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HCM City to foster ICT development

Ho Chi Minh City will continue to promote the development of information and communications technology (ICT) to develop into an innovative smart city and improve living conditions, authorities have said.

The city has for many years spearheaded the country’s economic development, contributing 24 percent of its GDP, 18 percent of industrial production and 16 percent of exports.

However, it has faced many challenges such as unsustainability of economic growth and rapid population growth.

Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said: “Transformation of the growth model with a focus on innovation and advanced technologies is imperative to ensure the city’s development and maintain its leading economic role in the country.

“The rapid development of technologies during the fourth industrial revolution with technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence and the internet of things offers a great opportunity for the city to carry out its plans to become a smart city.

“This is also the basis for the effective implementation of seven breakthrough programmes to fundamentally address the city’s current challenges and orient its future development.”

The city in collaboration with the World Bank organised a conference on domestic and international experiences in AI research and application last September, which made recommendations for building the foundation for an AI application eco-system in 2019-25.

AI would create the foundation for the smart city, he said.

Becoming a smart and innovative city would create a large market, offering motivation to IT firms to undertake research and development to supply advanced technology solutions, he said.

This would also help attract investment, creating added value for the economy and promoting the rapid and sustainable development of the city, he added.

According to Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan, the city began to focus very early on information and communications technology.

It has built the very successful Quang Trung Software City, the largest software park in the country with 165 businesses and more than 11,000 IT engineers and other workers, he said.

“HCM City is the only place in the country that manufactures integrated circuits.”

He said labour productivity in the ICT sector was almost double the city’s average, and the sector contributed 4.44 percent to the city’s economy and nearly became its key economic sector.

“Recently the city decided to create an innovative start-up area to offer the best conditions to start-ups, and so choosing HCM City to develop IT is the right option for businesses,” he said.

According to the city Department of Information and Communications, there are more than 5,600 electronics and IT businesses in the city, or around 3 percent of all enterprises.

Le Quoc Cuong, the department’s deputy director, said the electronics-IT sector has achieved high growth rates in recent years, higher than the average rate of the four industries designated as key by the city.

With the Government targeting to boost digital economic development, the sector has much potential for development, he said.

To enable electronics and IT to become the city’s key economic sectors, he said local authorities should urge the Government to create a legal system that suits modern businesses.

Phi Anh Tuan, Vice Chairman of the HCM City Computer Association, said the city should develop appropriate policies for the development of IT firms, create conditions for small and medium-sized enterprises to supply IT application services to the public sector and support start-ups, especially those using new technologies.

Nhan said the development of the IT sector is very important, and relevant agencies should find ways to increase the number of businesses in the sector./.VNA

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