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SMEs Urged to Embrace Digital Transformation in Vietnam

The COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the process of digital transformation in businesses and has urged companies to consider their own resources and conditions to ensure and increase efficiency, according to a news report. For instance, workers at a construction site in Hanoi use FaceID on their smartphones to register their arrival at work making it faster and more convenient to clock on. In the logistics sector, the application of technology is growing as drivers use their smartphones to track routes and shipments.

A recent study showed that the participation of SMEs in Vietnam in the digital transformation process could contribute US$24-30 billion to the country’s GDP by 2024, and significantly help with post-pandemic recovery. According to the Vietnam Logistics Association, 50%-60% of logistics enterprises are applying technology in their operations. At Sai Gon Newport Corporation, the application of an advanced management system helped reduce the time shipments stayed at the port by 55% and reduce delivery time by 75%.

An industry analyst noted that digital transformation is an inevitable trend of enterprises, especially during the current pandemic. If enterprises were slow in digital transformation, they would face difficulties when competing with others, especially in the rapid international integration. Digital transformation is not simply buying software or technology. Enterprises must pay attention to their resources and conditions to ensure the efficient process of digital transformation.

Under the digital transformation programme during the 2021-25 period, the Ministry of Planning and Investment wants 100% of enterprises to receive training in digital transformation to enhance their digital awareness. Micro and small enterprises, despite accounting for 96.7% of the total number of enterprises in Vietnam, contributed 40% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and provided 60% of jobs. However, due to their limited budgets, they had not benefited much from the digital transformation, the report said.

Digital transformation solution providers often paid more attention to government agencies and medium and large enterprises that had a greater budget and were often located in major cities. Nguyen Van Khoa, CEO of FPT, said that there were about five million household businesses in Vietnam who were also subject to digital transformation at different levels. Statistics have revealed that 50% of SMEs went bankrupt in the first five years and 90% in the next five years, stressing that the competition would be much fiercer in the digital transformation.

Digital transformation is accelerating the transition to a digital economy, which is enabling enterprises to develop platforms to promote their operation and business. It is more convenient for big enterprises to digitally transform because they have their own ecosystems while SMEs do not have a budget to digitise their operations.

The government aims to be in the top 40 performers in the Global Innovation Index (GII), the top 30 in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)’s Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI), and the top 50 in the United Nations’ e-Government Development Index (EGDI) by 2030.

The country also aims to raise the proportion of the digital economy in national GDP to 30% and boost productivity by 7.5% annually on average. Other targets for digital transformation are to achieve universal access to fibre-optic internet and 5G services; complete digital government development; and establish smart cities in key economic zones as well as connect with regional and global networks of smart cities.


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