The global business expansion reflects a strategic plan of any company in the vision of creating global footprints. Nowadays, investors can view Vietnam as a key investment destination for a lot of sectors because the country has huge advantages in regard to the labor force, labor skills, infrastructure, government policies and so on. International investors going to Vietnam usually come from countries that have a high economic contribution to the world namely the US, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia. With a view to providing concise evidence to investors, this article will walk through lifestyle aspects and comparisons between Hong Kong and Vietnam so that Hongkongers can approach a new outlook of moving to Vietnam.
The article will provide analysis and comparison based on major cities in Hong Kong Vietnam namely Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city and target audiences including students, professional workers, and entrepreneurs.
Regarding eating-out behavior, Vietnamese residents, in general, are keen on street food culture, in particular, the fresh, light, and gluten-and dairy-free ones are considered as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world. Three major categories usually listed in the top list of eating out of Vietnamese people are (1) food truck, (2) bistro, and (3) fine dining.
Food truck in Vietnam usually refers to a mobile vehicle serving foods for on-the-go customers, not only in the truck but also in carts, bikes, and motorbikes. Bistro is a small restaurant serving moderately priced simple meals in a modest setting with alcohol. Meanwhile, fine dining serves customers with a unique menu and provides professional service.
In Vietnam, a typical meal at either food trucks or bistros in two major cities generally charges $3.79, however, Hongkong records the three-times-higher price of $12.29. Besides, a three-course meal in fine dining restaurants in Vietnam is much cheaper than in Hongkong, with $17.48 and $58 respectively.
Sports and Leisure
Generally, Vietnamese citizens spend less on sports and recreation activities than Hongkongers. For instance, a typical fitness subscription in Hanoi or HCM City is priced around $21.74 but the price is much larger than that in Hongkong with $77.
Hongkongers have to cover the basic utilities including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage, which are three times higher than Vietnamese residents have to. $214 is the monthly cost of standard utilities in Hongkong whilst Vietnamese residents pay $68 – $70 on average.
It can be said that Vietnam and Hong Kong are gorgeous tourism destinations in Asia. Both countries are endowed with stunning and marvelous landscapes. Tourism in Vietnam and Hong Kong has contributed a large part in the economic growth and becomes one of the most luring sectors for foreign investors to invest in.
Vietnam is an attractive tourist destination which has over 18 UNESCO recognized World Heritage sites, including 2 natural heritages (Ha Long Bay, Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park); 5 cultural heritages (Thang Long Imperial Citadel, Hanoi Citadel, Hue Imperial Citadel, Hoi An Ancient Town, My Son Temple); a mixed heritage (Trang An Complex) and other intangible cultural heritage.
On the other hand, Hong Kong is a place where western and eastern cultures encounter to create a unique lifestyle here. There are a lot of attractions, from skyscrapers and street bazaars to crystal-clear beaches.
Accommodations in Vietnam
Vietnamese students prefer renting apartments that have a reasonable price and are convenient for them in terms of the distance from their location to their universities. Vietnamese students are open to sharing their departments to reduce the rental cost. Generally, the rental cost in Hong Kong for students is much more expensive than that in Hanoi.
An apartment of one or three bedrooms in Hong Kong may cost $1,568 – $3,085 meanwhile the rental price in Hanoi fall into the range from $235 to $489 for outskirt districts namely Bac Tu Liem, Cau Giay, Ha Dong, Thanh Xuan, Hoang Mai, Nam Tu Liem. For Vietnamese central districts, the price of renting is higher recording from $357 to $751.
Regarding professional workers and entrepreneurs who have the intention of working a long period in Vietnam, these groups might opt for owning apartments, either to live or to invest. Based on recent research of Savill’s 2020 market brief, the future supply of housing in Hanoi is predicted to expand in the Western-ward districts of Hanoi such as Cau Giay, Nam Tu Liem, Bac Tu Liem, Thanh Xuan, and Ha Dong.
The average price for purchase is $1,460/m2, which is 20 times lower than that in Hong Kong as Hong Kong property market remains the world’s most unaffordable. Moreover, renting offices in Vietnam is also much more affordable with the average monthly rent of $20/m2. In addition, the serviced apartment market in Hanoi is also a potential one, with a significant increase in vacancy lately. When it comes to serviced apartments, some locations are listed for professionals and businessmen including Thanh Xuan, Cau Giay, Nam Tu Liem, Bac Tu Liem, and Hoang Mai districts.
In Ho Chi Minh City
Generally, the rental price of an apartment in Ho Chi Minh (HCM) city is more costly than in Hanoi. Students in HCM city usually have to pay from $392 to $1,194 monthly for renting an apartment of one bedroom or three bedrooms. The fee will vary based on the location, whether it is in the central district or outside the city center.
If professional workers and entrepreneurs would like to settle in HCM, the rental price will be around $1,460/m2 and the office lease is about $32/m2 per month. The average rate of a serviced apartment in HCM is $23/m2 per month. With the current situation of the pandemic, vacant units of serviced apartments have increased to 2400 units in the Q1/2020. One key reason that drives demand for serviced apartments is that HCM is an attractive FDI destination, bringing an influx of expats to the city.
Transportation in Vietnam
Motorbike remains the most popular vehicle in the two major cities as over 58.5% of the city’s population opts for private motorbike. The purchase price varies from $300 to $3000, depending on the modal, engine capacity, manual and auto. Besides motorbikes, foreign students and investors can consider using some other popular types of transportation in Vietnam consisting of buses, taxis and bikes (e-bikes).
Insurance System in Vietnam
The insurance system in Vietnam has brought a lot of benefits to the insurance subscribers, either Vietnamese residents or foreign citizens. Both Vietnam and Hong Kong offer health insurance, social insurance and life insurance.
Hong Kong is ranked as the 2nd most expensive country to obtain health insurance worldwide, on average $6,432 meanwhile the health insurance payment in Vietnam is more affordable. Vietnamese employees and employers pay for public health insurance based on their salary. Employees pay 1.5% and employers pay 3% of monthly salary and health insurance is not available when they become jobless. Furthermore, there are also health insurance companies offering premium packages ranging from $250 to $1,000 for an adult above 30 years of age.
Regarding social insurance, foreigners working in Vietnam under indefinite and definite term labor contracts are eligible for participating in subscribing social insurance. The Vietnamese social insurance covers five aspects consisting of maternity, illness, retirement, labor accidents and occupational diseases, and survivorship. The updated rate of contribution to compulsory social insurance for foreign employees will be the same as those for Vietnamese employees: 8% for employees and 17.5% for employers.
In terms of life insurance, Vietnam requires a lower rate of contribution to life insurance of $30 than the global average of $595.
All in all, Vietnam and Hong Kong have cultural aspects in common because the two countries belong to Asia. Nevertheless, to some extent, Vietnam is a favorable destination for abroad students, professionals, especially Hongkongese residents. Vietnam offers a much more reasonable price with regard to recreational activities, accommodation, transportation, and insurance. Being Asian countries, Hongkongers may find it easier to settle down in Vietnam and have a lot of opportunities to look for vacancies and business development.