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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

“China to Lead World in 5G Scale”, Says Qualcomm President

As the mobile ecosystem follows the relationship and the expansion of the Chinese economy through all those different countries, it is likely to be very competitive in the transition to 5G

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5G touches many industries, not only cellphones, but also smart cities, automobiles, healthcare and other sectors. It is now being understood by governments worldwide that 5G is very important and no country including China will benefit from being late to 5G. Pixabay

China will lead the world in the 5G scale and Qualcomm expects to increase business with China in the 5G transition, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon has said.

“China is likely going to have the largest 5G rollout and network,” Amon said on the sidelines of Qualcomm’s annual Snapdragon Tech Summit held this week in Maui, Hawaii.

“The scale in China’s deployment plans makes 5G ubiquitous with nationwide coverage as fast as possible.

“In terms of taking the importance of 5G as the future of Internet, I think China is doing the right thing with an accelerated rollout of this technology,” Amon said, Xinhua news agency has reported.

In June, China granted commercial-use 5G licenses to the country’s top three telecom operators — China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom — as well as China Broadcasting Network. Many Chinese tech companies unveiled their 5G smartphones.

According to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, 5G technology is expected to create more than 8 million jobs by 2030.

“I believe China understood since the very beginning that 5G will be the essential infrastructure to connect to the Internet. And the numbers that the three operators had made public are incredible,” Amon said.

China
China will lead the world in the 5G scale and Qualcomm expects to increase business with China in the 5G transition, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon has said. Pixabay

“If Chinese operators execute their plans, we will see 1 million 5G base stations by the end of 2020. And that is going to build the infrastructure that will not only connect billions of smartphones, but will also multiple billions of other smart devices and industries that will benefit from 5G,” he said.

In his opinion, China regards 5G as fundamental infrastructure for the society, which gives the country the advantage on the scale and the commitment to its deployment.

5G touches many industries, not only cellphones, but also smart cities, automobiles, healthcare and other sectors. It is now being understood by governments worldwide that 5G is very important and no country will benefit from being late to 5G, Amon said.

Unlike the deployment of 3G and 4G networks when China was behind other key markets, the country is now in the forefront of 5G transition with other leading economies, Amon said.

“I believe that is a sign of the maturity of the Chinese economy today,” he noted.

Optimistic about the progress of the Chinese mobile ecosystem, Amon noted that it is very consistent with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

“As the mobile ecosystem follows the relationship and the expansion of the Chinese economy through all those different countries, it is likely to be very competitive in the transition to 5G,” Amon said.

He cited the examples of Chinese tech companies such as Xiaomi, OPPO and OnePlus. Phones of Xiaomi are now in the portfolio of virtually every operator in Europe, while OnePlus is growing in the US, which is traditionally a very difficult market.

“We have now two vibrant companies of China’s ecosystem in the US market, one is OnePlus and the other one is Motorola-Lenovo, with the new Razor being a great innovation in the market,” he said.

China’s mobile ecosystem will take the opportunity of the 5G transition to grow outside the country and establish a very strong position in the markets such as Southeast Asia, Latin America, Eastern and Western Europe and the US, Amon said.

Saying that he is “super excited” about Qualcomm’s business in China, Amon applauded the win-win cooperation between Qualcomm and its Chinese partners, such as Xiaomi, OPPO, OnePlus, Vivo and Motorola.

Amon called the cooperation an example of successful relationship between the two countries, adding that it allows Chinese partners to not only grow in domestic consumption, but also expand outside China with the BRI.

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According to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, 5G technology is expected to create more than 8 million jobs by 2030. Wikimedia Commons

“We are not backing down on our China cooperation. We’re increasing our cooperation in resources towards or partnerships in China in the 5G transition,” he said.

According to Amon, despite the current China-US trade frictions, Qualcomm’s business with China is increasing, rather than decreasing. “I expect that to continue in 2020 and 2021 as we go to this 5G transition,” he said.

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At the summit, Qualcomm unveiled two new 5G Snapdragon mobile platforms — Snapdragon 865 and 765/765G. It also announced the world’s first 5G-supported extended reality platform, modular 5G mobile platforms and new 3D sonic fingerprint technology.

Defining the role of Qualcomm as an enabler of mobile ecosystem and partnerships, Amon said that 5G has unlocked an era of the “Invention Age.” (IANS)