Healthcare sector in Vietnam

Healthcare as one Vietnam’s priority areas for development presents potentially large opportunities from hospital development and training to exports of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and devices.

Market overview

Vietnam has a population of 90 million, 60% of whom are under 35; it has a working age population of 56 million. Over the last decade GDP growth averaged 8% and is forecast to average 6% per year for 2014-2017. A member of the WTO since 2007, Vietnam’s import demand is expected to grow by around 250% between 2010 and 2020 – faster than any other emerging power, including China. Rapid economic development, coupled with its young urbanising population, make Vietnam an attractive market.


Vietnam represents a potentially very large health care, pharmaceutical, medical equipment and device market. Identified as one of the national development priorities, the Vietnamese public health care sector has received increasing budget allocations along with incentives for investment.

Healthcare provision is via mixed public-private system, with just over 1000 public and 130 private hospitals. These are not enough to meet rising demand and the Ministry of Health has announced plans for 45 new hospitals across Vietnam to relieve overcrowding. In Ho Chi Minh City (population 9 million) there are plans for four new hospitals, two of these will be a cancer hospital and a children’s hospital totalling US$500 million. Beyond construction there is a need for equipment and training, not just for medical staff but across all disciplines for running an efficient hospital and healthcare system. Currently, around 30,000 Vietnamese travel abroad for specialist treatment at a cost of more than US$1 billion.

Medical Equipment

Most equipment is imported as Vietnam does not have an established manufacturer that meets national and international standards. Local production accounts for less than 5% of the market. As the demand for healthcare increases, along with demand for a broader range of sophisticated and specialist treatment, the need for quality medical devices will increase.


The majority of pharmaceuticals are imported making Vietnam dependent on external supplies to meet demand, between 2011-12 expenditure increased by over 20%. Although cost remains a key factor, within the government’s current 5 year health sector development plan there is an emphasis on improving the technology and quality of available drugs and vaccine production.

Key opportunities

  • Design and construction of modern hospital facilities

  • Export of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and preventative healthcare products

  • Local manufacture of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment

  • ICT equipment and software for the full chain of healthcare management

  • Training in all aspects of the provision (medical staff) and supervision of healthcare services (managers – at all levels, quality control, inspectors etc)

Latest export opportunities – Life Sciences

Latest export opportunities – Vietnam

Getting into the market

  • Accessing Vietnam’s market through authorised distributors/agents is the fastest way

  • Strong partnership with local companies (JV) is also an important way of understanding the market, as well as accessing established networks and customer bases

  • Great incentives for investors: corporate income tax rate of 10% throughout the project life span, a 4-year tax exemption, a 50% tax cut in the following years, land rent reduction or exemption for at least 7 years

More about doing business in Vietnam


Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).

To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country – or contact your local international trade team.

  • Ms Le Nguyen Lan Anh, British Embassy in Hanoi. Tel: +84 (4) 3936 0500 ext 2221 or email:

  • Ms Vuong Thi Khanh An, British Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh. Tel: +84 (8) 3825 1380 ext 2231 or email:

Contact your local international trade team

UKTI Events

UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.

Latest events – Life Sciences

Major Events

Vietnam Medi-Pharm 2014

14-17 May 2014

ICE Exhibition Centre, Hanoi Friendship Cultural Palace, 91 Tran Hung Dao, Hanoi

Vietnam Medi-Pharm Expo 2014

21-23 Aug 2014

TBECC, 446 Hoang Van Thu, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh city

Pharmed & Healthcare 2014

25-27 Sep 2014

SECC, 799 Nguyen Van Linh, District 7, Ho Chi Minh city

Useful links

More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters

Countries: Vietnam
Export Action Plan