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How the COVID-19 pandemic fostered digital transformation in Vietnam

Although the COVID-19 epidemic has had a significant negative impact on socio-economic operations, several countries have digitalised economic, commercial, educational, cultural, administrative, and transportation activities on a national level. In Vietnam, tech companies have quickly adapted and responded effectively to the global lockdown.

Vietnam has witnessed significant progress in the development of tech businesses since the Make-in-Vietnam strategy was implemented. After a year, more than 13,000 digital tech enterprises have been established, up 28%. Vietnam’s digital tech business community currently has over 58,000 companies – a record number, as at first, the project was expected to see only 6,000 enterprises a year at its peak.

According to a news report, with the current implementation speed, the set target of 100,000 digital businesses by 2030 can be achieved by 2025. According to the Minister of Information and Communications (MIC), Make-in-Vietnam is an action slogan and promotes the idea of independence in production and manufacturing, an alternative to simply outsourcing or assembling products.

A few of the locally-developed solutions that were created during the pandemic include Ncovi, Bluezone, CoMeet, learning platforms, remote medical consulting, and remote accounting and management platforms for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

The Minister also emphasised the importance of technology in the fight against COVID-19 and explained that the country’s strategy in the future is to build a digital Vietnam. Therefore, Make-in-Vietnam needs a long-term vision and appropriate strategies for each stage. 2021 is expected to be a year of strong development in Vietnamese technologies.

The Bluezone mobile app, designed to protect the community against COVID-19, was officially launched by the MIC and the Ministry of Health in April. It was considered a breakthrough in the use of technology to prevent and fight the epidemic at that time. The app is a solution that applies Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) positioning technology. Smartphones with Bluezone can communicate with each other up to a distance of two metres, recording close contact with other users. This is the ultimate technology for controlling contact tracing. When detecting a positive case (F0) for COVID-19, instead of quarantining thousands of people, only a few dozen people need to be isolated.

Last June, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc signed Decision No. 749 approving the “National Digital Transformation Programme by 2025, with a vision to 2030”. Its target is to turn Vietnam into a digital country by 2030, with stable and prosperous development and pioneering the testing of new technologies and models. The scheme plans to renovate government management and administration as well as production and business activities and the living and working of the people while developing a large-scale, safe, and humane digital environment.

The national digital conversion programme also aims to develop a digital government, economy, and society as well as integrate Vietnamese digital enterprises into the international arena with several basic specific indicators.

According to experts, digital and tech enterprises are responsible for building the foundation as well as leading the national digital transformation process. Currently, domestic tech giants and ICT corporations like VNPT, Viettel, FPT, CMC, and VNG are actively participating in the process of building platforms and digital conversion ecosystems in Vietnam. During 2020, the role of Vietnamese tech enterprises has been further promoted, especially through programmes for tech enterprises and Make-in-Vietnam products launched by MIC.

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