Taking the lead in the digitalised revolution

June 03, 2021 | 08:00
Vietnam is expected to announce a number of new important moves to make the next steps in the national digital transformation journey. Nguyen Manh Hung, Minister of Information and Communications, writes about the key digital transformation initiatives to enable strong and sustainable growth in the long term, and the new approaches to realise them.

This year marks the first in implementing Vietnam’s 5-year goal of moving up from being a low-average income country, and is also the first of the country’s 10-year strategy of becoming a high-average income nation, as well as the first of its quarter-century aspiration of developing into a developed country with high income.

1546 p11 taking the lead in the digitalised revolution
Nguyen Manh Hung, Minister of Information and Communications

For the information and communications industry, 2021 is the start of implementing crucial national strategies, including those on digital infrastructure, developing digital technology enterprises, digital government, digital postal services, digital economy and society, national cybersecurity, and many more. These strategies aim to improve the national ranking, thus enabling the country to develop faster and more sustainably.

In the digital infrastructure strategy, the focus is on 5G, the cloud, and essential platforms. Technology and infrastructure will be supplied under the form of services in which each citizen can have one smart phone and each household can enjoy optical fibre internet services. The country targets that its digital infrastructure strategy will be ranked in the top 30 worldwide before 2025.

Therefore, cooperation and infrastructure sharing among digital infrastructure businesses is important, especially in 5G rollout via domestic roaming. As digital infrastructure is the required for digital economy development, Vietnam should master the relevant equipment.

In postal infrastructure, the focus will be on delivery infrastructure to households, a Vpostcode postal address code, an e-commerce platform for farm households and individual businesses, and digitalisation of all postal business activities and services.

In the strategy for developing digital technology enterprises, the spirit of “Make in Vietnam” is key; transforming Vietnam into a digital nation, dealing with national tech problems; and developing digital platforms. The country aims to have 100,000 digital technology enterprises by 2025.

Elsewhere, the aim is to transform all government activities into a digital environment and then change the way the government performs based on databases and digital tech. The focus in the digital economy strategy, meanwhile, is 20-25 per cent annual growth, tripling GDP growth, with a vision towards the goal of accounting for 20 per cent of GDP by 2025 and over 30 per cent by 2030.

In addition, the concentration in the digital society strategy is to prompt locals to use digital platforms in their jobs and daily lives, thus improving their digital capacity and information security skills.

As for national cybersecurity, the country aims to develop an ecosystem of safe products ensuring cybersecurity to protect Vietnam’s development and prosperity.

If there is a common phrase for all strategies, this should be digital transformation. The focus of the information and communications industry in the next 5-10 years and beyond is digital transformation, and the ministry is even proposing that the government changes its name to more truly reflect its functions and tasks in the new development era.

There are some approaches and breakthrough solutions to realise the aforementioned strategies. First is guiding standpoints – Vietnam must pioneer in ICT and digital technology. The ministry focuses on the regulations, visions, strategies, and plans; checking and amending the regulations to avoid overlapping and contradiction while removing the barriers to development.

ICT, digital technology, and digital transformation all should take the lead from the very beginning, and not move in succession.

Next there should be a focusing on the domestic market to bring up and develop technology and businesses. Also, changing regulations towards accepting new things and boosting new applications to create markets for new things is required – thus attracting new technologies, talents, and global investment as well as developing new technologies and products. This would include developing special zones for cyberspace innovations.

Platforms can be utilised as a solution to accelerate digital transformation, as well as save costs and reduce prices. A strong market should go with a powerful state. The market is strong in the short term, and the state is powerful in the long term with longer visions. The state budget for sci-tech should focus more on research and studies of platform technology, especially long-term ones.

In addition, the state can push forward digital transformation by spending at least 1 per cent of the state budget on digital transformation, while government procurement gives priority to digital technology products.

Finally, human resources training for digital transformation needs to be mainly carried out via universities and massive open online courses. It should involve advanced training, retraining in new skills, and life-long training.

By Nguyen Manh Hung, Minister of Information and Communications

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional