Is Vietnam the next Global BPO Powerhouse?

by Chris Winfield-Blum  - November 16, 2018

My first visit to Vietnam was nearly 10 years ago and an absolutely amazing adventure, I really fell in love with the scenery and people, but it had its challenges as a tourist. It had only been a handful of years since the Vietnamese government had actively promoted and encouraged tourism, let alone business investment.

It was amazing but tough, questions about food or direction were often met with a smile, but not much else. The understandable business language was Vietnamese, making integration with global corporations more difficult. 

I believe that the impressions that many travellers and professionals left this beautiful country with have been entrenched in a perception globally that is outdated and no longer relevant. On my recent business trip, where I met with prospective business partners and explored exciting business opportunities, I was communicating with organisations whose business language was English; I was using Grab ridesharing; I was ordering food without confusion; and able to interact and communicate with everybody I met.

It was truly amazing to see how much this “developing country” has grown and developed an appealing business environment, and that is apparent by the rapid growth and increased foreign direct investment (FDI), 2017 was one of the strongest years for Vietnam and 2018 is shaping up to be equally exciting. With the GDP growing at 6.81%, record high FDI, and trade figures reaching an all-time high of US$400 billion.

Within the context of offshoring initiatives this is a boon, as foreign investment increases, so does exposure to English markets, cultures and the ensuing talent supply and demand pushes that were seen in other markets such as the Philippines. In short;

  • English proficiency is improving significantly
  • Affordable, desirable talent is available, especially in regions such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Mihn City
  • There is a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that will ensure that there are businesses servicing the market effectively

Education First ranked Vietnam 7th in the region above other outsourcing and offshoring hubs such as China with an English Proficiency Index (EPI) of 53.12 with a reported 18.5% of total government expenditure dedicated to education. That means that the government is actively investing in the Vietnamese people to service the global market.

I met with both organisations and individuals who are working in the BPO industry and was impressed with their business maturity, technical competencies and English proficiency. They were all engaging and interested in talking about their experiences studying abroad, working locally and understanding what Change Fox offers to its customers and community. I was left feeling that any team, regardless of their location, would be lucky to have these talented team members working within their organisations, and that’s very much the point right?

So my advice to anybody considering offshoring or investing in the industry is to not ignore the new kid on the block, explore Vietnam as a competitive alternative to local recruitment or offshoring to other locations. Let me work with you to put an action plan together and of course, I would be delighted to introduce to the BPO partners that I have developed relationships with over the past few months.

So the question really comes down to who should be exploring Vietnam for business opportunities? I suggest the below;

  1. Organisations looking to realise competitive advantage through offshoring initiatives
  2. Organisations looking to develop partnerships with established organisations as part of their corporate expansion plans
  3. Existing BPO providers who are either looking to expand into this upcoming market or who are unable to find exceptional talent for certain roles in their current locations cost effectively


If you are interested to talk about this article or to explore any of the above-mentioned opportunities, send us a message today and we can book a time to talk in more detail!

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Chris Winfield-Blum

Software enthusiast, operations & project manager, MBA graduate, team builder, creator, developer, writer and father.

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