The strategies leading to the achievements Vietnam has gained so far may not bring similar effects in the future because of changes in international integration and technology development.
Vietnam has decided to shift its direction to developing a digital economy, in the context of the fourth industrial revolution.
As of mid-2018, Vietnam had 30,000 businesses operating in the fields of software, hardware and digital content. Specialized training centers and hi-tech parks for software developers and engineers have been established in Hanoi, HCMC and Da Nang. With the startup movement, a lot of apps and platforms have been created.
Because of the high level of internet and smartphone connectivity, Vietnamese have strong demand for digital technology products.
A survey by AlphaBeta in 2017 found that Vietnam was leading in Asia Pacific in the domestic demand for digital technology products. Currently, e-commerce (Tiki, Sendo, Lazada), sharing economy (Grab, Go Viet), fintech and social networks (Facebook, Zalo) are the fastest growing sectors in the digital economy.
The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) predicted that IT alone would make up 8-10 percent of Vietnam’s GDP by 2020.
Experts warned that digital technologies associated with the fourth industry revolution, including AI, robotics, automation, drone technology and big data analysis, may damage the market and job structure, causing high risks to the economy and society.
"The future of Vietnam's Digital Economy", implemented by Data 61 research team under CSIRO (Australia) and SATI under the Ministry of Science & Technology with Foresight method, is one of a few in-depth studies on the issue.
The study has built up a series of scenarios possibly to happen in the future in Vietnam: Scenario 1 -Traditional heritage; Scenario 2 - Digital Transformation, Scenario 3 - Digital Export and Scenario 4 – Digital consumption.
Scenario 2 is believed to have the biggest impact on Vietnam in the upcoming 20 years. The digital economy could generate VND3,751 trillion more for Vietnam’s GDP in the next 20 years, or $162 billion, or 2/3 of GDP in Vietnam.
This means that $8.1 billion more could be created each year thanks to digital transformation. However, researchers predicted that 38 percent of jobs may be replaced.
According to Vo Tri Thanh from the Central Institute of Economic Management (CIEM), Vietnamese want Scenario 2 the most because it is the best. However, the best scenario may not be the most practical.