Southeast Asia.  Towering above the other skyscrapers, this giant serves both as a symbol of modernity, and a reference point for new people to the city who are easily lost. Crossing the road in HCMC would probably be considered an extreme sport in most countries, but eventually, you must learn because everyone is in a hurry and has somewhere to go and no time to stop.  The work week is six days and seven for many as this county tries to bounce back to its pre-pandemic growth rate of over seven percent.

While five-star hotels, luxury brand stores, and chain restaurants scatter the city, making it easy for tourists and wealthy ex-pats to feel at home, the factories are not much different from the streets; busy and crowded.
In one factory I visited, the upstairs floor was filled with about 100 middle-aged women in rows spaced about two meters apart hard at work on sewing machines knitting and stuffing the stuffed animals I had just inspected. 
At another, both men and women sat around tables quietly and efficiently assembling and packaging glass products.  Management in all the factories I’ve been to has been kind and welcoming and from the easily distracted employees, it’s obvious Westerners don’t often step foot in these factories.  The overall cleanliness has exceeded my expectations, and everything seems to be organized.  Everyone is hard at work and the finished products are neatly packed and stacked. From the labels, I can see that many of the customers are from the US, China, and Europe which makes me believe the analogies I heard in China probably have some truth to them.
Vietnam’s political stability and economic growth give its citizens good reason to be optimistic about the future.  As with other growing economies, while the risk of getting ripped off and or losing money is certainly present, the opportunity to tap into the low-cost and skilled labor market of Vietnam makes this country a good option for those looking for a supplier. 

If you’re in need of any support in supplier evaluation or quality control services in Vietnam or other Asian countries, please feel free to contact us at vietnam@v-trust.com. We are always more than willing to answer questions, share insights or provide contacts to help you achieve your goals in Asia.


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5 Practical Tips on How to Source Furniture from Vietnam

A SWOT Analysis of Wood Furniture in Vietnam

Vietnamese New Year and Chinese New Year: difference and similarities

Industry Geography of Vietnamese  - developing supplier network

V-Trust team
Alan Heery
- Account Manager​
- B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering at West Virginia University​
- 3-year experience in the QC industry​
- Fluent in English and Chinese

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