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Vietnam’s Digital Ambitions and ICT Strategy

Vietnam Digital Ambitions and ICT Strategy

Over the past few years, the information and communications technology (ICT) sector has continued to be one of the most important economic and technical sectors in the country.

According to a report by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), the sector’s revenue recorded US$112 billion in 2019, a year-on-year increase of 9.1%. The sector also contributed nearly VN 54 trillion (about US $2.3 billion) to the state budget and created jobs for over one million workers.

The country’s telecom industry also witnessed strong growth last year, although traditional services became saturated. The revenue of the telecom sector in 2019 was VN 470 trillion (about US $20.2 billion), an increase of 19% compared with 2018.

ICT commodities, such as mobile phones, computers, hardware, and electronic items, continued to rank among the top ten major export products for the country. This brought the whole sector’s trade surplus to around US$ 28 billion.

However, the revenue from foreign investment enterprises accounted for 98% of the sector’s total export revenue. Meanwhile, there have barely been any electronic products that were designed and made in Vietnam.

The digital content industry gained a modest revenue of around US$ 850 million, of which export revenue accounted for nearly 93%. This is because Vietnam enterprises have not yet capitalised on the domestic market, which was completely dominated by large cross-border platforms such as Facebook and Google.

Under the ICT development strategy, ICT is expected to become a key economic sector that has a high turnover, large production value, lead in exports, and contributed greatly to the country’s GDP.

Accordingly, enterprises should proactively master technologies in manufacturing IT products and solutions, electronics and important telecommunications equipment, to serve the country.

Additionally, the ICT industry should ensure the provision of digital products and solutions for digital transformation, development, and the implementation of the fourth industrial revolution, towards developing Vietnam into a major exporter of software and information technology services around the world.

The strategy also set out some specific target numbers, including US$ 120 billion of the export turnover of the ICT industry by 2025.

Furthermore, it is essential to increase the number of IT enterprises to 50,000 and ICT workers with prodigious skills and knowledge to 1.3 million.

Experts have said that to reach these targets, it is necessary to develop policies and mechanisms to encourage ICT enterprises to strengthen solutions and products that meet major orientations.

The relevant agencies should incite motivation for the development of IT enterprises, especially those that will focus on studying and making core technologies.

On the other hand, lawmakers should amend and supplement preferential tax policies for the ICT industry, notably software. The government needs to develop incentive policies for the investment in association with technology transfer and the training of high-quality human resources while formulating priority policies to support the hardware industry.

Regulations on the procurement of IT products to move from priority to preference need to be built. International cooperation, trade promotion, and market access undertakings should be enhanced to widely promote Vietnam’s ICT products around the world.

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