A different perspective on Vietnam’s economy and doing business in Vietnam. Make sure to  subscribe.

how to guides

cheat sheets

snapshots

Manufacturing in Vietnam 2024: Ultimate Guide

Vietnam’s manufacturing sector is in the middle of a boom period. In just over two decades the country has gone from a relatively poor backwater to a thriving hub of activity on the back of a manufacturing sector that has brought millions of jobs to the country.

In fact, 86 percent of Vietnam’s export merchandise came from the manufacturing sector in 2022, compared to just 49 percent in 2002. These exports have increased in value too.

In 2002, Vietnam exports of goods and services to the tune of US$19.19. In 2022, that number had climbed to US$384.22 billion.

Indeed, the country and the sector have come a long way, but there is much more room to expand. In this article, we provide a broad overview of manufacturing in Vietnam including human resources, real estate costs, and tax and tax incentives.

Manufacturing in Vietnam

Foreign firms looking to manufacture goods in Vietnam generally either outsource their production utilising contract manufacturers or they fully invest in their own facilities. Most of the bigger brands tend to use a combination of the two.

Outsourcing

Companies looking to outsource have a number of options in Vietnam allowing for varying degrees of control over their product. Most big apparel brands like Nike and Adidas use contract manufacturers whereby almost everything is taken care of by the Vietnam-based factory. Note, however, that given the size of these big brands and their buying power gives them a lot of control over their contract manufacturers which exercise to ensure quality. Smaller outfits might, however, find that they have a lot less control using contract manufacturers than they would building their own operation.

Do-it-yourself

Whereas apparel brands tend to prefer contract manufacturing arrangements, a lot of big electronics brands–think LG or Samsung–run their own factories in Vietnam. Samsung, for example, has a factory in Vietnam’s Thai Nguyen, reportedly the biggest in its supply chain. 

Building a factory from scratch can be challenging with multiple moving parts and approvals, however, there are many firms experienced in finding and acquiring land, building factories, and fitting out said factories for use. There are also ready-to-go industrial parks scattered around the country that basically offer a plug-and-play option–there may be less control, but costs can be lower, and risks more so.

Human resources

Wages in Vietnam are very-low compared to wages in the developed world. For context, the GDP per capita in Vietnam was around US$3,756 in 2021 whereas in the USA it was over US$70,000–the potential cost savings are clear. However, the human resources landscape can be vastly different in Vietnam to more developed economies. With this in mind, this section addresses wages, entitlements, and labour unions.

Minimum wage in Vietnam

Vietnam’s minimum wage is set by the National Wage Council which consists of a number of peak industry bodies and worker advocates. They meet every year or so and determine if a minimum wage rise is necessary, and if so, how much it should be and from when it should be implemented. The most recent wage rise was in June of 2022.

Vietnam minimum wage, current as of June 2022

MonthlyHourly
RegionVNDUSDVNDUSD
14,680,000$19522,500$0.94
24,160,000$17320,000$0.83
33,640,000$15117,500$0.73
43,250,000$13515,600$0.65

Minimum wage in Southeast Asia

For context, Vietnam’s minimum wage is at the lower end among its Southeast Asian peers.

Monthly minimum wage, Southeast Asia, 2023

CountryRegionLocal CurrencyUS$
IndonesiaJakartaIDR4,901,798316.92
MalaysiaNationalMYR1,500322.20
Philippines*NationalPHP13,420242.52
Thailand*BangkokTHB7,788225.05
VietnamHanoi/HCMCVND4,680,000192.99

*Calculated using daily rate times 22.

Manufacturing wages in Vietnam

Whereas Vietnam’s minimum wage is low, in the manufacturing sector wages are generally much higher. Vietnam’s General Statistics Office tracks wages and usually reports changes quarterly.

Industrial and construction sector wages, 2023

Monthly WageChange
VNDUS$VNDUS$
Q4 20227,700,000317.53
Q1 20237,900,000325.77200,0008.25
Q2 20237,800,000321.65-100,000-4.12
Q3 20237,900,000325.77100,0004.12

Source: General Office of Statistics

Entitlements

Leave entitlements for Vietnamese workers are outlined in the Labour Code 2019.

Overtime

Businesses that employ workers in excess of their contract hours are required to pay overtime. Overtime rates are calculated as follows:

  • Time and a half on regular working days,
  • Double time on weekends, and
  • Triple time on public holidays.

Note that many workers rely on overtime to supplement their income and the availability of overtime can be a major draw card in the hiring process.

Public Holidays

Vietnam has 11 public holidays each year. The longest of these is for the lunar new year, known locally as Tet, which runs for five days. Note that the actual dates of several public holidays vary from year to year. These are usually announced by the government in December of the year before.

Leave

There are a number of leave allowances codified in the labour code. The majority of workers are entitled to 12 days of annual leave, although there are some situations, usually working with dangerous goods, that mandate an additional day or two. In addition, factory workers in Vietnam are entitled to:

  • 3 days of leave to get married and for the death of an immediate family member.
  • 1 day off to attend the wedding of a child; the death of a grandparent or biological sibling, and the wedding of a parent or biological sibling.

Note that in Vietnam, it is not common to distinguish between blood relatives and in-laws, hence, the ‘biological’ distinction.

Bonuses

Bonuses are not enshrined in law and are at the discretion of the employer. That said, a 13 month salary at the end of the year is generally expected and usually included in most labour contracts. 

Industrial relations

Workers in Vietnam are represented by the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL). This is an extension of the Government of Vietnam and is the only trade union in the country. The VGLC is involved in key negotiations between workers and their employers including wages and working conditions.

Industrial action in Vietnam is not uncommon. Reporting on industrial action in the mainstream media, however, is often limited if it happens at all. This can be because the authorities make overtures to media organisations to block reporting on these incidents or targets of said industrial action can pay the local media to stay quiet.

That said, the VGLC recorded a total of 157 incidents of workers taking strike action in 2022 with a number of these strikes involving foreign invested firms–in October of 2023, 5,000 workers of Taiwanese footwear maker Viet Glory in central Vietnam went on strike in search of a pay rise. This was successful with workers returning to work six days later for a bigger paycheck. Of note, workers at the factory were already on a wage about 13 percent higher than the regional minimum.

Key manufactured goods

The two biggest sectors of Vietnam’s manufacturing industry are electronics, and garments and textiles (including footwear), accounting for around US$165 billion US$64.6 billion, respectively. That’s out of total exports of about US$371.3 billion. Of note, however, is that the manufacture of these two groups of goods is centred in different parts of the country.

Electronics

Electronics manufacturing in Vietnam is mostly concentrated in the north. Samsung, for example, has its biggest factory in Thai Nguyen a few clicks north of Hanoi with complimentary operations in neighbouring Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, and Vinh Phuc.

Samsung has invested billions in its northern Vietnam operations and its enormous size has seen a whole electronics eco-system spring up around it–northern Vietnam is well positioned geographically to seamlessly integrate into supply chains from both China and Korea. It’s also relatively easy to get manufactured goods to the coast and subsequently shipped to the rest of the world.

Garments and Textiles

Vietnam’s garment manufacturers are mostly made in and around Ho Chi Minh City.

Southern Vietnam is generally considered somewhat more progressive and forward thinking than the north and as a result, when the economy began to open up, firms dealing in low-cost manufactured goods–clothing and apparel–set up in the better prepared south.

Furthermore, Ho Chi Minh City is also well positioned to take deliveries of cotton from key producers in Australia and the US and then to turn those imports into clothing and apparel and send it back.

See also: Vietnam Garment Manufacturing 2024: Quick Guide

Footwear

Vietnam’s footwear manufacturing industry is among the biggest in the world. In fact, it generally comes in third place behind India and China which is a mean feat for a country with a population of just 100 million, a fraction of the billion-plus populations of the two industry leaders. 

In 2023, Vietnam exported US$19.94 billion worth of footwear for brands like Nike, Adidas, Crocs, Vans, and Timberland among a range others.

See also: Vietnam Footwear Manufacturers: Quick Guide 2024

Rent

Industrial real estate prices

Industrial real estate prices in Vietnam vary depending on the region. Typically in and around Ho Chi Minh City is the most expensive and then in and around Hanoi. These two cities have substantially more manufacturing infrastructure than other parts of the country and are large population centres filled with relatively young populations well suited to manufacturing work.

Industrial land rents Vietnam

Q1 2023Q2 2023Q3 2023
Southern Industrial MarketUS$172.8US$187US$189
Northern Industrial MarketUS$122.9US$127US$131

Source: CBRE Insights and Research

Taxes

New businesses will need to register with the General Department of Taxation in order to pay their taxes and ensure they are tax-compliant. There are also a number of recurring fees and taxes that proprietors of manufacturing businesses in Vietnam should be aware of.

Business licence fees

Limited liability companies in Vietnam are required to pay a business licence fee annually. This must be paid by January 30. These fees depend on the registered capital of the firm.

Business licence fees, 2023

Registered CapitalFee (VND)
Less than 10 billion VND (US$415,671)2,000,000 (US$83)
Greater than 10 billion VND (US$415,671)3,000,000 (US$124)

Source: Decree No. 20/VBHN-BTC

Value-Added tax (VAT)

The specifics of the VAT are outlined in Law No. 13/2008/QH12. Broadly, this is a consumption-based tax on goods and services in Vietnam. It is generally charged at the point of sale for retail businesses. There are some exceptional circumstances in which VAT declarations and payments can be made quarterly, however, payments are usually made to the General Department of Taxation each month. VAT is generally charged at 10 percent of the sale price, though for select specialty items, it is only 5 percent, and some items are also exempt.

VAT refunds

Note that manufacturing firms producing goods for export can usually claim back VAT taxes they pay on their input materials used to create said goods. This is capped at 10 percent of the total value of the firm’s exports.

Personal Income Tax (PIT)

PIT is levied on a worker’s wages in Vietnam. The amount to be collected is on a sliding scale, the more a worker earns the more PIT they pay. Employers are required to collect PIT on an employee’s wages and pay said tax to the General Department of Taxation each month. If approved by the authorities an enterprise may be able to make tax payments quarterly instead. The PIT is governed by Law No. 04/2007/QH12.

Corporate Income Tax (CIT)

CIT is the tax a company pays. The standard CIT payment is 20 percent of assessable income, however, on large investments foreign firms have been known to receive tax breaks. This tax is paid yearly though firms can make payments quarterly. The CIT is governed by Law 14/VBHN-VPQH

Tax incentives

Foreign invested manufacturing enterprises in Vietnam have historically been able to receive a number of corporate income tax incentives. The extent of these incentives largely varies depending on a number of criteria, however, most manufacturing firms generally qualify for a 10 percent CIT rate for the first 15 years. 

That said, many foreign firms also often qualify for a 50 percent CIT reduction for the first four years which can be extended up to 9 years in some circumstances.

Furthermore, it is not unusual for individual provinces to provide their own tax incentives as well and the national government often affords foreign firms additional tax discounts on an ad-hoc basis.

Top-up Tax

All of that said, in 2023, a top-up tax was approved by Vietnam’s National Assembly in response to the OECD’s Global Minimum Tax initiative. This will see multinationals paying less than 15 percent tax, required to make up the difference in Vietnam. This is only a relatively new development and will likely have a substantial impact on the tax incentives outlined below. That said, the government has said that it intends to use the additional tax revenue to provide foreign firms with other benefits. As of December 2023, it was unclear what those alternative benefits might be.

What’s next?

Manufacturing in Vietnam can be very cost effective, particularly when compared to manufacturing sectors in developed economies. Not only are labour prices and rent cheap, but there are also a number of tax incentives foreign manufacturing can access in order to reduce costs even further.

Key decision makers looking for support opening a factory in Vietnam can contact any number of market entry consultants. Keeping up with ongoing developments in Vietnam’s manufacturing sector, however, is best achieved by subscribing to the-shiv.

🡇 Get manufacturing updates sent straight to your inbox 🡇

share

get connected with an expert
contribute a guest post
send a letter to the editor
submit a press release

latest news

Hanoi university signs agreement with Australian mining firms

With reserves estimated to be the second biggest in the world after China, and rare earth minerals becoming increasingly necessary in a slew of electronics, miners from all over have been actively courting partnerships with Vietnamese mining firms. Needless to say, partnerships with local universities is one way for these firms to open doors…

Read More »

State Bank of Vietnam denies change of exchange rate policy

With Forex reserves being spent hand over fist trying to keep the dong from devaluing, there has been speculation that greater intervention may be needed, specifically an interest rate hike. On Thursday Bloomberg reported that Malayan Banking Berhad was expecting an interest rate hike possibly as early as this week…

Read More »

Korean credit card firms struggle to crack Vietnam market

Indeed, demand for credit has plummeted over the last year or two as thrifty Vietnamese have tightened their belts. By the end of March credit growth was at just 1.34 percent. That said, credit cards have not proven to be very popular in Vietnam in general, with consumers tending to spend only…

Read More »

UK Pork approved for export to Vietnam

Of note, back in March it was reported that the a submission had been made by Vietnamese meat producers to the Government of Vietnam requesting additional technical barriers on imported meats. This was necessary, they argued, to level the playing field with other meat producing countries.

Read More »

Vietnam News Roundup: May 17 to May 23

This week’s Vietnam news roundup covers the latest news on Vietnam’s foreign reserves, updates on VinFast’s mounting troubles in the US, conflicting claims over electricity conservation, the USDA trade mission to Vientam, bad debts, open market operations, and more.

Read More »

Unpaid taxes blamed on late payment from Electricity Vietnam

EVN was selling electricity at a loss for most of last year and 2022 and the start of this year too. This saw the state-owned enterprise accumulate losses of over US$1.5 billion. It has never been made clear how these losses have been covered but, in light of these claims, it could very well be that power producers may be footing the bill.

Read More »
Contents

subscribe to keep reading

It’s free!

advertising enquiry

submit a press release

Note that it will be marked as a press release/sponsored post.

guest post

We publish guest posts of 800 to 1000 words from experts who have something unique to say on topics relevant to our audience. 

get connected with an expert

letters to the editor

We review letters for quality and authority and generally only publish views that add to the discussion from experts in their field.