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50 Best Small Business ideas in Vietnam

Do you want to start a business in Vietnam? If YES, here are 50 best profitable small business ideas & investment opportunities in Vietnam.

Any entrepreneur looking to do business in Vietnam should be aware of the fact that the country is at the center of many free trade deals with major countries such as the United States, Canada, the European Union as well as Russia, and will therefore be a good place to start any business that will lead to recouping one’s investments.

Why Start a Business in Vietnam?

The ease of landing visas and an increased number of flights to and out of the country have seen more positive impact on the economy of the country. The country’s manufacturing industry represents about 70 percent of its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Vietnam is regarded as either an addition or alternative to China in certain sectors due to its low value in production in terms of land, labor, free trade agreements as well as tax incentives. This has led to high valued tech operations from giants such as Samsung, Intel amongst others to increase in the country to 25 percent in 2015, up from the 5 percent that it was as at 2010.

According to projections by the World Group Bank, the signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) by Vietnam in 2016 saw the country’s economy get a 10 percent gain in GDP as well as a 30 percent increase in export value where the positive impact will last till the year 2030.

The TPP has opened up the many restrictive sectors of the economy which means that an entrepreneur whose business activities does not fall under the list can conduct his or her business without fearing hitches from regulated authorities.

Even though starting a business overseas might be seen as risky especially as you would be venturing into a territory that has different demands, tastes, cultures, preferences and so on, it is usually best to start on a small scale as going big may prove to be risky.

If you are not sure of what business to start in Vietnam, below are 50 best business opportunities that can be considered.

Best Business ideas in Vietnam

  1. Garment and Textile Items

Due to the fact that garment and textile items are amongst the top most exported goods in Vietnam, any entrepreneur looking to start this business is bound to make huge amounts of profit. You can either choose to deal in bale garments or sell garments that are readymade.

However, no matter how lucrative this business might seem, it would be best if you conduct your own due diligence regarding the business as this will enable you know what texture of garments you intend to go into and who your target market will be.

  1. Home Furniture Making and Re-modeling

There is no home that does not have at least one furniture in it and so going into furniture production is a lucrative business that you can’t go wrong in. Most Vietnamese are interested in improving their homes and the design in it and while some might do it for comfort or due to their standard of living, so this is a good business to start.

  1. Production of Detergents

The detergent powder is a Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), that has high potential market growth in Vietnam. The demand for detergent increases daily with more people getting advanced in Vietnam.

Detergent powder is used for multiple purposes and as an entrepreneur, you can start the business on any scale depending on the amount of capital you have at hand. Ensure that you conduct a thorough research and that you have a good business plan at hand.

  1. Sale of Construction and Building Components

Building and construction activities are usually signs of a growing economy and when the economy is stable or growing, several kinds of construction activities usually go on and Vietnam with its growing economy is one of the best places to start your construction and building components business.

Just ensure that you have the right amount of capital and that you have contacts with building contractors before starting the business.

  1. Agricultural Items Processing

The agriculture industry is one that many entrepreneurs like to go into because of how lucrative it is. Agricultural processing business entails processing natural farm produce and packaging it for customers to buy.

You can run your agricultural processing business on any scale that you like as long as you have farms where you can get the items you intend processing cheap so that you don’t end up producing products that will be more than what the consumers can afford.

  1. Real Estate

One rewarding business that one can go into in Vietnam is real estate where you either build properties or buy already built properties to resale.

The business is a lucrative one due to the number of expatriates as well as immigrant that are coming into Vietnam. The real estate industry huge and so you can choose any segment to start your business in as long as you have conducted due diligence especially as the real estate industry is one that requires a lot of capital.

  1. Exportation

There are a lot of items that Vietnam is known for which are regarded as staples by other countries such as rice, coffee, crude oil, rubber and so many others, that an enterprising entrepreneur can take advantage of when looking to go into exportation of items.

In order to be able to get buyers from all over the world, you might need to visit e-commerce websites that will allow you connect with individuals that are looking to buy these items.

  1. Freight Forwarding Agent

A freight forwarding agent is one that helps to organize shipments for either an individual or a company that is looking to get their goods from the manufacturing point to the final point of distribution. As an entrepreneur looking to become a freight forwarding agent in Vietnam, it is best that you have contact with multiple carriers in order to be able to move the goods of your customers.

You can decide if you want to be a local freight forwarding agent or an international one after conducting a thorough research on which would be more profitable for you or you could combine the two if you have the contacts and capital to do so.

  1. Product Sourcing Agent

A product sourcing agent is one that links sellers and customers. Due to the advancement of technology, it has now become very easy to become a product sourcing agent between the foreign buyers and local sellers especially as the buyers will need someone who can vouch for the quality of what they want to buy.

In starting your product sourcing business, ensure that you hire local Vietnamese workers who not only know the market well but who can get the products at lower rates.

  1. Production of Cosmetics

The cosmetics industry regardless of the country is regarded as a lucrative business as many operators have joined to get a share of the lucrative market. You should decide on the niche of cosmetics you want to go into after conducting a thorough market survey so that you will know who your target market is.

  1. Clothing Line

If you have always had the passion of being a fashion designer and have never found clothes that you like in your local market or area, then starting a clothing line might be the business for you.

However, before you decide to start this business, ensure that you have conducted a thorough research in order to determine your target market and the tastes and preferences or the trends swaying your target market. Even though fashion is quite crowded, you can still stand out by producing something different from what is available in the market.

  1. Property Supervisor

There are many property owners in Vietnam who are either unable to personally attend to the details of their properties or who are simply not interested to do so and so won’t mind paying a property supervisor to handle the responsibilities. You might be required to collect rent and pay necessary expenses while just sending periodic reports to the owner or you might be given certain tasks to handle.

  1. Restaurant

If you have the intention of starting a restaurant in Vietnam, then you should know that there is no minimum amount of capital that will be needed to start the business because you can choose to run your restaurant in a regular brick and mortar building or you can sell your food from a food cart.

While the demand for food is stable regardless of the country, in order to stand out from the rest, you can cook meals that are from your own country or you can add a twist to the local Vietnamese food.

  1. Bar

While this might be regarded as a risky business, there is a stable demand for places people can go to in the evening to drink and relax after a hard day’s work. The risk factor in opening a bar is due to the fact that a special form of permit is required before one can start this business and the government is very selective about who it offers this permit to.

Therefore to avoid running afoul of the country’s laws, it is best to ensure that all your documents are legitimate. You can also seek advice from those that are running the business in order to find out what challenges they are experiencing and what you should expect.

  1. Night Club

If you are one who loves to meet new people every time and yet make money, then starting a nightclub might be the next best thing for you.

However, while it might look like a business where you will have lots of fun, it is also a business that requires a lot of hard work as the amount of publicity you carry out for your night club will determine how many people are not only aware of but want to visit your night club.

  1. Haulage and Logistics

A haulage and logistics business is one where you carry items for different companies and this idea is a good one as there are lots of businesses in Vietnam that do not have their own transport or logistics facilities. The good thing about starting a haulage and logistics business is that you will not require any huge assets or investments as you can lease a delivery truck from a trucking company in order to be able to carry out your business.

  1. Used Car Dealer

Not everyone can afford to buy new cars and so there is always a market for used cars. In order to be able to start and run this business successfully, you will need to have a network of sellers and buyers; however ensure that your used cars are of a certain standard especially when it comes to safety and performance.

The used auto market is very competitive and so you will need to create effective marketing strategies that will enable you to stand out.

  1. Perfume Producer

If you have a nose for scents and a great desire to experiment with various scented oils, then you could go into the production of perfumes.

In order to stand out in the market, you should create blends that are distinctive and have trusted wholesale suppliers who can supply you the raw materials you need at all times. Reach out to beauty stores and supermarkets and engage in intense marketing activities to increase awareness for your perfumes.

  1. Motorbike Parts Retail

Even in times of economic downturn, this is one market that is not affected because most Vietnamese use motorbikes for business, transportation and pleasure and so if you are looking to go into the business of retailing the parts of motorbikes, you should expect as steady stream of customers.

Ensure that the parts you sell are of high quality as this will ensure that you retain a high number of customers while attracting new ones.

  1. Bakery

Starting a bakery in Vietnam is not only lucrative but it can see you turning your business into a huge and successful one.

There are so many products that you can bake, from sweet rolls to cakes, in order that you may attract various customers. You will need to ensure that you develop creative marketing strategies that will enable you to compete with other bakeries.

  1. Water Treatment Specialist

The economy in Vietnam is still a growing one and several people are still drinking water that hasn’t been treated because the water storage and distribution facilities are still undergoing formation. As a water treatment specialist, you get to install or supervise the operation of water purification equipment and deal with water storage activities and distribution operations.

  1. Marketing Consultant

As the country’s economy continues to improve, more foreigners are coming in and more locals are beginning to look to starting a business. Most of these entrepreneurs or corporations usually require an independent consultant to help provide marketing services for them.

For you to be a successful marketing consultant, you should have knowledge about industry trends, markets, demographic and sales results.

  1. Software Developer

The ICT industry is a sprawling one and countries no matter their level of development have thriving ICT hubs and so becoming a software developer is one business opportunity that you do not want to pass up especially as the industry in Vietnam is still a growing one.

You can start your software developing business via the complicated route of research, design and programming or the less complicated one as testing of computer software.

  1. Tourism Agency

No matter how bad the country might have had it politically, Vietnam is a tourist country as there are many places where tourists can visit and explore.

The country has ancient monuments and modern day architecture. Aside from this fact, the locals in Vietnam are very hospitable to tourists and so starting a tourist agency is a smart business idea as there is no shortage of tourists coming into the country, which means there is steady demand.

To ensure that your tourism agency is successful, ensure that you offer qualitative tourism packages that have great accommodation deals and meal plans.

  1. Livestock Farming

Agriculture in 2004 in combination with forestry accounted for nearly 22 percent of Vietnam’s GDP and for a decade, the sector grew at a rate of more than 4 percent.

Crop and livestock production have continued to complement each other in the growth of the economy, even though there have been too many disasters in this sector. You need to conduct thorough research before investing your money and time.

  1. Hair and Beauty Accessories Retail

The beauty industry is very competitive and in order to operate your store successfully, you will need to find your niche. You will also need to find reliable wholesale suppliers in order to ensure that you get a steady supply of products whenever you need them.

Having knowledge of several brands is also very important so as to be able to cater to varying customers’ preferences and tastes.

  1. Auto Rental

What you should consider when looking to start your auto rental business is what type of auto rental you intend to operate as there are two types available – daily hire (majorly individuals) and contract hire (majorly businesses).

You should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each type and then settle for the one that is likely to enable you achieve your objectives quickly. If you intend commandeering a large fleet, then you can cater to the two available markets.

  1. Importation

Even though Vietnam is a country with high export potential, there are importation businesses that can be run as well. Vietnam belongs to ASEAN and so if you are looking to import products where you won’t have to pay import duties, you can do so only from ASEAN countries. Just like export, there are several documents that you will need to have in place before you can start.

  1. General Merchandise Store

The Vietnam economy is still a growing one and as such even though the concept of the general store might be outdated in some countries, there is still a chance of starting the business in Vietnam and making it successful.

First, the area where you intend to start the business in matters as you will have a high chance of success where there are no major supermarkets to contend with. As long as your store will meet the demands of a great number of your customers, then you have a high chance to succeed.

  1. Oil and Gas Extraction

Vietnam produces crude oil and so if you have substantial capital and equipment, then you can start this business. It is important to note that exploration costs differ as you will need to undergo exploration in order to be able to search for and then extract the oil and gas you need. This is a capital intensive project and you might need several partners to start it with.

  1. Online Clothes Retail

If you are very versatile on social media and have a great sense of fashion, then it is high time you think of starting an online clothes retail business. The good thing about this  kind of business is that you do not require much capital but if you are able to advertise your business properly, you will be able to scale the business and become a success.

  1. Pet Shop and Supply

Pet care in Vietnam has been growing due to the gradual increase in the pet population, busier lifestyles and rise in the humanization of pets.

Cat and fish are the most preferred pets in Vietnam especially in the big cities, and due to health and wellness trends, more pet owners are willing to spend more on packaged pet food. Most pet owners prefer international brands to local brands and so you should take this into consideration when looking to start your pet shop business.

  1. Bicycle Rental

There are still many people in Vietnam that prefer to move around on two wheels. You can start your bicycle rental business close to large hotels or resorts where most tourists are likely to stay. Aside from renting out bicycles, you might also need to set up a storefront.

Ensure that you understand your market so as to know what kind of rentals you will be going into. In order to create more awareness for your bicycle rental business, you will need to pass out handbills and paste fliers in strategic locations.

  1. Floristry

This is the production and trade of flowers. Those in this kind of business care for, arrange, design and deliver flowers to their clients. There are a number of people who require the services of florists and so if you are able to position your business well, you are likely to make it a success.

  1. Dry Cleaning and Laundry Services

The fact that the economy is growing at a tremendous pace means that so many Vietnamese do not have the luxury of taking care of their laundry and so would rather pay to have it done for them. This is therefore a lucrative business which you can start, however it is imperative that you study the market well and know not only your target market but also who your competitors are.

  1. Barber Shop

Everyone needs a haircut every now and then and so opening a barber shop is a good way of generating revenue. However, knowing the appropriate location to set up your barber shop will go a long way in determining how you can best attain your goals and objectives, because if you choose a wrong location for your business, not only will you not be able to recoup your investment but you will also be stuck in the location till you are able to come out of your lease contract.

  1. Beauty Salon

Women and even men often want to have their hair and body taken care of. The beauty industry is hardly affected even during economic downturns because people are now conscious of how they look regardless of how much income they generate.

You will need to define the services of your beauty salon but try and offer as many services as possible in order to be able to attract a large number of customers.

  1. Trucking Operator

In starting this kind of business, you should be able to not only bid on but fulfill contracts as well. If you are going to own more than one truck, then you should determine how you are likely to get drivers. This is a business that requires huge amount of capital to start and run before profit can be recouped and so it is vital that you have a network of contractors where you are able to get jobs every now and then.

  1. Construction Services

The booming economy means that there will be more immigrants moving into the country either for business or to live and so the construction industry is likely to boom due to the number of construction activities that aims at providing living facilities to accommodate more people.

The services offered by a construction services business include; project management, subcontractor outreach, project controls, risk management services, design management and so many more.

  1. Car Wash

The car wash business is one that is not only profitable but offers a steady stream of income regardless of which country the business is located in. The equipment used in washing cars do not cost so much and yet they help generate tremendous amount of money.

If you are going to be operating your business in an area that will see a steady stream of customers, it is best that you employ workers to help you out.

  1. Tutorial Centers

The demand for tutorial centers can be immense as most schools in Vietnam ban private learning and teaching centers. However, because many parents are concerned with having their children improve and most teachers and brilliant students are looking to earn extra income, starting a tutorial center can be very lucrative especially if your center is known to be efficient.

  1. Translation and Transcription Services

As more foreigners continue to move into Vietnam to explore business opportunities, starting a translation and transcription service can be a savvy move for an enterprising entrepreneur. You will need to determine the kind of services you intend to offer your various clients and in order to create awareness, you will need to advertise and engage in publicity strategies.

  1. Footwear Business

The Vietnamese footwear industry has seen an increase in demand and caused explosion in the production sector. In the year 2014, the export of footwear, handbags and leather amounted to more than $5.7 billion in the first seven months and went up by 19.2 percent the next year.

Even though the industry is a competitive one, you can still choose a niche and focus on it but ensure that you have conducted a thorough research on the niche so that you do not end up starting a business where you will not be profitable.

  1. Sale of Baby Clothing

There is nowhere that babies aren’t born every now and then especially if the population of the area is mostly young people.

Baby clothing are quite different from that of adults and a lot of parents do not mind splurging on clothing or other items for their babies. Because clothes are a necessary item, starting a business where you sell baby clothes is likely to earn you a lot of profit.

  1. Electronic Repairs

Even though several electronic shops are closing down due to the fact that product replacements are now expensive, and customer preference of replacing damaged products because of the availability of Chinese products which are cheaper, starting an electronics repair shop is not totally a bad idea.

Just like any other business, ensure that you conduct a thorough survey of your market so that you do not end up wasting your time and money.

  1. Advertising Agency

The fact that many manufacturing jobs are moving to Vietnam means that there will be a rise in per capita GDP which will not only lead to middle class but will also ensure that demand for fast moving goods will increase thereby leading to these companies seeking the services of an advertising agency.

One thing you should be aware of is the fact that you will be facing a lot of competition from already existing advertising agencies and so it is best that you have conducted a thorough research about the business.

  1. Taxi Service

The fact that infrastructure is growing in Vietnam means more people will want to be able to get to their destination without having to drive themselves.

Even though the war in Vietnam affected the transport sector, but lots of roads have been repaired which means more people will not be needing motorbikes to get to their destination anymore. You should ensure that you carefully choose your routes as the airport might be the best place for your taxi service.

  1. Event Ticketing Service

Even though you might not have the same economies of scale as you would for this kind of business in advanced countries, this does not however mean that you cannot run a profitable business if you have a good technology platform. Ensure that you provide your clients with modern online payment options.

  1. Fast Food Service

So many Vietnamese do not have the time to cook meals and so would prefer buying from a fast food. Another reason why there is a demand for fast foods is the fact that they have a certificate of food hygiene and safety. And so if you like cooking and creating new cuisines, then this might be a business for you to start up.

  1. Home Cleaning Service

If you have a passion for cleaning people’s homes and you are a genuine person, then you can provide dedicated services to those in your target area.

If you have to employ other hands, ensure that they undergo a thorough background check so that you do not end up losing customers. To create awareness, ensure that you post adverts in places that your target market is likely to see them.

In conclusion,

Vietnam is not only opening up its economy but it is also bringing down tariff and non-tariff barriers within Asia and on a global level.

While there are series of challenges to be experienced while doing business in Vietnam, entrepreneurs should consider factors such as cheap labor which has attracted high tech multinationals, and the effect will cause more small and medium scale enterprises to spring up.