The current global landscape gives Vietnam’s ICT industry a unique chance to reposition itself and realize its new mission of making Vietnam into a tech-driven nation, Information and Communications Minister Nguyen Manh Hung said at a conference Tuesday morning.
If Vietnam’s ICT industry continues to assemble and outsource for other countries, the sector will remain the same. But if Vietnam developes domestic digital technology firms, possesses its own technology, it would grow and the sector could go on to “conquer the world”, Hung added.
Based on the ministry’s estimates, indigenization of ICT production could result in the industry growing at a rate two to four times that of national GDP, helping Vietnam become a developed country with high income by 2045, Hung said.
The telecommunications sector, in addition to being a communications infrastructure, must also become an infrastructure for business production of the digital economy, providing technology and services for product creators, he added.
Information and Communications Minister Nguyen Manh Hung at a conference in Hanoi on January 12, 2021. Photo by Le Son.
As a latecomer to the global IT industry, Vietnam’s telecommunications sector needs to achieve breakthroughs in comprehensive development, set high goals and achieve them quickly instead of trying for gradual change. Technology must be cheaper and accessible for the poorest people, and allow small businesses to access global markets, Hung said.
Since the Ministry of Information and Communications declared its “Make in Vietnam” initiative, aiming to boost ICT industry growth and orient it to indigenize production in May 2019, the number of digital technology businesses has increased by 28 percent, reaching nearly 60,000.
Between 2016 and 2019, Vietnam rose to become one of the world’s leading countries in the production of ICT hardware and electronics, and by the end of 2019, had ranked second globally in production of phones and components, and tenth in manufacturing electronics and components, Hung said.
These are also two of the top 10 main export products of Vietnam, making the ICT industry the largest export and trade surplus sector of the economy. In 2019, the export surplus in the hardware and electronics field is estimated at $28 billion, he added.
Vietnam aims to overcome its low-middle income status in the next five years, take another 10 years to reach high-middle income status, and another 25 to become a developed, high income, socialist oriented country.
“The way to achieve this goal is through science and technology, innovation, Industry 4.0, and digital transformation,” the minister said.
According to the latest official figures, in 2019, Vietnam’s IT industry earned revenues of $112 billion, up 9.8 percent year-on-year, and contributed nearly VND53 trillion ($2.3 billion) to the state budget.