Digitalisation key to economic recovery

Digitalisation is key to economic recovery and crucial to Vietnamese firms' ability to compete and create value, said policymakers and business experts at a conference on December 15 discussing how the country's economic policies can help foster creativity and innovation among the business sector.

Deputy head of the department for enterprise development under the Ministry of Planning and Investment Bui Thu Thuy said digitalisation was no longer an option for businesses, especially as the world is still trying to recover from the pandemic. The digitalisation of business data, management, automation, reporting and collaboration within enterprises should be given the highest priority. 

While Vietnam enjoyed a relatively high broadband penetration rate compared against other countries in the region, digitalised transactions still remained at just over 22%, lower than Indonesia (34%) and Thailand (62%). Online business transactions were also on the low side at just 10% against Indonesia (49%) and Malaysia (52%). 

The most common issues experienced by Vietnamese businesses with digitalisation include a lack of financial resources, poor IT infrastructure and cyber security and a shortage of skilled workers. 

The pandemic and a number of recently implemented policies by the government have given digitalisation a speed boost. Coupled with a change in consumer behaviour to contactless transactions the country's digital economy has reported a 10% growth rate since last year and US$135 billion in sales volume.

She said the ministry is willing to provide support to all businesses to make the transition to digital. A number of tools have been made available at http://digital.business.gov.vn to help businesses self-evaluate and build a digitalisation strategy.

The ministry has also been building a consultant network specialised in digital transformation. So far, the network has connected with over 100,000 clients and held numerous training programmes for businesses. 

General Director of V-startup, a support network for Vietnamese start-ups, Nguyen Thy Nga said enterprises are at the core of the country's creativity and innovation push. 

Nga said creative and innovative solutions in organisation and management help businesses cut down transactional and operational costs while improving productivity and efficiency. She said creativity and innovation must come from an emphasis on business culture, one in which managers and workers must continue to adapt and change. 

Nguyen Tuan Luong from UNDP in Vietnam's department for creativity and innovation said the push for digitalisation offers the country an opportunity to move in the direction of greener development and to build an economic ecosystem for sustainable development. 

Dr Chu Duc Hoang from the National Technology Innovation Fund said Vietnamese enterprises, especially SMEs, were in dire need of financial resources for research and development activities as well as of comprehensive legal and policy frameworks to encourage the implementation of science and technology in the business sector.

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