Preparations are underway for the construction of the new HCM City Science and Technology Park, which is expected to become a catalyst for growth in the city's eastern innovation hub. Gia Loc reports.
|After 17 years of development, the Saigon Hi-Tech Park has optimised production procedures and is a leader in industry 4.0. VNA/VNS photo|
HCM City is stepping up preparation activities for the construction of the HCM City Science and Technology Park, which is expected to contribute to the development of the city’s eastern innovation hub covering districts 2, 9 and Thu Duc.
The Science and Technology Park, to be located on nearly 200 hectares near Saigon Hi-Tech Park in District 9, was approved under a decision issed by the municipal People’s Committee (PC) in 2014. Construction on the project, with total capital of more than VND4.3 trillion (US$185 million), is expected to begin next year.
Under the plan, the new Science and Technology Park will be a significant part of the ecosystem of the city's eastern innovation hub.
The new park, whose investor is the Saigon Hi-Tech Park, will connect with educational and research institutes and centres in the area as part of a citywide programme to improve the quality of human resources, especially researchers specialising in new technologies.
Working conditions for scientists and technology experts will be at the highest level at the new park, which is slated to attract projects in robot application, 3D printing, Internet of Things and blockchain, among others, contributing to the development of the innovation hub.
The new park will also serve as a model for the knowledge-based economy, according to Saigon Hi-Tech Park.
|A design project created by students at International University under VNUHCM. VNS/Photo Gia Loc|
To hasten construction of the new park, the Saigon Hi-Tech Park is stepping up ground clearance and compensation to local residents, and has suggested that roads be built to link the two parks.
While Saigon Hi-Tech Park is currently focusing on production of high technologies, the Science and Technology Park will focus on research and contribute to the transformation of the city’s economic structuring toward a higher proportion of hi-tech industries.
Saigon Hi-Tech Park, which is located in District 9, has attracted foreign investment in high technologies over the years. Between 2016 and 2018, the park completed key infrastructure projects, including roads, water waste treatment systems and water supply.
Le Bich Loan, acting head of Saigon Hi-Tech Park’s management board, said that after 17 years of development, the park has optimised production procedures and is a leader in the 4.0 industrial revolution.
The park has provided investment licences to more than 150 projects of large global corporations such as Intel, Sanofi, Samsung, Schneider and others.
The park has also contributed to raising the services and industrial sectors' contributions to the economy, with total value of hi-tech products expected to reach US$20 billion by 2020.
|A 200ha science and technology park will be built in HCM City’s District 9, in nearby Hi-Tech Park. Source: www.planic.org.vn|
Nguyen Thien Nhan, secretary of the HCM City Party Committee, said that the two hi-tech parks would serve as an important anchor for development of the city’s eastern innovation hub, which will form the foundation for the city's smart urban area project.
New eastern hub
“The eastern innovation hub covering districts 2, 9 and Thu Duc with total area of nearly 22,000 ha should be given priority for development first” to create a solid base to turn HCM City into a smart urban area by next year, Nhan told officials at recent meetings.
“The new hub will use advanced technologies and have the best and smartest infrastructure in traffic, telecommunications, healthcare and other fields," he said. "It will also have a modern and quality living environment similar to developed countries."
The city has approved an international design competition for the eastern innovation hub that is expected to attract applicants from companies and organizations from around the world.
Nhan said the new hub, which covers a wide expanse of land near the city’s central area, is expected to attract many investors.
In 2000, when the Saigon Hi-Tech Park and Viet Nam National University-HCM City (VNUHCM) were created, the city planned for the university and park to become important anchors for the development of the eastern innovation hub.
|A lab at the International University under VNUHCM. VNS/Photo Gia Loc|
The hub will serve as a centre for three main functions: scientific and technological research and application; training of high-quality human resources; and production and trade of hi-tech products and services.
VNUHCM in Thu Duc District has six member universities and affiliated units whose tasks are research and technology transfer, and the creation of a dynamic startup ecosystem in information technology that will contribute to the development of the innovation hub.
Huynh Thanh Dat, president of VNUHCM, said: “By 2020, VNUHCM’s Information Technology Park (ITP) is expected to become a dynamic startup ecosystem in the region with 100 entrepreneurs providing 2,000 jobs and 2,000 student internships each year.”
The ITP, which will play a key role in the innovation hub, will set up an added-value chain using high technologies and will have modern technical and social infrastructure meeting global standards. It will also offer financial assistance to enterprises.
Nhan said the eastern innovation hub’s third anchor would be in District 2, where the Thu Thiem new urban area with a large financial centre is being developed.
Nhan has encouraged IT and telecommunication companies to take part in the innovation eastern hub, and has instructed agencies to conduct detailed surveys on human resources to provide important data for the hub.
“The city currently has nearly 80,000 people working in the hi-tech sector, accounting for 1.86 per cent of the city’s total labour force. This proportion is too low,” Nhan said.
Dinh Duc Anh Vu of VNUHCM said that a total of 1 million IT engineers would be needed by 2020 under the country’s master plan on development of IT human resources.
“Like many countries, Vietnam is facing a serious shortage of IT engineers, especially between 2018 and 2022. The sector’s growth potential is very high. To attract foreign investors in this sector, we have to have more qualified staff,” Vu added.
Training quality among lecturers and teachers of educational institutions and other facilities varies greatly, and continues to pose a challenge, he said.
Improving the capacity of lecturers and teachers and upgrading facilities are both urgently needed. Better co-operation between the government, educational institutions and companies is also necessary.
|Students at a member university under VNUHCM. VNS/Photo Gia Loc|
In addition, Vu said that IT teaching and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) programmes at the high school level must be enhanced.
A well-trained workforce in these fields will be indispensable for the city to carry out three large projects: establishing a ecosystem for artificial intelligence (AI) between 2019 and 2025; developing a smart urban area from 2017-2020; and building an eastern innovation hub, he added.
Nguyen Anh Thi, director of VNUHCM’s Information Technology Park, said the role of universities extends beyond training and research, and that universities should have an entrepreneurial mindset.
“They should improve training and research. They need to take part in knowledge application and create an environment for their lecturers to apply research results in startups and help them establish companies to commercialise their research,” he added.
With Resolution 54, which was approved in late 2017 by the National Assembly, the city now has more advantages to develop an innovation hub.
The resolution allows the city to pilot special policies and make certain decisions independent of the central government, which is expected to lead to a better trade environment, as well as improved infrastructure and services to support enterprises.
Under the resolution, the city also has the right to change the land-use purpose of paddy rice fields of more than 10 hectares. Previously, the city was only allowed to change land-use purposes for paddy under 10 ha and had to seek approval from the Prime Minister.
The resolution also gives more freedom to the city to make investment decisions, but authorities must follow the Law on Public Investment.
Under the conditions created by the resolution, the city can now more easily call for capital and investment, as well as set its own policies on assessment methods of staff and their salaries.
During a meeting on April 12, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told the city to apply special policies stipulated under Resolution 54, which allows autonomy in its budget decisions.
Resolution 54 also allows the city to offer higher salaries to attract quality staff at Saigon Hi-Tech Park and other centres and institutes.
Phuc said that HCM City should be a leader in Industry 4.0 and create a smart urban and innovation hub while improving e-government and administrative reform.
Officials at Saigon Hi-Tech Park, however, have noted that salary policies remain inadequate, especially for attracting overseas Vietnamese.
They said that a project to connect parks, universities and enterprises with quality professionals should be created, and that venture capital funds to develop high technologies should be set up, while existing funds for science and technology promotion should prioritise high-tech development.