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Business and Market Overview on Vietnam

Almost all of the Vietnamese population reside in the rural areas nevertheless the proportion of the urban population is 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 3.5 million) accompanied by Nai, Haiphong and Dac Lac.


Household income in Ho Chi Minh City is almost 3 times the country's average - town is the reason for nearly half of all the motorbikes in Vietnam. Around 20% of people live below 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 your community and thus government puts great emphasis on its modernisation. Digital exchanges now associated with Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City and main lines have risen even though the usage of mobile telephones is growing. The nation's road system stretches through the northern to southern tip of Vietnam. Southern and northern Vietnam are with two air terminals and a couple main sea ports serving international shipping.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE. Vietnam's major trading partners include the US, Japan, China, Australia, Germany, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and South Korea. 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 Using TECHNOLOGY. There was nearly 10.1 million telephones placed in Vietnam and nearly 5.0 million mobile phone subscribers in 2004. The government is putting considerable efforts to modernise and improve the country's telecommunication system however lags compared to Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. Computer penetration is low; estimates differ from 2% to 4% of people in 2004 and an estimated 5.8 million online users. The penetration of television is just 20% and concentrated to homes in the cities. Similarly, setting up refrigerators is targeted inside the cities where 60% in the homes have refrigerators.

RETAIL MARKET. Retail sales in Vietnam grew by 8%-12% annually from 2000 to 2004 because of increasing disposable income due to the country's strong economic growth. Vietnamese consumers spend two-thirds with their income on retail purchases amounting to US$16.3 billion in 2004. Traditional wet markets and also the "mom and pop" shops dominate the retail industry making up 95% in the total retail trade. A number of these stores measure no more than five square metres (54 feet square). Modern retail establishments are restricted but gradually emerging in the nation and generally locally owned businesses concentrated in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

FOOD CULTURE. Rice and noodles will 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 therefore are saltier. The Vietnamese often dip their foods with chilli, garlic or fish sauce to add flavour. In france they colonialists introduced European style bread and bakeries to the Vietnamese food culture. Western style fastfood service establishments start to emerge plus the traditional snack bars, cake shops and mobile food carts.
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