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Foreign business people’s experience in Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City)

Foreign business people’s experience when working in Vietnam/with Vietnamese people

Chapter One: Bad experience with IT company. (Trust your intuition).

Here I want to tell few stories from foreigners who work in Vietnam or with Vietnamese people. The foreigners here are/were either my Clients, friends/acquaintances or neighbors, some stay here permanently, some are just here occassionally.

The stories include the good, the bad and the difference. I hope to share some insights which maybe helpful for you, or if you have something else wants to share.

Please do understand that I don’t generalize here, just examples from actual experiences.

A Client of mine wanted to hire IT company and IT freelancers for different IT projects: design website and mobile apps (Android, iOS).

I helped him to find those people. I posted advertisements anywhere I can, and I also emailed different IT companies. Few of them responded to me, but I must choose a company/freelancer can speak English to communicate with my Client.

Long story short, 3i.com.vn is among those I selected to introduce to my Client. In the first email they wrote to my Client, the Director referred me as a ‘friend’, although I never met him. My Client asked me about this, but I told him (and I thought) that maybe due to Vietnamese people easily referred someone as ‘friend’.
But I didn’t have good feeling about it.

Afterward, both my Client and me got annoyed since they changed their ideas few times: at first, the Director said he will come to meet us, then afterward, he said the Vice Director will come to meet us, then change back, then change back; then they wanted to change the time we already agreed. My Client said they don’t respect his time. But by the end, we still meet the Vice Director and another staff who can speak English better than the Vice Director.

When we meet them, my Client had good impression with the ‘Vice Director’, he had very similar experiences which my Client was looking for. My Client has 20 years IT experience, he need someone on certain level to be able to speak with him.

He selected that company since he trusted that the ‘Vice Director’ will play major part in the project.

Results: the IT company sent my Client resumes of other junior programmers. My Client said that why there is not the ‘Vice Director’, then they included him in.
They never sent a weekly report as promised in the contract.
One time we found the ‘Vice Director’ and few people were kicked out of the Skype chat.

Long story short, I found out that the ‘Vice Director’ is actually Director of another IT company. Due to both companies are small, they need to collaborate to get work.

So they sent senior programmer to present and convince Client to get the contract/work first, then afterward, who do it is another story.

Both sides then decided to stop working together, AND they are the one who suggested it first. They said that they would return money to my Client on Mar 31st. They never done. I asked and the Director many times have different reasons: he need to speak with his accountant first … or totally ignore us. We finally had to get a law service come in. They told the law service that they did something in the project, while those codes are totally existed codes in the website of my Client. They said that the ‘Vice Director’ side should also compensate for the project, while the ‘Vice Director’ side didn’t earn/get any money from the project.

Anyway we were able to get just HALF of the amount AFTER 4 months.

Due to urgency to finish the project, my Client then hired the ‘Vice Director’ company to work on the project, and it leads to another story. But my first lesson here is to TRUST MY INTUITION. We didn’t know that they belonged to different companies, if we knew, we didn’t select them and the wrong things didn’t happen.

(to be continued)

Ho Chi Minh City Forum