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To which language should you translate to localize in Vietnam ?

What we know from our community

Vietnamese is the national and official language of Vietnam. It is spoken by the majority of the population as a native language, while ethnic minority groups speak it as a second language.

Vietnamese is a tonal language. Accents are used to denote six distinctive tones: “level” (ngang), “acute-angry” (sắc), “grave-lowering” (huyền), “smooth-rising” (hỏi), “chesty-raised” (ngã), and “chesty-heavy” (nặng). In writing, one tone is represented as unmarked (a), four are indicated with diacritics marked on a vowel (á, à, ả, and ã), and one is marked with a dot under a vowel (ạ).

The language has head-initial directionality, with subject–verb–object order and modifiers following the words they modify. It also uses noun classifiers. In Vietnamese vocabulary, there are many Chinese-Vietnamese words, French-like words, and English terms. Vietnamese also includes a large number of idioms, slang, and legends. 

The language has several dialects, with the three most prominent:

  • Northern Vietnamese – This is considered the standard language
  • Central Vietnamese
  • Southern Vietnamese

There are quite a few differences in pronunciation and vocabulary between the three dialects, but they are mutually understandable – at around the same level as US and UK English.



Official language


T-Index ranks countries according to their potential for online sales.

Other languages
Tay, Muong, Cham, Khmer, Chinese, Nung, Hmong

Low proficiency (EF) – 66 of 112 countries/regions in the world- 12/24 position in Asia.


Capital: Hanoi
Currency: Vietnamese dong
Population: 98,16 m
Population density: 317/km2


GDP: 362.64 billion USD (2021)
GDP per capita: 3,694.0 USD ‎(2021) ‎
Exports: $300 billion (2020)


Internet users: 73.2% penetration, 72.10 million
Unemployment rate: 2.4% (2021)
Urbanisation: 35.92% (2018)
Literacy: 96% (2018)


Numbering system
Arabic numbering system and comma as decimal separator.

Date format: yyyy-mm-dd / dd-mm-yyyy
Time: 24h time system
Country code: 0084

Language data sources: Worldatlas/Britannica//EF/Wikipedia; Demography data sources: IMF/Worldometers; Conventions data source: Wikipedia; Economy data sources: WTO/OEC/CIA/Esomar/Datareportal; Statistics data sources: Datareportal/WorldBank/UN/UNESCO/CEIC/IMF/Culturalatlas/Commisceoglobal

Facts and data


$270 billion (2020).  Integrated Circuits ($34.2B), Telephones ($16.5B), Semiconductor Devices ($6.04B), Light Rubberized Knitted Fabric ($4.84B), and Broadcasting Accessories ($4.1B), importing mostly from China ($104B), South Korea ($48B), Japan ($16.1B), Chinese Taipei ($11.5B), and Thailand ($11.2B).

Financial inclusion factors (over 15 years of  age)
• 31% have an account with a financial institution
• 4.1% have a credit card
• 3.5% have a mobile money account
• 21% make online purchases

Ease of doing business
Easy to conduct business (69.8 out of 100) 8th out of 25 East Asian and Pacific countries 70th worldwide out of 190 countries (2019, World Bank).

Global Innovation Index
Ranked 10th out of 17 Southern
East Asian and Oceanic countries, 44th out of 132 worldwide.

The Global Innovation Index captures the innovation
ecosystem performance of 132 economies and tracks the most recent global innovation trends.

$300 billion (2020). Broadcasting Equipment ($42B), Telephones ($21.4B), Integrated Circuits ($19.4B), Textile Footwear ($8.9B), and Office Machine Parts ($7.68B), exporting mostly to United States ($77B), China ($49.4B), Japan ($20.4B), South Korea ($19.6B), and Hong Kong ($13.8B).

Main local online stores
Lazada, The Gioi Di Dong, Sendo, Shopee, Tiki

Economic freedom
Mostly not free (60.6 out of 100) 18th out of 39 countries in Asia-Pacific, 84th worldwide out of 186 countries (2022, Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal).

Economy data sources: WTO/OEC/CIA/Esomar/Datareportal

Service Exports (2019)

Source: OEC

Service Imports (2019)

Source: OEC

Most specialised products by RCA Index

Specialisation is measured using Revealed Comparative Advantage, an index that takes the ratio between Vietnam observed and expected exports in each product

Source: OEC

Most complex products by PCI Index

Product Complexity Index measures the knowledge intensity of a product by considering the knowledge intensity of its exporters

Source: OEC

Export Opportunities by Relatedness

Relatedness measures the distance between a country's current exports and each product, the barchart show only products that Vietnam is not specialized in

Source: OEC

Most popular payment methods for online shopping according to online shoppers in Vietnam in 2018

Sources: iDea; Ministry of Industry and Trade

Most popular e-commerce sites for online shopping among online shoppers in Vietnam in 2019

J.P. Morgan 2019 Payment Trends

Vietnam is an import-dependent exporter and has the largest percentage of import and export among Southeast Asia and other peer economies

Source: McKinsey

As China shifts away from labour intensive manufacturing, other countries in Asia, including Vietnam, are picking up a share of this activity

Change in share of emerging market exports in labor intensive manufacturing 2014-17

Source: McKinsey

Preferred e-commerce methods in Vietnam

J.P. Morgan 2019 Payment Trends

E-commerce payment method in Vietnam split by value

J.P. Morgan 2019 Payment Trends



Reach most of the online purchasing power

T-Index ranks countries according to their potential for online sales. It estimates the market share of each country in relation to global e-commerce.

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Media language

Information channels
The Communist Party has a stronghold on the media and the state controls all print and broadcast outlets. Repressive laws constrain journalists and bloggers, says Freedom House. Those who report or comment on controversial issues risk intimidation and physical attack. Bloggers and citizen journalists are the only sources of independent news, says Reporters Without Borders (RSF), but they face “ever-harsher forms of persecution”. TV is the main medium. Vietnam Television (VTV) runs the only national networks. VTV-owned satellite and cable pay TV platforms carry some foreign TVs. Voice of Vietnam (VoV) radio networks include VoV 5, with output in English and other languages. There are hundreds of newspapers and magazines. The Communist Party, government bodies and the military own or control almost all of them, says Freedom House There were 68.5 million internet users by the end of 2018 ( Material deemed to threaten Communist rule, including political dissent, is blocked. Censorship by means of content removal has become systematic, Freedom House said in 2018. The NGO said that the authorities had worked with Facebook to remove hundreds of accounts accused of spreading “reactionary, anti-Party” material. A cyber security law which took effect in 2019 requires global online platforms to set up local offices and store their user data within Vietnam.


Nhan Dan – Communist Party daily, English-language pages,
Le Courrier du Vietnam – in French
Vietnam News – state-run, English-language daily
Tuoi Tre – daily, published by Communist Youth Union, English-language website
Thanh Nien – daily, published by Vietnam Youth Federation


VTV – Vietnam Television
Voice of Vietnam – operates national networks and an external service Dai Tieng Noi Nhan Dan (Voice of Ho Chi Minh City)


Voice of Vietnam – operates national networks and an external service Dai Tieng Noi Nhan Dan (Voice of Ho Chi Minh City)

News Agencies

VietNamNetBridgenews site run by Information Ministry, English-language pages

Media data source: BBC

Internet Data

Internet users
66% penetration, 64 million

Share of web traffic by device
45.61% mobile phones, 52.64% computers (laptops and desktops), 1.73% tablet devices, others 0.02%

Median speed of mobile Internet connection
35.14 Mbps

Median speed of fixed Internet connection
68.50 Mbps

Mobile connection as a percentage of total population 158.3%

Percentage of mobile connections that are broadband (3G-5G) 72.6%

Most popular web search engines
Google (92.35%), CocCoc (5.28%), Yahoo (1.1%), bing (0.83%), Baidu (0.11%), Ecosia (0.11%)

Most used social media
Facebook (44.95%), Twitter(23.9%), YouTube (21.21%), Pinterest (7.66%), Instagram (1.85%), Tumblr (0.15%)

Internet data sources: Datareportal/Statcounter

Social statistics

Life expectancy
75.24 yrs (2020)

Average age of the population
32.5 yrs (2020) 

Generally, the issue of class is not discussed in Vietnam nowadays. Instead, social gaps and inequality are becoming widely discussed topics. 

Vietnam has 54 distinct ethnic groups, and each group has its own language, lifestyle and cultural heritage. “Kinh”, which accounts for over 86% of the population, is Vietnam’s largest ethnic group and dominant in all walks of life of the country. In addition, other major ethnic groups in Vietnam include Tay, Thai, Muong, Khmer Krom, Hoa, Nung, Hmong, etc. The government has attempted to build roads, schools and hospitals for the poorest ethnic groups. However, ethnic minorities are still facing numerous difficulties (i.e., widening poverty gap; higher illiteracy and school drop-out rates; later enrolment rates; etc.). The human rights of ethnic minorities remain a politically sensitive issue in Vietnam. 

Healthcare expenditure
7.5% of GDP (2018)

Under a communist regime, Vietnam is officially an atheist country. However many Vietnamese continue to practise “informal” religious customs and folk religious practices. For instance, most Vietnamese honour their ancestors and follow rituals for birth, death, marriage, opening a new business, moving, etc. Vietnamese and foreigners are allowed to practice their religions, provided that these religions are permitted and closely monitored by the government. Major religions in Vietnam include Mahayana Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Theravada Buddhism, Hoa Hao and Cao Dai. At this point, religion remains one of the most politically sensitive and scrutinised topics in Vietnam.

Although Vietnam has recently achieved some progress in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, it remains a male-dominated society, particularly in rural areas and among most ethnic minorities. Vietnamese women are still facing numerous obstacles, including poverty, limited access to higher education and employment opportunities, persistent discriminatory attitudes and behaviour, under-representation in politics; etc. 

Social statistics sources: WorldBank/UN/UNESCO/CEIC/IMF

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Languages research

Languages spoken in Vietnam

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