Smart city groups expand

Vietnam’s aspirations to advance smart technology will help develop the largest municipalities into smart cities in a decade, with the Asian Silicon Valley of Taiwan ready to assist via innovative solutions.

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Creating efficient and smart cities is a current ambition for Vietnam. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Jeffrey Chan, overseas sales manager of genetics researchers Sofiva Genomics Co., Ltd., told VIR that cutting-edge technology helps Taiwanese companies stay relevant in an evolving market, while reducing the cost of upgrades. “We have strong partners in Vietnam to help Sofiva develop in the local market. To shorten the turnaround time of tests and provide customised services here, we are helping our partners to design a laboratory, not only to provide non-invasive prenatal screening for expectant Vietnamese mothers but also to provide services to our clients from other countries in the ASEAN region as well,” Chan said.

Sofiva Genomics is one of many Taiwanese companies looking to offer cutting-edge solutions to Vietnam. Most recently, 22 leading Taiwanese brands in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector joined the Vietnam ICT COMM to explore the market potential. These companies specialise in tech solutions relevant to Vietnam’s smart city ambitions.

To strengthen the tie-up in the field, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Ho Chi Minh City Computer Association in July 2018 covering co-operation in smart city technologies and services.

Under the MoU, Taiwan intends to introduce its smart city technologies and services to Ho Chi Minh City and promote smart city exchanges between Taiwan and Vietnam.

According to the TAITRA, Taiwan has many years of experience in creating smart cities, in addition to strong research and development, original equipment manufacturer and original design manufacturer capabilities.

Sally Lin, deputy project director of the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) in Taiwan said, “Taiwanese groups hope to strengthen co-operation with Vietnam to create a favourable ecosystem and develop local startups. Last year, the ITRI signed an MoU with Saigon Innovation Hub on partnership and connection in the field of technology and exchange of startups.”

Earlier this month, around 450 participants including government officials, industry leaders, academics, and researchers from Taiwan and Vietnam gathered at the 2019 Taiwan Vietnam Industrial Collaboration Forum in Ho Chi Minh City to discuss collaboration in the fields of textile, basic light industry technologies and automation, as well as smart city applications. Through the industries’ mutual activities to build a collaborative platform, all sides hope to find partners which would facilitate market development, technology, and talent exchanges.

The outcome of the forum led to the signing of four letters of intent. These included collaboration between the Vietnam Invention Association and the Metal Industries Research and Development Centre; technology collaboration for textile groups such as the Taiwan Textile Federation and the Vietnam Textile & Apparel Association; basic light industry pairings involving Perfect Machine Co., Ltd. and Nguyen Thang Phat Co., Ltd.; as well as partnerships in Smart Education featuring the likes of the Institute for Information Industry and the Vietnam National University in Hanoi.

The initiatives will not only bolster the relationship between Taiwan and Vietnam but also help Vietnam reach its smart city plan with advanced technologies and solutions from its partners. With the country’s large population, expanding affluent class and rising disposable income, Vietnam can become a magnet for Taiwanese companies to export quality services and smart solutions.

Chan from Sofiva Genomics is excited about the bright prospects in Vietnam, adding that one of Taiwan’s five New Southbound Policy flagship projects is to ­promote medical and public health co-operation with partner countries. The ­project will foster stronger ties with Vietnam by ­offering ­professional training programmes, medicine, and health-related industrial supply chains, building a ­regional disease prevention network, as well as working towards regulatory harmonisation, laboratory accreditation, and ­standardised ­inspection techniques. “This project will help people in Vietnam and other countries in this region to recognise Sofiva Genomics and other medical service companies from Taiwan as high-quality medical service providers,” Chan explained. “We will have more chances to ­promote our service and ­expand business opportunities here.”

Indeed, many Taiwanese companies have taken advantage of the considerable growth of cross-border e-commerce in Vietnam to promote their products and services. The TAITRA and Tiki jointly launched Tiki Taiwan Pavilion in 2017 to expand digital sales for Taiwanese companies in Vietnam. With this service, consumers in Vietnam can now shop for more than 2,600 Taiwanese products from almost 100 suppliers, while buyers in the country can source these Taiwanese suppliers more directly.

According to Tran Ngoc Thai Son, founder and CEO of Tiki.vn, Vietnamese consumers have a good impression of Taiwanese brands and high-quality products. Thus, the time is ripe for Taiwanese companies to enter Vietnam’s e-commerce market.

“Vietnam’s fast-growing digital economy and smart city ambitions will encourage more Taiwanese companies to bring ­advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, to the country,” said Son. “This wave will be ­accelerated by the ­increasing investment of ­Taiwanese tech giants.”

VIR

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