|Hoang Viet Tien, Deputy Secretary General of the Vietnam Internet Association, says Vietnam's infrastructure is ready for digital transformation.
Reporter: How important is the digital transformation for Vietnam?
Mr. Tien: Digital transformation is vital to the Vietnamese economy. The Government is determined to build an e-Government in the next few years with a focus on digital economic development tied to international integration and the 4th Industrial Revolution. Vietnam’s infrastructure is sufficient now for national digital development. It’s been more than 20 years since the Internet first came to Vietnam, and we have now basically completed connecting the document management systems of ministries, sectors, localities, and the Government office. Vietnam ranks 6th in ASEAN and has moved up 10 places in the UN’s assessment for digital transformation or e-Government.
Vietnam’s digital economy was worth 14 billion USD last year, a year-on-year increase of 16%, and will likely reach 30 billion USD this year. We have targeted having 100,000 digital technology companies by 2030.
Reporter: How has Vietnam progressed in digital transformation?
Mr. Tien: Our digital transformation has been growing extremely rapidly, particularly during the recent COVID-19 outbreak. The epidemic is a challenge but offers many opportunities, forcing us to change in several industries. Banking, e-commerce, and logistics – for example – are areas which had to be digitized during the COVID period. It has become vital to the existence of many enterprises. Compared to other countries in ASEAN, Asia, and Europe, we can confidently say that Vietnam is transforming very quickly, partly because of COVID-19.
Reporter: How prepared is Vietnam’s infrastructure for the digital transformation?
Mr. Tien: One of our biggest advantages is that our 4G and 5G platforms are ready to serve the digital transformation process. And our managers, administrators, CEOs, and presidents of corporations are all aware of the urgent need to invest in the infrastructure.
Reporter: What do you think of the Government’s readiness to participate in the transformation?
Mr. Tien: The Government has promulgated decrees and circulars to support SMEs in digital transformation. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the Ministry of Information and Communication have organized training programs for SMEs.
Decree 91 on fighting spam SMS, calls, and messages is one of several legal documents supporting businesses in digital space. The Ministry of Industry and Trade has launched Online Friday, a.k.a. Black Friday, to help businesses change offline to online sales. These are steps the policy regulators have taken to support SMEs in the period.
Reporter: If digital transformation is vital for all sectors in Vietnam, what needs to be done to move forward in the transformation process?
Mr. Tien: ASEAN, and Vietnam in particular, in order to transform successfully, should focus on end-users, not enterprises or governments. The key now is to sell customers what they need, not what we have.
To complete the transformation process, we must go through a period known as market training and market orientation. This is very important.
To take a very simple example, 20 years ago the Internet was something exotic for most Vietnamese. Now digital bank payments and digital wallets are becoming more common. The Government recently piloted a mobile money app which allows you to use your mobile phone credit to pay for low-cost goods and services. The question is whether or not the market has been trained yet. I can say with some certainty that only people in major cities are even aware of the issue. In order to make digital transformation a success, we have to train the market and understand the market in both urban and rural areas.
Reporter: It’s obvious there are many things Vietnam must do to achieve a digital transformation that everybody, urban or rural, can understand and use. We’ll explore this in future editions of “Digital life”. Thank you, Mr. Hoang Viet Tien, Deputy Secretary General of the Vietnam Internet Association, for granting VOV this interview.