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Working with a tech team in Ho Chi Minh City - Dos and Don’ts

Keith Tan
November 20, 2018
Having lived and worked in Vietnam for the last 7 years, I have a deep understanding of the Vietnamese culture. I have built up, a leading service provider of tech talent. Even within Vietnam, cultures vary from region to region. So here are our top “Dos and Don’ts” when building, working with your tech team in Ho Chi Minh City. I’ve decided to focus on Ho Chi Minh City because that’s where the majority of  tech talent is at the moment.

1. Do not wear bling when visiting your team in HCMC
We have unfortunately had cases where PMs were pickpocketed when working in HCMC with their development teams. Another option is to buy some travel insurance when you come over to work with your software developers in HCMC.

2. Always get a hotel card from your hotel
We will probably recommend you a couple of locations where you should stay. A pretty decent hotel would set you back in the range of SGD 40 a night. And these are within a 10 minute drive to our Wonderlabs offices in Ho Chi Minh City. Regardless, getting a hotel card is always good. Sometimes the Grab Driver might get the address wrong, or you might key in the wrong address on Grab (it happens quite a lot!)

3. Buy legitimate bottled water
Ideally, only buy bottled water from a chain mini-mart. I have seen people on the streets filling water bottles from taps and using a machine to seal them. As you are probably aware, tap water is not consumable. When working out of our offices, we have mineral water provided in the offices for you and your software developers of course. There’s a great coffee shop in the same building too when you want some of that luscious Vietnamese coffee!

4. Don’t stop walking when crossing any road
Roads are notoriously dangerous seeming in Vietnam. It’s gotten a lot better since I first moved here, with a lot of pedestrian crossings now in the main District 1. But if you do need to cross a road, don’t stop walking. Just keep walking and believe that all the traffic will find a way to magically move around you. But there are no busy streets around our office, so you should be fine on your way to lunch and back.

5. Don’t mention the war
You never know how or who it may offend. Many people have parents or grandparents who fought in the war, who are still alive. I’d caution you to stay away from this very controversial topic when interacting with your software development team in Vietnam!

PS: This is an opinion piece by Joe Low, Co-founder of Wonderlabs Vietnam. Wonderlabs is the leading service provider helping companies build and manage software development teams in Indonesia and Vietnam. Across our various shared and dedicated centers, we have over 350+ active software developers. Since our founding in 2015, we have grown rapidly through innovation and our relentless mission focus - Connecting you to success and productivity. Alumni of Wonderlabs have gone on to work at some of the biggest companies in Southeast Asia.

Official Blog Wonderlabs Vietnam

"I started Wonderlabs because I experienced the problems of building and managing a distributed software development team in Indonesia from 2011 to 2015. I wanted to make it seamless and frictionless for companies to build and manage teams. On the other hand, I found that there are so many amazing software engineers in Indonesia and Vietnam and wanted to connect them to employers in Singapore, Hong Kong and Jakarta" - Ivan Chang, Executive Chairman, Wonderlabs Group

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