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Vietnam Goal of Building a Digital Economy

In the report titled "Vietnam's Future Digital Economy: Toward 2030 and 2045," the four scenarios offer a blueprint for policymakers

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digital economy, vietnam
Nano and other smart technology are increasingly common in TVs in Vietnam, which hopes to make tech a bigger part of its economy. (Ha Nguyen for VOA)

Nations racing to develop 5G technology that is fast enough to power the next stage of innovation range from South Korea to Finland, but a young contender wants to jump into the game: Vietnam.

The Southeast Asian country announced with much fanfare this month that a test of fifth generation telecommunications technology, in the form of a phone call, was successful. The call to test 5G matters, not just for the internet, but for Vietnam’s goal of building a digital economy.

That future economy could be filled with deliveries by drone, machine learning to detect cyber attacks, and digital health records — or the economy could stick to traditional businesses like agriculture and tourism, as a new government report lays out.

vietnam, digital economy
If Vietnam does not move quickly enough to embrace a digital economy, it will continue to rely on traditional sectors like agricultural products, a new report says. (Ha Nguyen for VOA)

Vietnam’s Ministry of Science and Technology jointly launched a report on the digital economy with its Australian counterpart Wednesday, laying out four possible scenarios. Each scenario is at a different level of digitalization, depending on how thoroughly Vietnam adopts new technology.

“I request industries and provinces to improve their awareness of, and responsibility in, steering the science and technology development, and continue to strengthen the relevant legal and policy framework,” Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said in a speech.

“It is critical to focus on the development of the national innovation system,” he added, “putting the businesses at the heart of this system while promoting the linkages among research institutes, universities, and businesses to create and accumulate intellectual assets to fuel economic development in a rapid, inclusive, and sustainable manner.”

In the report titled “Vietnam’s Future Digital Economy: Toward 2030 and 2045,” the four scenarios offer a blueprint for policymakers.

vietnam, digital economy
Traditional video games are getting a tech upgrade, with major Vietnamese startup VNG working on virtual reality gaming. (Ha Nguyen for VOA)

In the first option, the country reaches its full technological potential in the next two decades, with smart cities, high productivity, and high-skilled talent in an economy geared toward services.

In the second scenario, little has changed in that time, with the economy relying on cash and low-wage labor to export farmed goods and natural resources.

Those are the two extremes, while the two remaining scenarios fall somewhere in between, depending on whether Vietnam is more technology consumer or exporter.

“The next wave of digital technologies — artificial intelligence, blockchain, the internet of things, and platforms and cloud-based services — has the potential to transform Vietnam into Asia’s next high-performing economy,” said Lucy Cameron, the lead author of the report. “Vietnam will need to seize these substantial opportunities while carefully navigating a number of risks.” There are signs the digital technology is already catching on in Vietnam.

vietnam, digital economy
FILE – Internet users browse internet near an advertising billboard for 4G connection service at a bus-stop in Hanoi, Vietnam. VOA

Besides the research and development of 5G, companies are using robots in their warehouses, like the country’s largest dairy, Vinamilk, and DB Schenker, a German logistics firm operating in Vietnam. FPT, a domestic electronics business, used artificial intelligence to create a chat bot and made it available to third-party software developers. The gaming startup VNG is introducing virtual reality to its players.

It is not all good news. The rise of ride-hailing apps has been linked to a drop in the use of public transit around the world, and that is happening in Vietnam, too. Local press recently reported a decline in bus use, while the increase of ride hailing has led to clogged city streets.

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Even in a best case scenario, there are four potential drawbacks to an increasingly connected Vietnam, according to the report, which is supported by CSIRO’s Data61, the data and digital specialist arm of Australia’s national science agency. They include more threats to cyber security, higher borrowing to fund infrastructure and technological spending, a shortage of technical talent, and reliance on external companies for products and services. How far Vietnam takes its technological evolution, of course, is up to Vietnam. (VOA)

Next Story

South Korea to Set up the World’s First 5G Autonomous Car Driving Test Bed

While the country already has an operational test bed for autonomous cars in Hwaseong, some 60 kilometers south of the capital city, it is not open to the public, and is restricted for vehicle testing and certifications

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self-driving car
In this Dec. 13, 2016, file photo, a skylight is reflected in the rear window of a Waymo driverless car during a Google event in San Francisco. Google's robotic car spin-off Waymo is poised to become the first to test fully driverless vehicles on California. VOA

South Korea on Thursday said it will set up the world’s first 5G-based autonomous car driving test bed in the capital city as it strives to take the lead in future mobility technology.

The Sangam test bed in western Seoul, to officially open Saturday, will have all the necessary infrastructure, such as a recharging station for electric vehicles (EVs), 3-D detailed maps of the road and a “future mobility center” that will act as the overall control tower, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.

The test bed, to be fully opened to the public and be operated 24 hours a day, will be used to conduct and test so-called Cooperative-Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) services based on 5G network communication, Yonhap news agency reported.

5G is the latest wireless communication network capable of superfast connection speeds, low latency and the ability to connect many devices without the system bogging down. The network, coupled with detailed 3-D images and maps of streets and related software, can make it possible for vehicles to be driven without human input.

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5G to make way in automobile market as well. Pixabay

Asia’s fourth-largest economy was the first country in the world to launch full-fledged 5G services on April 3 and plans to provide coverage to neighborhoods in 85 cities that can benefit 93 per cent of the population by the end of 2019.

The ministry said seven vehicles — four buses and three passenger cars — will be operated on the 1.1-kilometer testing road, and citizens will be allowed to ride in the vehicles so they can see for themselves the ability of self-driving cars to recognise traffic signals, avoid obstacles on the road and ferry people safely from one place to another.

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While the country already has an operational test bed for autonomous cars in Hwaseong, some 60 kilometers south of the capital city, it is not open to the public, and is restricted for vehicle testing and certifications. (IANS)