Vietnam to focus on digital transformation promotion in next decade

In the past few years, Vietnam has achieved important milestones in promoting the digital economy, and the country will further stay focused on the process in the next decade.
February 23, 2021 | 07:09
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Internet speed is measured on a smart phone during a 5G test run in Hanoi, November 30, 2020. Photo: VnExpress

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam and Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong emphasized “focusing on innovation, promoting national digital transformation, and developing digital economy and digital society" in his remarks at the opening session of the 13th Party Congress, according to Vietnamnet.

This is one of the major orientations covering important development issues of the country in the next 10 years. The General Secretary said that it is necessary to strongly and effectively reform the growth model, restructure the economy, and accelerate industrialization and modernization on the basis of science and technology, innovation and high quality human resources.

Positive moves

The draft political report and draft economic report both set a high goal: digital economy will account for about 20 percent of Vietnam’s GDP in 2021-2025 and about 30 percent of GDP by 2030.

The demand to build a digital economy is emphasized in the country's strategic development direction in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic changing everyday activities.

The trend of digital transformation in the economy, in businesses and daily life has emerged in Vietnam in recent years, especially after the promulgation of the Politburo's resolution 52-NQ/TW on a number of policies on Vietnam’s active participation in the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the structure of global and regional markets, encouraging enterprises to conduct more thoroughly the transition to a digital economy. The government has moved positively to digital government to be compatible with business efforts.

In June 2020, the Prime Minister approved Decision No.749/QD-TTg on "National digital transformation program to 2025, with orientation to 2030". The program points out specific objectives and solutions for each sector and each field.

Vietnam digital development among the fastest in the world

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A man uses a smart delivery service by Lazada in HCMC, November 10, 2020. Photo: VnExpress

In the past few years, Vietnam has achieved important milestones in the process of promoting the digital economy.

The country’s internet economy has grown 16 percent from 2019 to $14 billion, its growth rate among the highest in Southeast Asia, a Google report says.

The 2020 report on Southeast Asia’s Internet economy, released by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company, surveyed six Southeast Asian countries: Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

Among these, Vietnam’s digital economy grew the most, followed by Indonesia with an 11 percent growth to $44 billion, VnExpress reported.

The report projected Vietnam to grow its digital economy from 2020 to 2025 by 29 percent, second only to the Philippines at 30 percent. It also estimated that by 2025, Vietnam’s internet economy would be worth about $52 billion.

Of all digital service consumers in Vietnam, 41 percent of them are new, the highest percentage among the six surveyed countries, followed by the Philippines at 37 percent. Most of the new digital consumers in Vietnam (74 percent) are from metro areas, the report says.

In 2019-2020, Vietnam’s e-commerce, online media, transport and food sectors have grown, while the online travel services sector fell. The e-commerce sector grew 46 percent to $7 billion, transport and food by 50 percent to $1.6 billion and online media by 18 percent to $3.3 billion. The online travel sector value fell 28 percent to $3 billion, owing to travel restrictions imposed under the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Certain segments and markets have started on their journey to recovery, albeit at different speeds. Vietnam, where the pandemic has been relatively under control, has bounced back faster than the Philippines, where cases continue to rise," the report said.

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A customer uses smart phone to scan code on a product (Photo: VNA)

Earlier this month, a report by GSMA Intelligence, a mobile industry research division under the Global System for Mobile Communications Associations (GSMA), showed Vietnam was leading in digital development from 2016 to 2019 among several Asia-Pacific countries.

Specifically, its digital society index, calculated using five criteria: connectivity, digital citizenship, digital lifestyle, digital commerce and digital identity, went from 37 in 2016 to 49 in 2020, showing the highest increase compared to other countries surveyed - Australia, Japan, Indonesia and Thailand.

Vietnam’s achievement was mainly driven by notable improvements in the connectivity component of the index, following the launch and rapid expansion of 4G networks in the last three years. It was also further boosted by improvements to digital identity, digital citizenship and digital lifestyle components, according to the GSMA Intelligence report.

Optimising opportunities

These preliminary results are very encouraging, promising a faster and more substantial digital transformation in the country, Vietnamnet said.

The Covid-19 pandemic has seriously affected the world and its consequences will last for many years.

However, the pandemic has also created great opportunities for the development of the digital economy. Science and technology is developing rapidly, and the fourth industrial revolution and the digital economy have become major development trends of the era.

Vietnam will make a breakthrough if it grasps this opportunity and catches up with this trend./.

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