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How to ensure effective intercultural communication for doing business in Vietnam

Doing business in Vietnam : develop strong intercultural communication

November 2023

Communication is the key to any project. Indeed, it enables the easy exchange of ideas, laying the foundation for strong relationships and smooth operations. Businesses have plenty of opportunities when they venture into Vietnam’s growing market. However, success mostly relies on effective cross-cultural communication.

In an interview hosted by Zach Herbors for Business Way TV, ALTIOS Vietnam’s Country Coordinator Thuy Minh Giang explores key tips and best practices for successful business interactions in Vietnam.

Overcome Communication Barriers

Communication is greatly influenced by cultural differences. Some words that have neutral meanings in one culture might mean something else in another.

For example, “ambition” or “being ambitious” is viewed differently in Vietnam and Europe. In Europe, ambition is usually positive; it is seen as a trait leading to success and personal fulfillment.

In Vietnam, however, there are two words for ambition, each ones carriying a different meaning. On the one hand, one is positive, like in Europe, while the other suggests competitiveness or even ruthlessness.

Here are some tips understand cultural differences in business:

1. Learn Vietnamese and build personal relationships from scratch

Getting to know people personally makes communication easier and shows a sincere interest in the local culture. Vietnamese partners are more likely to feel at ease and transparent when speaking to you in their mother tongue. Speaking in their native language helps build trust and stronger business relationships.

2. Show Adaptability and Cultural Sensitivity

Effective intercultural communication requires having an open mind and developing cross-cultural awareness, that is to say, being aware of cultural differences. It is important to embrace diversity and recognize that what may be customary in one culture may not hold the same significance in another. By respecting local customs and traditions, you will build credibility and trust.

3. Be clear in your statements

Misunderstandings can happen in any cross-cultural situation. However, in order to minimize it, you should always ask questions and seek clarification. By being proactive, you can prevent potential misinterpretations and develop a transparent and productive working relationship. Clear communication guarantees that everyone’s goals and expectations are in line.

4. Call on a mediator for smooth communication

Sometimes, despite best efforts, there may still be challenges. In this kind of situation, finding a trustworthy mediator can be very helpful. A mediator with expertise in both cultures can assist you in comprehension problems, and help you and your Vietnamese partner communicate effectively. By doing this, you will be sure that both understood messages correctly and that any possible disagreements or inconsistencies are resolved right away.

Three Impacts of Cultural Differences

1. Language barrier

The language barrier can be a real problem, due to the structure of the Vietnamese language. Unlike Latin languages, the Vietnamese language does not use tenses. This fundamental difference in grammar can make it hard to understand nuances.

Also, varying levels of English proficiency among Vietnamese people can also make communication harder. Thus, it requires patience.

2. Working hours

Some Vietnamese people work on weekends. Sometimes, they might send urgent requests or inquiries during this time. This is an aspect of the Vietnamese work culture that you have to take into account, in order to find mutually agreeable solutions when facing these time-sensitive issues.

3. Legal documents

Legal documents are often sent via platforms such as Whatsapp or Zello. While these methods offer convenience and speed, they may not be as secure as conventional methods. Extra precautions are needed to protect sensitive data.

Watch the full interview with Thuy Minh Giang for Business Way TV:

Want to learn more?

If you are interested in reading more articles about doing business in Vietnam, check out our article about how to choose a manufacturing site in Vietnam.

5 key steps to succeed your international recruitment

Picture - 5 key steps to succeed your international recruitment

In the context of a very tense job market with a war for talent, successfully recruiting has become a real obstacle course. Defining your project and the profile you are looking for, finding and recruiting the right person who will be able to integrate and lead the company to success, and then building loyalty are all challenges that must be met when recruiting… especially internationally!

To maximize your chances of success, we share with you 5 key steps to succeed in your international recruitment!

1. Defining the position and its challenges

Before starting your international recruitment, it is essential to clearly define your vision and your project internally. It is very common to find yourself held back in a recruitment process because the challenges of the position have not been completely understood by all the decision-makers, or because there are differences of opinion.

To avoid this pitfall, it is essential to bring together all the key people in the project and define :

  • The vision: Why do we choose to recruit? What need(s) are we addressing?
  • Job objectives: What are the 3 main objectives assigned to the new talent during their first year (e.g. to enter a new foreign market)?
  • The position’s missions: What are the main missions? What are the secondary missions? To help you, you can break down the major objectives mentioned above into concrete tasks
  • The future of the position: What are the prospects for development? What are the challenges ahead?

You need to ensure that everyone involved in the recruitment process is aligned with the position’s challenges and opportunities. This will maximize the chances of success, but it will also allow you to present candidates with a clear vision of the challenge and the issues related to the position.

Finally, it is essential to define the international recruitment process beforehand: recruitment stages, people involved, etc.

Once the position and its stakes are clearly defined, you will be able to establish the recruitment specifications to maximize your chances of integrating the right person.

2. Identifying soft skills with a well-established set of specifications

As we have seen, the labor market is under pressure at the European and international level. The scarcity of talent and skills, especially for international profiles, makes recruitment more complex. The responsibility of recruiters is therefore twofold: to carry out the recruitment process, but also to find the talents whose values are aligned with those of the company they are joining.

For example, today in France 46% of employees are no longer with the company within 18 months of joining and in 36% of cases the failures are due to a mismatch of cultures and values. The problem is often not technical skills, but the misidentification of soft skills (behavioral competencies) of talents.

Before starting your international recruitment, it is therefore necessary to identify the soft skills that are essential to integrate into your organization. We recommend that you associate a precise description to each of the identified soft skills: for example, you need a talent with an entrepreneurial spirit because the person will be the first representative of your company who is still unknown in the target market.

In the context of international recruitment, the important soft skills may be commercial temperament, the adaptability, multicultural openness, the quick decision-making, etc.

When creating your specifications, it is obviously necessary to complete the soft skills required with technical skills (language skills, specific training, experience in a specific sector, etc.).

Drawing up your specifications and paying particular attention to identifying the required soft skills will allow you to maximize your chances of success and to integrate the right talent!

international recruitment soft skills

3. Focusing on a neat and attractive job ad

In order to attract the best profiles, you must also refine your job ad and communicate your company’s values. In the context of a tight job market, you must ask yourself why a candidate would want to join your company rather than another. It is necessary to offer attractive perspectives and a stimulating work environment.

Since the global pandemic and with the arrival of generation Z on the job market, expectations have changed. It is therefore necessary to offer more than just a salary: what will motivate candidates to apply goes far beyond the simple financial aspect (project, challenge, work environment and team cohesion, teleworking, work/life balance, etc.).

Concerning the writing of the ad, we advise you to articulate it according to the format :

  • A short but precise title
  • Context of the position and quick explanation of the issues
  • Presentation of the missions
    Presentation of the profile sought
  • Sharing the company’s values in a “Why join us?”: this section is essential to attract candidates to your company!
international recruitment

Finally, making your proposal appealing and sharing an attractive ad will allow you to attract the best profiles and put all the chances on your side for your international recruitment… but we will see, it is not the only way to find good profiles!

4. Finding candidates with a proactive approach

In the current context, it is estimated that more than 70% of recruitments for Sales, Management, Marketing or Export Management positions are finalized through direct approach. In other words, as there are very few candidates on the market, most of the people recruited are approached while they are still in the job!

If you want to recruit the right person, you need to take a proactive approach and reach out to the best talent directly.

This new way of recruiting can take time, which is why we advise you to:

  • Invest in the right tools (access to online CV libraries for example)
  • To outsource your recruitment if the direct approach is too time consuming

In all cases, you should not rely solely on posting ads to finalize your recruitment. The direct approach will allow you to maximize your chances of success!

5. Understanding of international recruitment issues

Finally, whether you are recruiting a person in a foreign market or in your country for an export function, you must anticipate international HR issues.

It is essential to secure various aspects before you even begin your recruitment:

  • The multicultural aspect: business practices abroad are often very different from those in our own country and it is therefore necessary to understand them to be sure to recruit a talent that can adapt (to local practices if the talent joins the parent company and to your own practices if the talent is foreign and works locally)
  • The legal aspect: for example, during international mobility, it is necessary to declare your employee as soon as he/she leaves for a foreign country
  • Hiring: when recruiting in a foreign market, make sure that you have studied the possible hiring options and that you will be able to recruit in full compliance (labor law, remuneration, charges, health, immigration if necessary, etc.)
global hr

We advise you to get in touch with experts who will be able to assist you in securing your international recruitment project and will be able to enlighten you on the different issues to anticipate.

In conclusion, international recruitment for export functions or local markets is a strategic decision, often necessary for companies to accelerate their international deployment.

A recruitment error can cost, in terms of productivity gains, up to 15 times the base salary of the employee you hired! It is therefore necessary to prepare the project in advance, in order to secure it and maximize your chances of success, in a context of a tense labor market.

Our ALTIOS HR experts can assist you in your recruitment project, do not hesitate to contact us!

Crédit Agricole Italia in Trento with Altios International to promote the companies internationalization

First stage of the initiative “Coffee with Companies”, the Group on tour throughout Italy

"Coffee with Companies"

Trento, 2 February 2023 – The new series of meetings of “Coffee with Companies”, the itinerant initiative born from the collaboration between Crédit Agricole Italia and ALTIOS, has started from the Trento headquarters of Crédit Agricole in Piazza Pasila.

During this series of capillary meetings in the territories, Crédit Agricole Italia intends to accompany companies toward new opportunities and strategies, useful for the penetration of foreign markets, thanks to the Group’s international
network and to the services offered by its historical partner ALTIOS.

The first stage met with the participation of numerous companies from Trentino, interested in delving into particular issues related to countries where the Bank and ALTIOS, thanks to their international specialists, can provide direct support while amplifying their relational network.

For more information on the Crédit Agricole Italia website, click here.

"This event held in Trento, highlights how Italian companies need structured support for long-terminternational development.
Mirko Mottino
Country Manager ALTIOS Italy

Save the date

Here are the dates to remember about “Trade Finance and Internationalization”:

February 8th – Genova

March 22nd – Reggio Emilia

May 2nd – Palermo

May 3rd – Catania

May 16th – Brescia

May 23rd – Padova

May 30th – Udine

More information

To know more about this partnership, you can read our press release.

More about Italy: watch a webinar replay about “Tools and strategies for your international development”

What about Global HR?

As an SME or medium-sized company, you are certainly looking for solutions for your international HR strategy.

Morgane Pinault, Head of the Global HR Solutions Practice by ALTIOS, answers 3 key questions regarding the role of human resources in the internationalization of a company.

Morgane Pinault

What advice and solutions for a company wishing to expand into a new market?

In their internationalization process, most companies will focus on their strategy or finance to get the project done. However, all business starts once you have invested in people.

In fact, 80% of French SMEs and SMIs believe that Human Resources are an obstacle in their internationalization strategy.

It is therefore essential to address this issue and place the employee at the center of the international project.

Global HR by ALTIOS: what are the concrete solutions we can bring you?

Two years ago, we worked with our clients in Open Innovation mode to determine the best HR solution to meet the HR challenges of our clients.

With them, we have designed an HR compass that allows you to always find the solution to your problem in France and internationally.

Our ADVISE offer

Our RECRUIT offer

We intervene at different levels. Upstream :

  • How do I organize my human resources to develop internationally?
  • How do I align my HR strategy with my international strategy?
  • Which talents are already in my company?
  • How do I evaluate them, and how do I develop them?
  • Which talents do I need to equip myself with?

We also intervene in the HR transformation of companies, through assessment, through reorganization, through post-acquisition projects.

  • How do I integrate a new company or a new activity into my company?

Human resources being a key issue for our clients, we are involved in recruitment.

  • We recruit for you international profiles specialized in Business Development, International Strategy, Marketing or Management. And this, in France and abroad.
  • When you are facing a crisis or a particular situation that requires temporary recruitment, we can work with you on interim management.

Have you finally identified the right talent for the right project in the right place in the world? We will secure your project by providing all our technical, administrative, social and salary support, but also by providing you with a solution dedicated to the performance of your employees.

A fulfilled employee who succeeds in his or her mission in his or her country is a success for him or her, and a success for your company.

What is the added value of Global HR Solutions by ALTIOS?

It’s about our international presence through our dedicated HR experts.

You can count on us to be your trusted partner for all the HR issues you face today.

Moreover, you can rely on us at your headquarters to coordinate all your international projects, but also locally. Indeed, we will do our best to support your local teams in their performance.

Put people back at the heart of your international project and count on us to support you.

Watch the full video:

Play Video about hr expert talk morgane

China’s MedTech Market

china medtech market

December 2022

The MedTech sector in China is quickly becoming the most attractive industry for investors.

With a 70% importing ratio, China is one of the world’s largest medical device manufacturing hubs, as well as a market dominated by foreign multinational companies. In this dynamic context, what will be the potential challenges, and keys to success for foreign players in the coming years?

Key Market Data

The Chinese MedTech market has grown at a consistently rapid rate in the past five years, and in 2019, the market reached RMB 7.82 trillion (US$1.1 trillion), an increase of 10 percent when compared to that from the previous year.

For companies that plan on investing in this promising sector, it is crucial to have an understanding of the Chinese MedTech industry’s statistics:

  • In 2020, China’s GDP saw a slower 2.3 percent growth, but its healthcare spending still rose from RMB 6584.14 billion (US$1,033.1 billion) in 2019, and to RMB 7230.64 billion (US$1,134.5 billion) the following year. However, it is still the 2nd fastest growing industry in the world.
  • China’s revenue in the Medical Technology market is projected to reach US$40.96bn in 2022.
  • The market’s largest segment is Medical Devices with a projected market volume of US$29.07bn in 2022.
  • By 2027, revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2022-2027) of 8.12%, resulting in a market volume of US$60.51bn.
  • In global comparison, most revenue will be generated in the United States (US$200.20bn in 2022).

MedTech Market Trends

Medical Technology grows steadily due to China’s aging population: the elderly are predicted to reach 300 million by 2025 and 400 million by 2035. Due to a strong rebound of revenue structuring in 2022 and a steady rise in 2023, stable and consistent growth in the industry are anticipated as seen before Covid-19.

This ensures sustained investment in research and development, a proliferation of healthcare services, and the implementation of existing technology.

Moreover, the market presents considerable opportunities for growth. This is possible since the Chinese Government has more recently laid out multiple initiatives to support long-term growth and innovation in healthcare delivery. As for this sector, it will feature more heavily in the 14th Five-Year Plan (covering 2021-25) than it did in the 13th Five-Year Plan.

China’s Market Entry Strategy for Foreign Players

International foreign companies that wish to enter China, usually operate in three ways:

  1. Direct Investing by setting up a base in China via opening a WOFE, Subsidiary, or JV.
  2. Partnership with OEMs
  3. Importing to sell in the market.

However, things are evolving. Following recent global changes, since the pandemic and the tense political restructuring, most firms have realized which is the best way to take advantage of China’s profitable market.

Now companies are focusing on monetizing by selling to local markets rather than exporting. While developing with the end market, businesses are choosing to acquire bigger market shares by localizing the supply chain, rapidly responding to customer demand, and taking advantage of tax policies favorable to investment in R&D.

By localizing, the companies have enhanced their financial incentives, including, but not limited to, lower company tax of 15% and reduced VAT.

At the business model level, MedTech majors are stepping out of their comfort zones with cross-sector partnerships with peers, pharmaceutical companies, providers, and payers alike for disease and health solutions.

Some case studies to explore would be Radiometer’s partnership with AstraZeneca for kidney diseases, Illumina & Sanofi in rare disease treatments, and more.


With the right strategy and partnerships, China’s MedTech industry provides significant opportunities. Medtech companies should evolve and innovate to keep pace with the healthcare system highly driven by digital data-driven trends.

Want to learn more?

If you are still interested in reading about China, you can also read our latest article: Hong Kong Bouncing Back

MG Tech

ALTIOS supports MG Tech in opening its North American subsidiary.

ALTIOS helped us gain perspective on several issues. Its teams highlighted important points that we had not fully understood, such as the positioning of our employee in Canada.

In addition to a certain number of operational services to be provided, his mission includes representational functions.

He represents MG Tech in North America with the aim of developing the subsidiary.

Xavier Lucas
MG Tech's Managing Director


  • MG Tech, a company which already has ten or so clients in North America, such as Savencia, Nemera Group and Lanthier Bakery (La Fournée Dorée), has decided to set up locally to offer a local service to its major French clients, but also to tackle the local market.


  • Validation of Canada and North America as potential markets for the company.
  • Challenging the creation of the subsidiary in its various aspects, including marketing and communication with a recommendation for the evolution of the graphic charter.
  • The installation of an employee in Canada, through HR support for mobility, in order to secure the international project and the arrival of the employee on site. This support focused on positioning the employee on his new mission (projection into the job, skills development, setting up a roadmap in line with the objectives set, remote management of the employee, etc.).


  • Another interesting thing we’ve learned from ALTIOS,” says Xavier Lucas, “is that you have to put the subsidiary at the centre of the company’s organisation.

  • Setting up a Canadian steering committee involving our Canadian employee, the general and financial management, and also the company’s product developers, in order to provide feedback on the Canadian market and to gain real insight into it.

  • Future adaptibility of our products to the North American market.

Want to know more about MG Tech’s experience and its international development?

Discover more on MG Tech at:

Company Profile

Founded in 2004 by Éric Gautier

Headquarters: Les Achards (France)

4 production sites in La Chapelle-Achard, Champtocé-sur-Loire, Val-d’Izé, Bérus (France)

1 subsidiary in Canada

211 employees

Turnover: 32 millions €, of which 10% from export.

4 800 worlwide sold machines

Expertise: industrial robotics for end-of-line packaging equipment.

Target country: North America


Hong Kong: new business perspective world's strictest pandemic rules are lifted.

October 27th, 2022

10:00 – 11:00 (MEZ).

Good news. Business travel to Hong Kong is about to get a whole lot easier. Since September 26th, the hotel quarantine has been lifted. Business activities in Hong Kong are expected to return to normal soon. Foreign investors also see this as a major step towards the Chinese borders also being reopened in the near future.

What does this mean for your business in Hong Kong and China? It may be time to rethink your China strategy.

Update your knowledge of the Chinese market and use this seminar as an impetus to review and, if necessary, adapt or even completely change your local sales approach.

Target group: Market entrants, but mainly companies that have been active in China for many years.

Event language: English


This webinar includes :

10:00 – Breaking news from Hong Kong with possible implications for future business in Hong Kong/China

10:05 – General Business Outlook for 2022

10:10 – Hong Kong’s perspective as a leading Global Business Hub

10:25 – Questions and Answers


Zoé Zhu

Zoe-Linlin ZHU is the Business & Investment Director of ALTIOS China.

She has more than 10 years of professional experience in multinational corporations.

Before joining ALTIOS, Zoe Linlin ZHU was mainly responsible for sourcing/production.

During the 3 years she ran her own consulting firm, she assisted international companies in handling various projects in China.

Her deep understanding of running a business helped her a lot in managing international projects and negotiating with different people and cultures in the future.

ZHU graduated in “Communication, Entrepreneurship and Business Development” from Lyon-III University and Institut Commercial Lyonnais in France.

Maja Kovačević Coupé

Maja Kovačević Coupé is a Business Development and Account Manager at Altios Hong Kong.

She has spent almost 15 years first studying, then working in Mainland China and Hong Kong.

Maja Kovačević Coupé has a solid knowledge and understanding of Chinese business etiquette and culture.

For the last few years, Maja has been closely following the situation in Hong Kong and its business environment. She would like to share recent evolutions and highlight why Hong Kong remains an important bridge between East and West.


To better plan the webinar, please register no later than October 26th, 2022. Register here.

The participation is free of charge.

The five key steps to prepare your M&A operation

Infographie M&A V2

November 2021

External growth is one of the quickest ways, for SMEs to grow its business and expand its operations (activities, services, clients) abroad. However, a Merger & Acquisition process faces many challenges, especially in an international context.
5 prerequisites are critical, before beginning your M&A project.

Integrate external growth to your development strategy
External VS Organic growth : define the best way to enter a new country, new market. External growth can be quicker in most cases but a preliminary analysis is mandatory before launching a full process. It can lead to value loss if not done correctly.
/ Verify your financing capacity (level of Enterprise Value) to assess the size of the target you can aim

Appoint a Project Manager
/ Name a Project Manager within your organization that will be the link between all
the parties involved (advisors, targets, banks, etc.) and that can
allocate a significant amount of time
/ Depending on the size of the project, define the scope of responsibilities of each relevant member involved in the project: decision-making process, role of each member, etc. Ex: CFO can be involved during the valuation phase but no need at the beginning, CLO can be involved for NDA, CEO to decide if a target is relevant

Define the ideal target
Define the company size (employee, revenue/EBITDA, balance sheet.)

/ Define the activity / services / products / sectors / clients
/ Define the geographical scope (region, country)
/ Define the other criteria (type of ownership, type of acquisition, type of clients, management team, etc.)

Adapt to cultural differences
/ In the first approach of the potential targets: the first approach is always complicated as we do not know if the targets are ready to sell their companies or open to share information. The idea is to create the opportunity. Each approach must adapt to cultural specificities to maximize the chances of opening the door and getting information
/ In the negotiation phase and the M&A process: adapting to cultural differences is key: respect the agenda / calendar, communicate clearly, do not rush and take the time to advance at the rhythm of the target
/ In the post-deal integration: must be prepared as it does not only concern top management / owners anymore but all the employees. Put in place a planning and a project manager to run properly the integration. Decide to change branding (depending on the market), decide to mutualize tools (IT, finance, HR, etc.).

Specify the schedule
/ Define the planning of the process for the main steps: duration of each step (2 months for the screening, 2 months for the approach phase, 4 months for Due Diligence, etc.). It’s mandatory to be structured and to advance step by step
/ Adapt to the agenda / calendar of each target (might be quicker than expected if the target is in an active
sale process / longer if the target is initially not ready to sell)

Infographie M&A V2

ALTIOS: 30 years old, an international success story

altios 30 ans

ALTIOS is the story of a passion for international business and the meeting of 5 personalities.

Founded in Sydney in 1991 by Bruno Mascart, Altios’ mission was initially to support European companies looking to set up in Australia. Over the years, Bruno was joined by David Gerard, Patrick Ferron, Boris Lechevalier and finally Klaus Maier, each one contributing to the Corporate DNA.

Altios’ journey

ALTIOS’ services have evolved considerably over the last few years to go beyond traditional marketing and sales assistance services. Today, the group offers real expertise integrating all the internationalization solutions enabling companies to expand at each stage of their growth on a market.

As a leading international advisory firm for Small and Mid-Cap companies expanding in the G30, Altios records:
+ 10,500 carried out projects
+ 2,000 managed employees
+ 1,700 created subsidiaries
+ 750 employees
22 locations spread over the largest markets
4 solutions adapted to each stage of #internationalization: Strategy, Development, Implementation & Investment

Global Business Month

Global Business Month

It's time!
Speed up your international business

Insights | Interviews | Tips

28.09.21 - 21.10.2021

Online throughout the month

Event language: English


Participating companies


Klaus Maier,
Bruno Mascart
Group Managing
Southeast Asia – Singapore
Boris Lechevalier
Group Managing
Europe – London
Klaus Maier
Group Managing
India – New Delhi
Bertrand Girard
Managing Partner North America – New York
Gael Sabbagh
Partners – Global
Growth Strategy
Europe – Paris
Alexandre Kaplan
Manager –
Corporate Finance
Europe – Paris
Arnoul d’ARSCHOT

Arnoul d’ARSCHOT
Project Manager
Southeast Asia – Singapore

Isabelle Combe
Managing Director
North America – Montreal
Morgane Pinault
Manager – Global
HR Solutions
Europe – Paris
François Lamotte
Europe – Paris
Mirko Mottino
Managing Partner
Europe – Turin & Milan
Didier Koch
Managing Partner
South America – São Paulo
Margaux Loustalan
Managing Director
South America – Mexico City
Thomas Breitinger
Vice President – DACH
Europe – Cologne
Hugues Naudet
Director –Strategy
Europe – Paris
Reinhard Bührer
Head of Marketing & Sales
Hatebur Umformmaschinen AG

Target group

Anyone who sells international products or services worldwide.

With Kind Support