The conference, with the theme Vietnam’s Innovation and Digital Roadmap to the Future, was held in Ho Chi Minh City from November 30 to December 1.
Organised by VBEx Asia LLP in cooperation with the Research and Innovation Consulting Hub, the Vietnam Digital Communication Association, and the Association of Telecommunications Industry of Singapore, the VBEx Conference received industry endorsements from the Saigon Construction and Building Materials Association and the Vietnam Smart City Consortium.
The event was partnered with the 15th M&A Forum organised by Vietnam Investment Review under the Ministry of Planning and Investment of Vietnam on November 28.
Speaking at the opening session, Singaporean ambassador to Vietnam Jaya Ratnam said that as Vietnam prioritises innovation to drive economic growth as it makes its transition towards a net-zero future, there is much scope for both sides to exchange experiences and work together, especially in the emerging areas of the green and digital economies.
“It is for this reason that Singapore and Vietnam launched our Green and Digital Partnership earlier this year, where we seek to draw our economies even closer, better supporting each other and taking advantage of the opportunities in these key drivers of our future growth and prosperity,” said Ratnam.
The ambassador further stressed that by working with friends and partners in Vietnam and Singapore, both sides can plug into the global network and seize many new opportunities, not just regionally, but around the world.
The Singaporean organisers of the VBEx Conference have decided to anchor the flagship event in Ho Chi Minh City for 2024, designed to attract the Singaporean and ASEAN business community to support the development of Ho Chi Minh City as a regional business and financial hub.
VBEx Asia was founded by Singaporean industry veterans George Choo, president of the Association of Telecommunication Technologies Industries of Singapore, and Shanmuga Retnam, executive co-chairman of the Vietnam Smart City Consortium.
VBEx aims to act as a bridge between the Vietnamese and Singaporean business communities while promoting cooperation and innovation in important areas such as technology, environmental, social, and governance initiatives, and fintech.
|George Choo, president of the Association of Telecommunication Industries of Singapore
Choo feels that in terms of innovation and digital advancement, Vietnam’s policies are okay. However, the country should focus much more on implementation timelines. Vietnam also must have a clear and detailed map for every year that covers every phase.
"The country has a huge gap between cities and provinces, and therefore you have to closely look at it from the central level down, with a systemised route for every sector. I think Vietnam’s ten main cities and provinces, such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Nha Trang, Haiphong, Danang and others, have a high capacity for innovation and digitalisation while the last on the list, of course, are at a very low level," he said.
"Vietnam must narrow the gap and not let the top ten leave the others too far behind. In addition, every province and city must focus on implementation, monitoring and reviewing progress regularly, so activities can be revised accordingly. Clearly, we cannot avoid all problems, but we must know how to face, recognise, and solve them in the most appropriate way."
"The nation is stepping into innovation and digitalisation later than many other countries. Therefore, researching other formats and choosing the most suitable practices to apply is a beneficial approach. They can be combined to find an ideal format for Vietnam. However, human capital remains a big challenge, so upgrading the country's human resources is a key factor," concluded Choo.
|Shanmuga Retnam, executive co-chairman of the Vietnam Smart City Consortium
Retnam stated, "I see Vietnam is in a very advantageous position presently, and it must seize the moment because the global community is looking at the nation to support the acceleration of economic development not only here but across the entire ASEAN region."
"If I take the perspective of Singapore, we can see that its future economic trajectory is evident. By accelerating its economic and digital integration with Vietnam, particularly in the current global context, Vietnam and Singapore have deepened and strengthened their relationship. This will help create a business platform that will further allow Vietnam to plug into the ASEAN economic corridor."
"This will drive a lot more business-oriented activities. Different business associations and chambers have the opportunity to help Vietnam enhance its position both regionally and globally. The country can also exchange its initiatives with others because they are also the centre of innovation and sustainability in ASEAN."
"The government has to continue to look at transforming, enhancing, and creating a more business-friendly environment. It should also focus on accelerating growth in the private sector. It is performing very well now, but it needs to be upgraded moving forward," said Retnam.
|Regional event platform to accelerate business between Vietnam and ASEAN markets
On November 20, Singapore-based VBEX Asia launched Vietnam Business Exchange (VBEx) Conference 2023 to accelerate business integration between Vietnam and Singapore with larger ASEAN markets.