Category Archives: Vietnam technology

Hosting Asia’s Tech Geeks in Hanoi

Vietnam has been selected to host ASOCIO, the trade organization of 10,000 mostly-Asian information and communication technology companies based in 29 countries.  The event, scheduled in Hanoi for late October, is emblematic of Vietnam’s meteoric rise in technology.

The first time Vietnam hosted the annual convention, 11 years ago, the industry barely existed in the country.  In 2003, less than 5% of Vietnamese people had access to the Internet.

Since then, Internet usage has grown to 35%, and Vietnam’s hardware and software industries are experiencing annual growth rates in the 30% to 40% range.

ASOCIO says the organization chose Vietnam because of its rapidly rising capacity and prestige in information and communications technology — and cited Vietnam’s vision, policies and strategies.  Vietnam is positioning itself to become a major global tech center.

The Race to Satisfy Vietnam’s Hi Tech Hunger

Vietnam’s science ministry reports four technology exchanges accounted for 5,482 service and equipment transactions worth $129 million last year — 34% more than a previous year, and far exceeding expectations.

In Haiphong alone, 40,000 people exchanged scientific views and searched for  technologies.  The Danang exchange has recorded 5,321 domestic businesses and 153 foreign companies registering 7,754 technology transactions over the past five years. 

These are signs that Vietnam is serious about being a global technology leader and consumer.   The government projects a 15% annual increase in technological product and service sales through 2020 as exchange projects expand countrywide and universities grow the country’s tech expertise.  

 These developments have generated a growing awareness among global technology leaders about Vietnam’s potential.  This week’s examples:

  • On Thursday the Vietnamese and Finnish governments signed a $14 million agreement to implement the second phase of their joint innovation partnership to enhance the capacity of Vietnam’s information technology system and increase activities in scientific research and technology development.
  • On Friday Microsoft formally agreed to a long-term partnership with Vietnam to focus on four technologies (1) IT infrastructure, (2) cyber security, (3) cloud apps development and (4) IT human resources.

The race is on to capitalize on hi tech hunger in a promising frontier market of nearly 100 million people.  

Vietnam Aims for Outer Space

Aspiring to be a leader in space exploration by 2020, Vietnam started design work this week on its first space center in a Hanoi technology park.  The $700 facility is a partnership with Japan and is financed largely using Japanese aid.  Construction is scheduled to begin in 2014, and the first Vietnamese satellite is scheduled to go into five years.

So far, Vietnam’s science ministry has sent 24 Vietnamese engineers to Japan, soon to be followed by 100 others to study space technology at five Japanese universities.  In all, 350 engineers and scientists are to be trained.

Vietnam considers itself a generation behind developed countries in space technology, although a Vietnamese astronaut took part in a cosmic flight in 1980.

The Japan-Vietnam space connection is an example of a lost, or perhaps delayed, opportunity for American companies that lead the world in space technology.

More on Vietnam’s space aspirations


Scandium, Yttrium, Japan and Vietnam

Nature Magazine reports Japan and Vietnam are collaborating to take on China’s virtual monopoly on supply of rare earth elements that are essential high-tech electronics components and difficult to obtain in a useable form.  China produces 98% of the global supply.

The partnership is aimed at streamlining extraction and processing — partly to help Vietnam, believed to have abundant rare earths, supply rare earths to Japan, the second largest consumer of the elements behind China.  Japan and Vietnam are starting their venture by establishing a joint research center in Hanoi.

Rare earth elements include scandium, yttrium and 15 other elements towards the bottom of the periodic table. They have optical and magnetic properties needed in light-emitting diodes and batteries, among other high-tech applications.

China is believed to have 55 million tons of rare-earth elements, half of the world’s total, but Vietnam is eager to offer an alternative source.

More on the Japan-Vietnam rare earths partnership

Software Piracy in Vietnam Rampant But Declining

Software piracy has been almost universal in Vietnam, but a new report finds the rate declined slightly last year — from 85% to 83% of personal computers, says the Business Software Alliance, a global market researcher.  The commercial value of the unlicensed software: $412 million.

The Vietnam government says it is trying to improve intellectual property protection and raise public awareness about it.  Even so, in a poor country that has yet to reach emerging market status, if Vietnamese consumers did not have pirated software on their personal computers, they wouldn’t have any software at all. 

The industry understands this, of course, and tends to look the other way for now.  Microsoft, for example, is better off with 100 million Vietnamese getting acquainted with pirated versions of its products than pirated versions of somebody else’s.

More on software piracy in Vietnam

Vietnam’s Two Hi Tech Parks Show Promise

Vietnam has quietly developed two major information technology parks on the outskirts of Saigon that may position the country to move toward its ambitious hi tech dreams:

  • Quang Trung, established a decade ago 9 miles North of downtown Ho Chi Minh City, now has 101 companies (nearly 60% domestic) and 24,000 employees including 4,752 software programmers and other IT experts.  The park is introducing Vietnam’s software industry to the world.
  • Saigon Hi-Tech Park,  opened in the far Eastern portion of the city in 2002, has 50 investors, including Intel and some of the world’s leading software developers — including Datalogic Scanning, Japan’s Nidec and Denmark’s Sonion and Vietnam’s homegrown FPT, Vinagame, Nanogen and CMC.

Vietnam wants IT to be a leading sector — within 10 years contributing up to 10% of GDP and establishing  Vietnam as one of the world’s top 10 software developers.  The biggest obstacles:  Shortages of qualified workers, space, and foreign language skills.

More on Vietnam’s hi tech parks

Early Adopter IBM Setting Pace in Vietnam

This year marks IBM’s 15th year in Vietnam, where information technology has rapidly become indispensable and helped its economic emergence.  The government has prioritized communications technology, and now about one-third of Vietnamese log on to the Internet daily.  

IT now accounts for more than $15 billion of Vietnam’s economy, and government projects are expected to attract more spending in the public sector over the next decade to develop IT in healthcare, education, energy, transportation, and communications.

IBM says Vietnam — where the company is concentrating  on services for small- and medium-sized enterprises and state-owned businesses — is one of the company’s 20 “focused investment countries.”

More on the future of IT in Vietnam