Starting a business in Vietnam : law and incorporation for expat

The procedures for investing or starting a business in Vietnam as a foreigner have been considerably simplified in recent years. Setting up a business in Vietnam is now quick and easy for foreign investors and entrepreneurs.

In what form should a company be set up in Vietnam?

Several choices are available to you to start your business in Vietnam. Foreign entrepreneurs can start a business in Vietnam by:

  • constituting a company with 100% foreign capital
  • constituting a joint venture
  • concluding a business cooperation contract
  • creating a representative office or a branch office

The representative office or branch office are useful dismemberments for a company abroad. However, these entities are not legal entities and cannot enter into contracts. The representative office can be a useful prerequisite for a commercial establishment. It has a link and prospecting object on the Vietnamese market.

Law about creating a foreign or local company in Vietnam

The establishment of the representative office is subject to a licence issued by the Department of Industry and Trade of its place of establishment. A representative office cannot directly carry out activities that generate a profit. A subsidiary may be established by a foreign company only in certain specific sectors including banking, insurance, securities, and some trading activities.

A foreign investor will have a greater interest in setting up a company as a 100% foreign-owned company than as a joint venture. Indeed, the company with 100% foreign capital is much freer in the pursuit of its business, as it is not controlled by the Vietnamese government (i.e. the provincial Department of Planning and Investment).

How to start a business in Vietnam as a foreigner?

All companies must be registered in the company register to benefit from a legal existence in Vietnam. Registration makes it possible to obtain a document certifying the existence of the company, called IRC for “investment registration certificate”.

Companies with foreign capital or where the majority of the capital is held by a foreigner also require an investment certificate, known as an IRC (investment registration certificate). This IRC is obtained by filing a request with the relevant ministerial departments.

Why start a business in Vietnam?

Vietnam has many advantages for foreign investment. First of all, it has a vast market of 90 million inhabitants and domestic consumption is proving to be sustained. The economy of this country is young and is constantly opening up to internationalisation, welcoming more and more foreign investors. Growth continues at a high rate. We can also see a postponement of investment from China to Vietnam. In addition, the workforce is young, dynamic and inexpensive and the cost of living is low. Find more about company registration, formin a foreign LLC or 100 % vietnamese company with this research article on

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