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Resolution 29-NQ/TW clearly stipulates that Vietnam needs to pay high attention to heightening the self-control capability in input materials, technology, production and markets; improve creativity and design; develop industries utilizing high technologies which bring high added value, and industries with low carbon emissions; and encourage enterprises to make investments to renovate, absorb and master newest technologies, especially core and source technologies.

Though Vietnam’s innovation index has improved in recent years, the fundamental factors are still at a low level.

In GII 2022 (Global Innovation Index) report, Vietnam ranked 48th out of 132 surveyed countries (it ranked 44th in 2021), but a number of component indicators have not improved. Vietnam ranked 90th in higher education, and 113rd in ecological sustainability index, falling by 18 grades compared with 2021. 

In terms of knowledgeable worker index, Vietnam ranked 68th, or two graders lower than 2021. The ratios of ICT imports and exports to total trade transaction value has not  improved, while it continued declining in the 2022 report (120th and 130th, respectively).

Meanwhile, the total expenditures on research and development of the state-owned and private sectors were low, just 0.53 percent of the 2019 GDP. The index was much lower than the world’s average level of 1.7 percent, and the levels of other regional countries, including Thailand (0.8 percent), Malaysia, 1.4 percent and China, 2.1 percent. 

Vietnam is also weak at creative capacity. The number of Vietnam patents granted by prestigious world agencies is only 1/3 of Thailand, 1/11 of Malaysia, 1/3170 of China, while the number of patents per 1 million people is 0.21, ranking 91st among 141 countries. In 20 years (2011-2020), the number of patents granted to Vietnamese people accounted for only 4.62 percent of the total.

Vietnamese digital technology firms have a low level of investment in science and technology development for innovation compared to international enterprises. The enterprises’ funds for science and technology development only accounts for 2 percent of their total profits, not enough to create a breakthrough in technology and innovation. Meanwhile, there exist big problems in the use of this fund which is not suited to research activities and venture investment in technology.

Experts believe that Vietnam now needs to pay more attention to resources to develop fundamental industries in order to build a strong and modern national industry. This will allow Vietnam to join deeper into the global industrial value chain and ensure self-reliance capability in means of production.

Hoang Lan