Business and Market Review on Vietnam

A lot of the Vietnamese population are in the rural areas but the proportion in the urban human 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 virtually 3 times the nation’s average – the town is the reason for nearly half of all the motorbikes in Vietnam. Approximately 20% of people live under the poverty level and mainly from rural households. 10%-15% in 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 so government puts great concentrate on its modernisation. Digital exchanges now associated with Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City and main lines have increased while the use of mobile telephones keeps growing. The national road system stretches from the northern to southern tip of Vietnam. Northern and southern Vietnam are using two international airports as well as 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 Mexico. 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 Use of TECHNOLOGY. There have been nearly 10.1 million telephones positioned in Vietnam and nearly 5.0 million cellphone subscribers in 2004. The federal government is putting considerable efforts to modernise and increase the country’s telecommunication system but nevertheless lags when compared with Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. Computer penetration is low; estimates vary from 2% to 4% of the population in 2004 and an estimated 5.8 million internet surfers. The penetration of television is simply 20% and concentrated to homes inside the cities. Similarly, setting up refrigerators concentrates in the cities where 60% in the homes have refrigerators.
RETAIL MARKET. Retail sales in Vietnam grew by 8%-12% annually from 2000 to 2004 caused by 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 as well as the “mom and pop” shops dominate the retail industry making up 95% of the total retail trade. A number of these retail shops measure only five square metres (54 sq ft). Modern retail establishments are restricted but gradually emerging in the united kingdom and usually locally owned businesses concentrated in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
FOOD CULTURE. Rice and noodles include the staple food of the Vietnamese but taste preference differs by region. Foods in central Vietnam are spicier while foods in southern and northern Vietnam are less spicy and tend to be saltier. The Vietnamese often dip their foods with chilli, garlic or fish sauce to incorporate flavour. French colonialists introduced European style bread and bakeries into the Vietnamese food culture. Western style fast food service establishments start to emerge plus the traditional snack bars, cake shops and mobile food carts.
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