What are some key differences between Vietnamese and Chinese culture? The Vietnamese and the Chinese share much in their respective cultures. They celebrate the same lunar new year, enjoy similar day-to-day food, and they also have similar religions.




I am Vietnamese and I will say Vietnamese only managed to replicate the outer part of Chinese culture. Superficial stuff like New Year and mooncakes. On a deeper level, Vietnamese still need to learn a lot from the Chinese culture, Vietnamese only went half way in terms of fully absorbing Chinese culture and way of thinking. Or maybe as Vietnamese expanded away from China and came into contact with other cultures, the cultural values and way of thinking began to differ:

Short-sightedness: one of the things that drive me crazy about Vietnamese is the amount of people with very short sighted thinking. In my opinion the Chinese are very future orientated. Chinese people are well known for seeing things in the long term and planning for the future. Vietnamese don't know how to see far ahead and there is a tendency to just plan as you go along. Vietnamese also tend to not look at the overall big picture and tend to only see a small part of a problem



Complacency: another thing that Vietnamese lack is ambition. I go crazy when hearing people say that such and such is good enough. Chinese people are much more ambitious than Vietnamese, everything they do must be the biggest, best, number 1. Vietnamese are happy with being above average, mediocre, or better than the guy sitting next to us. So what if we are not the best? We just need to be better than him! Not to mention there are some people who prefer cuộc sống an nhàn , to an phận, in other words they prefer to not struggle and to just live a simple life. Needless to say Vietnam will never be a developed country with this sort of people!

Not as ambitious: “Chết có mang theo được không?” is what people will ask to overly ambitious people. Vietnamese don't promote ambition as much as Chinese. Yes Vietnamese adopted the Chinese God of Wealth but I think Vietnamese did not fully accept the Chinese culture of ambition or have lost some of these values as Vietnam drifted away from China.

Lack of resoluteness: Another point that drives me crazy. Chinese, when they say do is do. And they do until the end. Decision > execution. Bam. Finished. Vietnamese tend to be stuck at the end of the decision phase. Vietnamese are not firm and resolute enough. That's why the Vietnamese go nment takes forever to do anything and spend forever debating everything. And it’s the same for plans, we take forever to agree on a plan, then there is a 80% chance that the plan is cancelled, changed or delayed.




Jealousy of successful people and trying to put them down in order to make yourself look better/not accepting own failure: Vietnamese tend to disregard other people’s achievements in order to make themselves better. Instead of reflecting on their own failure, they pick on other people’s failures. One thing that Vietnamese love to to do is criticize other people.

Lack of pragmatism: Vietnamese are not very pragmatic. Vietnamese think with their emotion whereas Chinese people think with their head. Chinese look at facts then make their decisions whereas Vietnamese base it on their own feeling and ideology.

Boasting: I remember someone told me once, Chinese boast when they are at the top, Vietnamese boast when they are above the bottom. Vietnamese are already celebrating when they are nowhere near the best yet. And are already happy with the achievement.

Perseverance : When poor, both Vietnamese and Chinese work hard. But when reaching a moderate level of wealth, the Vietnamese will go off on a spending spree, buy 3 houses and a car, get a new girlfriend, wear flashy clothes, expensive shoes and go to the fanciest restaurants. Whereas the Chinese will continue to work hard until reaching the top before enjoying the wealth.

Risk adverse: Chinese are more willing to take risks than Vietnamese

I do love Vietnam which is why I want it to improve. And no I am not putting Vietnamese down. This is what I have observed and also what many Vietnamese recognize as the biggest flaws of Vietnamese characteristics








Thanh Nguyen

I always think the main difference is Chinese people are much more ambitious than Vietnamese, which is what Vietnamese need to learn from.

Chinese people can build great things and grow much larger than Vietnamese all due to this ambition.

For example, many Vietnamese work very hard but they are easily satisfied. Once they reach a satisfactory level, they think it is enough so they stop trying. However Chinese people would keep pushing to get bigger and better.

This is why Vietnam has so many startups, but the owners of these successful businesses always sell their brand after reaching a satisfactory level of success. This is a big problem for Vietnam. We don’t have as many ambitious and big thinking people like China.

Foody - largest app for food and delivery service in Vietnam has been acquired by Singaporean firm

Highlands coffee - most popular coffee chain in Vietnam, even more popular than Starbucks is now 50% owned by a Filipino firm.

译文来源:三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/47368.html  译者:Joyceliu







Vietnamese are very hardworking and creative people. We have an entrepreneurial spirit that is out of this world. If you’ve ever been to Vietnam you would quickly notice this. Vietnam has many local brands. However we lack big thinking, we call this “small country mentality”. China has long been an empire, they have big country mentality. My mother said the Chinese people are successful everywhere they go. We Vietnamese admire their ambition.

However an example of big thinking in Vietnam is Vingroup. Vietnamese people are very proud of Vingroup owner Pham Nhat Vuong. He’s an example of an ambitious thinker. He now has a business empire. His company runs everything from residential development, resorts, theme parks, hospitals, malls, schools and now they are making cars and electric scooters. Vietnamese even joke that we should now be called Vinnam.

Vietnam’s biggest problem is turning medium sized companies into big companies and big brands. Big brands that can not only conquer Vietnamese market but expand globally. Vietnam needs more big thinkers like Vingroup.


不过越南也有一个干大事的公司,就是Vingroup。越南人民为Vingroup的老板Pham Nhat Vuong感到非常自豪。他是一个雄心勃勃的思想家。他现在建立起了一个商业帝国。他的公司经营着从住宅开发、度假村、主题公园、医院、购物中心、学校到汽车和电动摩托车的一切业务。越南人甚至开玩笑说,我们现在应该被称为旺南。



Born in vinmec, eat at vineco, grow up in vinhomes, go to vinschool, drive vinfast, go on holiday at vinpearl, shop at vincom, buy grocery at vinmart.

If Vietnam has more big companies, we would be growing at a much faster rate.




Juliana Schone, B.A Chinese & Southeast Asian Studies, University of Washington (2016)

Originally Answered: How does Vietnamese culture differ from Chinese culture?

In term of family structure Vietnamese like most South east Asian countries, matriarchy is still popular despite the influence of Confucianism in Vietnam. Families like mine, the mother is the head of the family. Vietnamese women tend to be in charge. Historically if you know about the Trung Sisters and other female leaders in ancient history. Throughout Chinese history, women are often associated with evildoer and karma. Leaders like Wu Ze-Tian is known to history for cruelty and for her dictatorship. (history written by males heh?)

-We are more proud of our ancestor because we were able to push back 2 times Mongol’s invasion in 1300s while the Chinese lost to them

-There is a significant difference in our cuisine. We eat more fresh vegetables and more fruits.






Dor Kimp

I think James Luong and the other answers have covered many aspects already. To add to the list I would say:

coffee culture

I don't know if you notice but Vietnamese have a very strong coffee culture. This is something I have not seen in Chinese or other Asian cultures. Not only do we have our own distinct styles of coffee but visiting cafes and having conversation over a cup of coffee is something that most Vietnamese have as a routine. That is why there are so many coffee shops in Vietnam

Cultural arrogance

Vietnam is a small country that was under imperial control of China and France. When Vietnam expanded down south, it came into contact with Cham/Hindu and Cambodian culture. Vietnam is therefore quite receptive of foreign culture and quite accepting of foreign influences

On the other hand China was a powerful empire. It historically suffers from Middle Kingdom complex or Han centrism so the Chinese have a sense of cultural arrogance that Vietnamese don't have.

This is completely different to Vietnam which never calls Chinese domination of Vietnam as a 1000 years of humiliation Or 60 years of humiliation under France. Vietnamese quite happily accept the ao dai that has significant chinese influence as our national dress and are quite excited to claim for ourselves all the Chinese, French and Cambodian influenced food in our cuisine








Racial awareness

It seems to me there is a much stronger racial awareness in Chinese culture than in Vietnamese culture. Most Vietnamese are unaware of sub-racial categories like East Asian vs Southeast Asians and don't really care much about skin colours. But it seems Chinese are much more passionate about these issues.

Sense of belonging

Fun fact: Vietnamese call everyone by family terms like uncle and aunty. As a result we feel a sense of belonging with anyone else who is Vietnamese. I heard that some people from China don't consider overseas Chinese to be Chinese . This is so strange for Vietnamese because to us, as long as you have Vietnamese blood or ties to Vietnam in any way (for example parents born in Vietnam) then we consider you Vietnamese. And overseas Vietnamese would not deny their Vietnamese identity. It used to be a stereotype in Vietnam that the Chinese have a very strong sense of solidarity but now I find that Vietnamese often have stronger solidarity amongst ourselves than the Chinese






Vinny Le, former Software Engineer

Modern Vietnamese and modern Chinese have many differences.

Vietnamese writing use Latin script, Chinese use pictograms.

Vietnamese speaking language has 6 tones, Chinese has 4 tones.

Vietnamese women has more freedom and active role in society compare with Chinese women. In history Vietnamese has women as leader and general and even queen.

Religion both Chinese and Vietnamese major religion is Buddhism, however in Vietnam has more Christian followers than China, I would say second largest Christian in Asia after Philippines.

Both celebrate Moon calendar new year and other celebrations such as middle autumn.

Both ancestors worshiping.

Vietnamese food mostly fresh herbs. Chinese food mostly fry.

Vietnamese has coffee and tea culture. Chinese has only tea culture.











Nguyễn thị Tường Vân, studied at University of Economics and Law

Originally Answered: How similar is Vietnamese culture to Chinese?

A part of Vietnamese culture is from Chinese culture. Because the China troops were in here for over 1000 years, the Chinese citizen have living here before and after 1945 and until now. That the reason why the Vietnamese culture was influenced by Chinese.The lunar new year, mid-august, mid-year...holidays, the food, even the some of the performance and behaviors are also the same.




Trieu Le, Bachelor from University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City

So I’ve been reading you guys’ opinions and summarize them with my opinion as well.

On the outside, it may be easy for us to say Vietnamese and Chinese are pretty the same. Vietnam is usually said to replicate the outer part of the Chinese culture: Lunar New Year – Tet, Mooncake – Bánh Trung Thu. However, on the inside, there are many differences due to the history of the two countries.

The differences between China and Vietnam:

1.On the one hand, China is big and has been influential throughout its history. The Chinese, as a result, are very proud of their country and they want to put out their best efforts to contribute to the country’s development. Chinese are so ambitious and they want China to be the number 1 country in the world.

I used to talk to 2 professors from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. They seemed to be very patriotic when I asked them about their country.

  1. On the other hand, Vietnam is just a small country and has been suffering from wars for so long from the very beginning of its history to the 21st century. That’s why we just want to live a peaceful, simple life: cuộc sống an nhàn, an phận.

Vietnamese are just as ambitious as Chinese but what they wish for their country (outcompete the U.S., being the number 1 country) is not as enormous as that of Chinese. However, I think Vietnam’s millennial entrepreneurs are really assiduous and truly determined to make contributions to Vietnam’s development.






2. 另一方面,越南是一个小国,从建国之初到21世纪长期饱受战争之苦。这就是为什么我们想要一个和平的生活,简单的生活。



Vietnhi Phuvan, Buddhist. Columbia/NYU/CUNY alumn. New Yorker. Infosec/Devops. Martial artist. Pursuing the dream of peace ...

I am no believer in Confucianism.

There are too many countries including the United States, Germany, Canada, Australia and Scandinavia that shows a society can be extraordinarily successful without subscribing to the tenets of Confucianism. Even India shows the way - at the time of independence, my money would have been on Pakistan turning into the major power on the Indian subcontinent not India. India has major challenges but these challenges are in no way a show stopper in her race for greatness. You count india out at your own risk.

France is certainly not a Confucian country yet the French managed to run our lives for 100 years.

I don’t see Confucianism as open to other ideas or as a promoter of individual initiative and entrepreneurship. Technological change rings social disruption.






Minh Tri

I think the Chinese are horrified when seeing this:



Iced green tea

In Chinese culture they like to drink hot tea, and tea with ice is a horrible concept to them

In Vietnam, cafes serve free iced green tea. There is always a jug of green tea, which can be poured over your cup when you finish your coffee or drank together with your coffee.





Umakant Chaudhari, Digital Communications Expert, Brand Manager, Entrepreneur

Originally Answered: How similar is Vietnamese culture to Chinese?

its suppose to be similar to India and China . is why its called Indo-China ,

China though has its own culture a lot of it is derived from India .

that said many of the western cultures are Indian derived . eg exchange or rings . using gold ornaments, use of sugar , uses of spices many food crops and pulses use of milk products all indian Maths






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