Key figures

Key figures
Key figures

Research overview


Responding to challenges and existing knowledge gaps facing the cooperative movement, this mapping research seeks to provide exhaustive information on cooperatives worldwide. This is achieved through a process jointly conducted by the ICA and its four regional offices – Cooperatives of the Americas, Cooperatives Europe, ICA Africa, and ICA Asia-Pacific – using a common methodology. Each office collected the input of ICA members present in the countries within its geographic area, by using the same questionnaire, and completing it with relevant national statistics, in order to obtain an accurate picture of the national situation. Mapping out cooperatives in each country provides a more precise picture of the cooperative context at national and regional levels, enhances the movement's visibility, networking, partnerships opportunities, as well as advocacy, and empowers cooperators by providing them tools for positive change.

This webpage presents a snapshot of the research results for Vietnam. For more information, you can download the full report and the highlights here.




Cooperatives play an important role in the socio-economic development of people in Vietnam. Since independence in 1945, cooperatives have emerged as strong players in developing the rural economy of Vietnam. The cooperative movement developed its first strong foothold in Vietnam after World War II when about 50,000 cooperatives were set up. The first cooperative in Vietnam, Dan Chu handicraft production cooperative, was established in 1948. Post 2000s, the government is actively promoting cooperatives as an important player to build rural areas and promote economies of scale in different sectors, especially agriculture. The new Cooperative Law (2012) has rejuvenated the ecosystem to strengthen agricultural cooperatives. Recently, new types of agriculture cooperatives (also called specialised cooperatives) are emerging as innovative development solutions to revamp the agriculture sector and its scale of operations. This new model is being piloted in the Mekong River Delta region, which is one of the biggest agricultural production regions in Vietnam. 




ICA has one member from Vietnam.

In Vietnam, the data presented is for the reference year 2019.


ICA member represents 24,618 cooperatives, 1,10,000 pre-cooperatives and 85 cooperative unions in the country.  There are more than 7 million members and more than 4 million workers (regular workers and member-workers) in 24,618 cooperatives. Cooperatives in Vietnam are present in three main sectors: agricultural, non-agricultural (including industry and small handicraft, trading, transportation, consumer, etc.) and people's credit funds. 


Legal framework


The legal framework analysis aims to provide general knowledge of the national cooperative legislation and of its main characteristics and contents, with particular regard to those aspects of regulation regarding the identity of cooperatives and its distinction from other types of business organisations, notably the for-profit shareholder corporation.

It aims to evaluate whether the national legislation in place supports or hampers the development of cooperatives, and is therefore “cooperative friendly” or not, and the degree to which it may be considered so, also in comparison to the legislation in force in other countries of the ICA region, or at the supranational level.

In addition, the research aims to provide recommendations for eventual renewal of the legal frameworks in place in order to understand what changes in the current legislation would be necessary to improve its degree of “cooperative friendliness”, which is to say, to make the legislation more favourable to cooperatives, also in consideration of their specific identity. This webpage presents a snapshot of the legal framework analysis results for Vietnam.



The Cooperative Law No. 23/2012/QH13 is the only law that regulates the establishment, organization, and operation of cooperatives and cooperative unions of all economic sectors in Vietnam. There are no special laws on different types of cooperatives in Vietnam.


Main Laws relevant to cooperatives in Vietnam

The Cooperative Law No. 23/2012/QH13 - Regulates the establishment, organization, and operation of cooperatives and cooperative unions of all economic sectors in Vietnam.

Government's Decree No. 193/2013 / ND-CP issued on November 21, 2013 - Elaborates on certain articles of the Law on Cooperatives.

Government's Decree No. 107/2017 / ND-CP - Amended and supplemented some of the articles of the Government's Decree No. 193/2013 / ND-CP.


The Cooperative Law No. 23/2012/QH13 states seven principles that are similar to the ICA’s cooperative principles.


Cooperative friendliness

The research has highlighted that Vietnam’s cooperative law is certainly not perfect (no legislation is), but it contains several elements that reflect good practices and measures that could be useful in the current context.


Key recommendations for improvement

  • The definition of cooperatives should include their mention of being operated as an ‘enterprise’, which is true in practice.
  • The minimum number of members to establish cooperatives should be reduced to five.
  • Provisions should be made to allow the joining of private enterprises as an official member of a cooperative.
  • A dedicated chapter for the operation of Cooperative Unions and Cooperative Alliances should be added.
  • The legal framework of cooperatives needs to make a mechanism to build a digital system of cooperatives.



The 2012 Cooperative Law of Vietnam represents a fundamental change in awareness of nature and role in the development of cooperatives. The new type of cooperatives under the Cooperative Law of 2012 operates to focus on bringing benefits to members through the commitment to supply and consumption of products, services, and jobs according to the needs of cooperatives.

The legal frameworks analysis is a tool developed under the ICA-EU Partnership #coops4dev. It is an overview of the national legal frameworks at the time of writing. The views expressed within are not necessarily those of the ICA, nor does a reference to any specific content constitute an explicit endorsement or recommendation by the ICA. 

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