Interview: Truong Gia Binh
How has Vietnam’s IT sector developed in recent years, and how competitive has it become?
TRUONG GIA BINH: In recent years the Vietnam government has identified the ICT sector as the foundation for all other economic sectors and has issued many specific policies to turn the country into a strong ICT centre. The ICT industry has made remarkable progress in comparison with other regional countries.
According to the global communications agency We Are Social, 62.76% of Vietnam’s population already uses the internet, while average usage around the world is only 49%. There are 131 mobile subscribers per 100 people in the country, which is above the worldwide average of 64 out of 100 people. Vietnam ranks 2nd in the whole of South-east Asia, 8th in Asia and 30th overall in the list of countries allocated by IPv4 address.
In the software exports segment the country has also been known as the most attractive IT outsourcing destination worldwide. In early 2016 the research and advisory company Gartner published the “Evaluate Offshore/Nearshore Countries for Outsourcing, Shared services and Captives in Asia/ Pacific 2016” report. This report listed Vietnam as one of six primary global delivery country destinations in the Asia-Pacific region.
Moreover, Vietnam has 600,000 people working in ICT service provision, 50% of whom work in the fields of software and digital content. In addition, the country has large-scale ICT firms that have confirmed their position in the global market.
What part is the country playing in the worldwide digital revolution?
BINH: The fourth industrial revolution is the digital revolution. It is taking place very quickly and is making comprehensive changes to the employer-employee model, as well as to the way people work. Speed will be the key factor in this revolution.
According to a recent survey by Harvard Business School, nations are assigned to one of four trajectory zones based on the performance of countries on the digital evolution index, which categorises markets as one of the following: “stand out”, “stall out”, “break out” or “watch out”. Vietnam was classified as a break out country – a market with the potential to develop a strong digital economy. This shows that there is an opportunity for Vietnamese enterprises to change the position of the IT industry and the position of the country.
With new opportunities opening up and a young workforce, Vietnam can absolutely cooperate with the giants in this revolution. The signs are very obvious; we are working daily on the most advanced technologies with leading partners in the US, Japan and Europe to offer scientific advances in the fields of self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, production line forecast and optimisation, and automatic production both globally and in Vietnam.
How can Vietnam further position itself as a strong regional competitor?
BINH: Breakthroughs in science and technology direct all industrial revolutions. The fourth revolution will be led by social, mobile, analytics and cloud, the internet of things, artificial intelligence, robotics, audio-visual technology and drones, and Vietnam is poised to benefit from these opportunities. Its young workforce is willing to learn new things and the country has been praised for innovation. Vietnam is ranked 52nd out of 141 countries overall in the Global Innovation Index 2016, up 19 places from 2015, and it is ranked third in South-east Asia, above Singapore in seventh place, Malaysia at 32nd and Thailand in 55th. Through cooperation, young engineers in Vietnam have gradually mastered the core technologies of the digital revolution, namely cloud, big data and the internet of things.
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