A destination of innovation in the new era

December 30, 2020 | 08:00
The pandemic has accelerated trends in high-tech startups, digital transformation, and innovation, with demands for a digital economy and innovation ecosystem deemed more essential than ever.
a destination of innovation in the new era
A destination of innovation in the new era

Innovation has been a keyword in the country for several years and confirmed in the national development strategy, with Vietnam now said to be a promising country in which to boost innovation and develop startups.

“While Vietnam had only around 400 startups in 2012, the figure skyrocketed to 3,000 in 2019 covering areas such as technology, e-commerce, education, agriculture, fintech, health, and tourism,” said Tran Tho Dat, president of the National Economics University.

The Cisco 2020 Asia-Pacific Digital Maturity Study on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) reaffirmed that 72 per cent of such enterprises recognise the tougher competition and importance of keeping up with the pace of digital transformation, a significantly high rate compared to the 32 per cent in the previous year.

Luong Thi Le Thuy, managing director of Cisco Vietnam, said that the digitalisation of SMEs in Vietnam could bring a huge benefit to their business and the country, possibly adding $24-30 billion to the country’s GDP by 2024 and contributing to economic recovery post-pandemic.

“SMEs that are more digitally mature enjoy twice as many benefits in terms of revenue and productivity compared to those that have an indifferent approach to digitalisation,” Thuy said. “Developing a national innovation and startup ecosystem is therefore necessary.”

As the marcoeconomic advisor of the government, as well as the agency initiating the Vietnam Innovation Network which calls for hundreds of overseas Vietnamese talents to return to the country, the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) is making the necessary moves to build an innovation ecosystem.

On January 9-10 the Vietnam International Innovation Expo 2021 will be held at Hanoi’s Hoa Lac Hi-tech Park. “In line with the Politburo’s Resolution No.52-NQ/TW on actively participating in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the expo held by the MPI will highlight the leading position of businesses, especially local and foreign-invested technology players in the innovation ecosystem,” Vu Quoc Huy, deputy director of the National Innovation Centre (NIC) told VIR.

The expo also demonstrates the constructive role of the government in linking and connecting actors to innovate the growth model by improving productivity and promoting innovation.

“This can boost Vietnam for the 4.0 era, as well as the role of the MPI as a pioneer in attracting investment resources for innovation and promoting supply chain connectivity for Vietnamese firms,” said Huy.

Another important activity along with the expo is the ground-breaking ceremony of the NIC building at the Hoa Lac Hi-tech Park.

“The NIC is a strong determination of the government to exercise the direction of Resolution 52 to develop an innovation ecosystem,” emphasised Huy.

The NIC’s total investment is estimated at VND754 billion ($32.8 million) across an area of 36,800 square metres, dividied into six areas: integrated service centre; working space for large domestic and foreign technology companies; coworking spaces for venture capital funds and innovative businesses; laboratory and prototype-manufacturing workshop; and event centre, exhibition, and showroom area.

“Additionally, in order to perfect the management model and easily connect to universities, institutes, talents, and companies, the NIC will have an office in Hanoi city centre,” added Huy.

Gathering 150 companies and corporations, the Vietnam International Innovation Expo 2021 will present, introduce, and display tech products and innovative new angles to lend to cooperative opportunities. There will also be a student-led STEAM festival.

At the expo, technology products and solutions will focus on the five sectors of smart city, smart manufacturing, cybersecurities, digital transformation, and agricultural and environmental technology, which are expected to generate multi-dimensional connectivity and development prospects.

By Minh Vu

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