Paying Attention to "Customer Tastes" to Increase Chances to Promote Vietnamese Culture

Tran Hai Linh, member of the Central Committee of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front, chairman of the Vietnam-Korea Business & Investment Association (VKBIA) shared with the Vietnam Times about strengthening the capacity to promote Vietnamese culture to the world.
August 14, 2022 | 13:08

Clarifying the “cultural industry”

What are the reasons for South Korea's success in promoting its culture to the world?

With an early vision of policy making for the development of the cultural industry, persistence, unity in long-term strategic planning, and effective methods of simultaneous implementation, Korea has succeeded in building and promoting soft power resources. For example, the "Hallyu wave" is an obvious factor. (Hallyu is the term used to refer to the phenomenal growth of Korean culture, since the late 1990s).

Korean cultural goods that have become mainstream include movies, K-pop, K-dance, food, fashion, and cosmetics. These goods are popular in regions with cultural similarities such as China, Taiwan, Japan, and some Southeast Asian countries. They also have a certain influence on regions with cultural differences such as Europe, Africa, the Middle East.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, along with exporting cultural goods to foreign countries, Korea also attracted millions of tourists to the country to visit and experience culture.

The Hallyu wave is spreading more strongly, receiving the attention and acceptance of many people, especially young people. It not only promotes the image, country and people, enhances the position of Korea in the international arena, but also contributes significantly to the socio-economic development. It is the driving force behind the development of the Korean cultural industry. In September 2021, the Oxford English dictionary added 26 new words of Korean origin, including the word "Hallyu".

Paying Attention to
Tran Hai Linh, member of the Central Committee of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front, chairman of the Vietnam-Korea Business & Investment Association (VKBIA).

From Korea's experience, what difficulties do you think the promotion of Vietnamese culture abroad is facing?

I think that Vietnam has not clearly defined the definition of the phrase "cultural industry," to shape the promotion of Vietnamese culture to be "faster, farther". For example, cultural management thinking has not kept up with the development of society. The imprint of thinking in the subsidy period, the "asking and giving" way, and administrative-commanding thinking in "cultural work" is still heavily affected.

Awareness of the cultural promotion scope of sectors is still rigid, and there are even differences between localities. In fact, the position of culture in general, the goal of promoting Vietnamese culture abroad is still low and has not really been put on a par with other fields.

Human resources for cultural development and promotion are weak, lacking professional and management skills, especially innovation capacity, business administration skills to develop the culture.

The investment in culture is also not commensurate with the role of culture in further development and promotion. The level of investment in culture in the total budget is relatively low compared to other areas, not commensurate with reality, and uneven.

Service quality and cultural product quality are not high, there is a lack of cultural brands at the national, regional and international levels. Most of Vietnam's cultural products are still not really creative and diverse, do not meet the needs of the public, and the competitiveness in the domestic and international markets is still quite low. These are some of the reasons that make it difficult for the development and promotion of Vietnamese culture.

Promoting valuable cultural goods

To promote culture abroad effectively, what content should Vietnam pay attention to?

Culture plays an important role in the development of a country. Our Party and State emphasize that culture is the spiritual foundation of society, the goal and driving force of socio-economic development. The process of globalization and international integration is deepening, helping Vietnamese culture to be more widely promoted in the world.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution and the economy in the digital transformation period will create favorable conditions for the development of Vietnamese culture, helping us to exploit the economic potential of Vietnamese culture in the digital environment. In the context of globalization, with the multilateralization and diversification of international relations, Vietnamese culture has favorable opportunities to acquire advanced knowledge, resources, and management experience, as well as acquire cultural quintessence more diverse, and will create new cultural values.

In particular, the cultural industry is being oriented as one of the pillars of the economy. The economy is developing, people's living standards are improved, forming a consumer/cultural enjoyment market with increasing demand, which is an important basis for the stronger promotion of Vietnamese culture to the world compared to previous periods.

In my opinion, to integrate into the constant flow of the world, besides new creations and thinking, we also need to study "customer's cultural tastes". Vietnam also needs to promote technology applications that have been effectively supporting the process of promoting valuable cultural goods abroad.

What are the cultural promotion activities of the Vietnamese community in Korea?

Cultural and artistic activities, sports, and community support are focused on and promoted in accordance with the strengths of the Vietnamese community in Korea, as most of the members are quite young, enthusiastic, and dynamic.

Some outstanding activities promoting Vietnamese culture in Korea can be mentioned as:

Successfully organized the first Vietnamese culture festival in Korea in 2011 at Sookmyung Women's University Museum. The 2nd festival was in Uijeongbu, 2012 and the 3rd festival was held at Chungnam University, Daejeon, Korea in 2013. The 4th time was in Muan County, Jeonnam Province, Kwangju in 2014, the 5th festival in 2015 at Open Art Center, Gwangmyung City, and the 6th time in 2016 at D-Cube, Sindolim Station, Seoul.

Paying Attention to
The Vietnamese community in Korea promotes the beauty of Vietnamese ao dai.

The scale of the festival is getting bigger. The festival in 2016 attracted more than 10,000 people. The festival has promoted the beauty of Vietnamese culture, country, people to international friends and Korean people. It is also a bridge to help the community unite.

Also in 2016, the Association of Vietnamese in Korea, the Fund for Vietnam's Sovereignty of the Seas and Islands cooperated with The Korea National Ballet, and with the support of South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Vietnamese embassy to the Republic of Korea, the authorities of Seoul, Busan, and Gwangju to hold the Vietnam - Korea Cultural Exchange and Friendship Festival 2016.

The event was held in many provinces of South Korea such as Seoul, Busan, Kwangju, and attracted tens of thousands of attendees. Activities took place vibrantly and widely with many rich activities such as music exchange between Vietnam and South Korea; painting exhibitions about Vietnam's sovereignty over sea and islands with topics such as Ancient and Recent Maps proving Vietnam's sovereignty over the Spratly and Paracel Islands; performing Vietnamese traditional costumes, Vietnamese martial arts.

We also accompany the program "Roadshow promoting Vietnamese culture" during the years of community work. Until now, cultural exchange activities are still maintained.

Major events and programs have introduced the beauties of Vietnamese culture and people to international friends, contributing to building the close solidarity between Vietnamese community members in South Korea, creating a good echo of the community in Korean society, and contributing to promoting better relations between the two countries.

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