For the last 20 years, many Western companies have invested in China, but things have changed and many of them are moving to or at least opening new branches in other countries. Businesses looking for new markets, unexploited opportunities in other growing Asian markets both to hold down costs and to reduce over dependence on China are entering new emerging markets such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, … Due to the language barrier and cultural differences, most companies that do business in Vietnam have found out that they must create their own localized version of their website if they want to target the local Vietnamese. These localized versions are not simply translated versions of the original websites, however. They need to be adapted, adjusted, tweaked to match the cultural backgrounds and browsing behaviors of the target audience in Vietnam.
“ Website is quickly becoming an essential marketing channel for businesses in Vietnam. ”The trending web design in Vietnam has also changed dramatically in these recent years. While a large number of businesses still have not realized the importance of brand building via website tools, the market now has quite a few web design agencies with world level creative teams. In fact, many of the best selling items on Evanto Market are “made in Vietnam”. A quick search can show a number of noteworthy web agencies in Vietnam (listed in no order), and you can see via their portfolio that most follow the style we described above.
Many websites in Vietnam look like they were made 10 years ago with busy, cluttered design and and terrible user experience. You may think this is limited to just small companies in Vietnam, and you will find yourself dead wrong. Many of the worst websites in Vietnam belong to huge companies in various industries, it seems like these businesses never use their own websites and online services just to see how freaking difficult it is to navigate and use their sites.
“ This is the e-banking portal of BIDV, one of the biggest bank in Vietnam. You may notice the year in the screenshot, yes it still looks exactly the same after 7 years. ”
It is not limited to local companies only, however. The local website version of many internal brands in Vietnam leave a lot to be desired:
“ This is the website of Pepsi co in Vietnam. ”
“ And here is the website of Unilever Vietnam. ”
In fact, in many cases the small players seem to invest more in the image of the website while the big guys don’t see to find it necessary to put their effort in making a great online experience for their visitors. Website design, when done right, requires true commitment from both the owners (stakeholders) and the web design service providers. The research phase of the website project alone can be longer than 2 weeks and require multiple workshops and brainstorming sessions. Take a look at our case study for Furniture Online Shopping Website to see how the research and planning process for a website usually take place. From our experience, we found most big businesses do not care enough (or have dedicated team) to work with us during the research and design process while the small businesses do not have the budget for this activity.
Hint: For small businesses to stand out (and it’s really easy to beat the big players on the web), you can make time to do your own research and planning. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us for free consulting services, and our articles section is a great starting resource to learn more about websites and how to plan for your next website project.
If you have a chance to go to a local market in Vietnam, you can see the many colors it has. Vietnamese culture is strongly influenced by Chinese culture due to the history and close proximity of the two neighbor countries. This cultural background deeply affects how we pick and choose the color patterns when we work with our partners who want to target the Vietnam market. However, Vietnam also inherits and absorbs Western styles during its journey to search for independence and modernization. This specific type of cultural mix presents us with barriers and challenges but also opportunities and chances to experiment and discover new things.
Most web design agencies in Vietnam are taking inspiration from Western style design, especially the American style design in specific. This comes at no surprise as most of the world leading websites come from the US and the Vietnamese people are more associated with the US (Hollywood) culture. Western European design style is a rarity here in Vietnam mostly due to low-key appearance of famous European brands as well as the mostly minimalist and mono-color style that does not resonate with Vietnamese people’s love for colors and noise.
“ A typical colorful scene at a local market in Vietnam. ”
The Vietnamese language tends to be a bit more verbose than English for example, which usually causes the navigation to look a bit more cluttered. The Vietnamese alphabet (chữ quốc ngữ) is a Latin alphabet with additional diacritics for tones and certain letters. As you may have guessed, there is a very limited number of fonts that support the display of Vietnamese alphabet which vastly reduce the choices of the designers.
As noted, colors play a big role in designing in Vietnam, and the designers should equip himself deep understanding of various meanings of colors and how they can be associated with other social aspects. There have been cases where we were told to use or not to use certain colors because they may not play well with the birth year of the owners. If you come from the Western culture this may sound absurd to you, but this belief comes from Feng-shui and Chinese astrology which plays important role in the decision making process of many business owners (especially with ones from Northern provinces such as Ha Noi).
Many businesses in Vietnam often ask for the full source-code for the websites and most digital agencies opt for open-source platforms for that reason. Among the most used open-source website platforms in Vietnam are:
The website design in Vietnam is maturing and slowly transforming into the next generation. We believe that the next big things in Vietnam will have everything to do with technologies and especially with the web. We cannot wait to see more and more changes come to this 100 million people market to improve people’s lives, to connect everyone together.