Many government officials and businesses believe that it is the golden time now for foreign investors to decide to invest or expand their investment in Vietnam, especially in the ICT industry.
Vietnamese market is ripe
On October 21, the Ministry of Information and Communications held a seminar on investment in Vietnam’s ICT industry 2020 with the theme "Why Vietnam". This was the sideline event of the ITU Virtual Digital World 2020, which attracted the participation of over 50 countries. Hosted by Vietnam, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event was held online for the first time on the Make in Vietnam platform at https://digitalworld2020.vn.
At the seminar, Vietnam’s national digital transformation attracted the attention of managers, domestic and international enterprises.
Mr. Do Cong Anh, Deputy Director of the Department of Information Technology under the Ministry of Information and Communications, said that in June 2020, the Prime Minister approved the "National Digital Transformation Program to 2025, with a vision to 2030", in order to turn Vietnam into a stable, prosperous and advanced digital nation, and build a safe, humane and widespread digital environment.
Mr. Nguyen Thanh Tuyen, Deputy Director of the Department of Information Technology at the Ministry of Information and Communications, spoke about opportunities for foreign businesses which participate in the program "Make in Vietnam": "Vietnam is a market with approximately 100 million people, which is strongly implementing the digital transformation program. It is a big market for foreign investors. Vietnam wants to develop new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data, 5G...”
Mr. Nguyen Thanh Tuyen, Deputy Director of the Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Information and Communications at the seminar.
Vietnam also wants to develop a business ecosystem. FDI enterprises can participate in this process through technology transfer, building or expanding factories, or building linkages with domestic firms. Thus, it will create conditions for both domestic and FDI enterprises to develop together."
Mr. James Dong, General Director of Lazada Vietnam, participated in the online seminar from Thailand.
From the corporate perspective, Mr. James Dong, General Director of Lazada Vietnam, praised the positive actions of the Vietnamese Government on digital transformation, through which, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses have taken advantage of opportunities and have found many opportunities in the challenge.
Mr. Nguyen Hung Cuong, Managing Director of NashTech Vietnam
There are great opportunities for foreign businesses in new tech industries such as AI, big data, with more than 50 million Vietnamese already using smartphones. The country ranked 7th in the world in 2019 in terms of application downloads from mobile devices, while mobile payments increased rapidly. Mr. Nguyen Hung Cuong, CEO of NashTech Vietnam, said: “The market is ripe for foreign investors who want to come to Vietnam to do business."
As a new investor preparing to enter Vietnam, Mr. Ravi Vajpeyi, Director of HCL Vietnam (a subsidiary of a leading software group in India), said: “Vietnam is the right destination for IT investment. The Vietnamese Government and the Ministry of Information and Communications have many policies to attract foreign businesses and investors, and also have a clear strategy for national digital transformation."
Mr. Ravi Vajpeyi, Director of HCL Vietnam, joined the seminar from a quarantine zone in Hanoi.
Before deciding to invest in Vietnam, the Indian group researched the country very carefully, with the desire to turn Vietnam into a center in the Southeast Asian region, serving global customers.
“Competition in the IT industry is quite fierce, but I believe that with Vietnam's IT industry growth, the growth of domestic businesses also gives advantages for foreign businesses because they can find suitable partners for investment activities. We are not concerned about the competition of Vietnamese enterprises, but we have been cautious when making investment decisions in Vietnam,” said Mr. Ravi Vajpeyi.
Mr. Dennis Brunetti, President of Ericsson Vietnam - Myanmar - Cambodia and Laos at the seminar.
Witnessing Vietnam's miraculous growth over the past time, Mr. Dennis Brunetti, President of Ericsson Vietnam - Myanmar - Cambodia and Laos, did not hide his pride when noting that Ericsson has been present in Vietnam since 1993 and has actively joined hands with local partners to develop telecommunications networks from 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G in the country.
“We look forward to working with international manufacturing enterprises in Vietnam, contributing to digital transformation, making Vietnam an attractive destination for manufacturing hubs. In addition, the development of telecommunications infrastructure will help Vietnam develop sustainably, confidently participate in the global market, attract more foreign investment, and become an attractive investment destination,” said Mr. Brunetti.
Mr. Thieu Phuong Nam, General Director of Qualcomm Vietnam - Laos and Cambodia
Mr. Thieu Phuong Nam, General Director of Qualcomm Vietnam - Laos and Cambodia, recommended that Vietnam go up in the global value chain. Nam pledged that in the coming time, Qualcomm Vietnam will continue to expand investment in research and development (R&D), strengthen cooperation, support, and share original technology, technology copyrights, and technology platforms to help Vietnamese enterprises, especially startups, strengthen capacity and bring "Make in Vietnam" products to the world market.
Seeking new competitive advantages
The world is entering a new stage of growth, mainly based on innovation and new technology. Previous advantages such as cheap labor will fade away. Countries must create new competitive advantages such as sand box pilot mechanisms, investment in high quality human resources...
Mr. Aurélien Palasse, Director of Ubisoft Vietnam, joins the seminar from Da Nang.
Suggesting a new advantage for the Vietnamese market, Mr. Aurélien Palasse, Director of Ubisoft Vietnam, said: "Vietnam has recently experienced strong growth in digital content, especially content on mobile devices. In the near future, when e-commerce continues to boom, the combination of e-commerce with digital content will be further strengthened. If it does well in developing digital content on e-commerce platforms, the Vietnamese market will grow stronger."
According to the President of Ericsson Vietnam - Myanmar - Cambodia and Laos, in the future, Vietnam must enhance innovation, apply advanced technology such as 5G, IoT ... to create a competitive advantage. Up to 70% of manual jobs in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and manufacturing will be replaced by machines. Therefore, new jobs must be found. This is the mission of the Education and Training sector to focus on developing more creative skills for students in general schools and universities.
Speakers attend the seminar online via an internet connection.
The Managing Director of NashTech Vietnam acknowledged the working speed and the attitude of Vietnamese government agencies, which have an open approach to feedback and suggestions from businesses. This will be one of the advantages to attract foreign investors to come to Vietnam.
Regarding this issue, Deputy Director of the Department of Information Technology Do Cong Anh shared the view of the Vietnamese Government to consider institutions and technology as the driving force for digital transformation, in which institutions must go first if they can. Vietnam will adopt a new management method with newly arisen relationships, with new business models. There will gradually be a culture of experimenting with the new. The experiment is strictly controlled when the legal corridor is not ready.
Mr. Do Cong Anh
“It is our mission and each industry to create a legal corridor to allow testing of new models in our field. At the same time we will review documents to be ready to receive new models, new technologies, to make use of its efficiency and good impacts on society,” Mr. Cong Anh said.
Ms. Do Thi Quynh Tram, Deputy Director of the Investment Promotion Department of the Da Nang People's Committee.
Ms. Do Thi Quynh Tram, Deputy Director of the Investment Promotion Department of Da Nang People's Committee (from the city that is emerging as a Silicon Valley in Southeast Asia as well as Asia) affirmed: "Da Nang is taking active steps in the wave of digital technology investment in Vietnam. Da Nang authorities have tried to continuously update documents from central to local level, promptly adjusted policies to support businesses, to soon become a technology city, actively contributing to the journey of digital technology development of Vietnam. If a business is really capable and decides to expand its investment, the local government is very respectful and willing to support as much as possible."
Now or never
At this seminar, government officials and businesses gave many opinions to answer the question "Is now a good time to invest in Vietnam?" All agreed with the view that now is the golden time to invest in the country.
Mr. Nguyen Thanh Tuyen emphasized that Vietnam is "the ideal destination to choose today" when it is a bright star in the gloomy context of the Covid-19 epidemic globally. Foreign investors and organizations praised Vietnam as the top destination for investment in general and digital technology investment in particular.
Vietnam has many attractive points: the Government has issued many preferential policies, considering digital technology, ICT as a high-tech field in need of development; stable political system; competitive prices; and good infrastructure, with many information technology parks, high-tech zones for investors to choose from...
Vietnam has joined many new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs) such as CPTPP, EVFTA ... Investors will have opportunities to access huge markets if they invest in Vietnam.
Speakers attend the seminar in Hanoi.
Mr. Nguyen Hung Cuong also affirmed that this is a very suitable time for foreign investors to come to Vietnam. In the past, banks invested heavily in IT projects. But now even small businesses are ready to invest in IT. Recently, there was a small business investing in a $1 million project to build a B2C connection platform.
Citing an international forecast that with a population of 100 million, a very large young population (about 70% under 50 years old), Vietnam's GDP can surpass Malaysia and the Philippines this year, Mr. Cuong recommended that the sooner foreign investors come to Vietnam, the better for them because "this time is the golden time, now or never".
The leader of Ericsson Vietnam expressed his high confidence: "Not just a matter of now or never but 'now and forever'. Vietnam in the long-term future will be a great destination for investors for its political stability, long-term vision, improved annual business performance ... We look forward to continuing to contribute to making Vietnam one of the best destinations, if not the best investment destination, in the world."
In order for foreign investors' activities in Vietnam to flourish and reap "good harvest”, the Managing Director of NashTech Vietnam suggested that Vietnam should strengthen its communication channels, sharing information with investors outside Vietnam. In fact, many investors want to learn about the investment environment in Vietnam but have not had information sources yet. Let investors see, understand and believe that the business environment is an important condition for Vietnam to attract more investment resources from abroad.
Based on practical experience of Qualcommn Vietnam, as it took this group two years to recruit a sufficient number of IT engineers in Vietnam, Mr. Thieu Phuong Nam, General Director of Qualcomm Vietnam - Laos and Cambodia, expressed his wish that Vietnam should increase its high-quality human resources to meet the rapidly increasing demand, especially mobile engineers, human resources with camera image processing skills, IoT, AI, machine learning ... and many other new fields.
Mr. Houlin Zhao - Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) - said Vietnam is a shining example of IT development.