VN promotes digital transformation to develop ASEAN into a start-up centre

[8 December 2020] — Việt Nam has carried out digital transformation programmes for enterprises and dialogues between companies and senior leaders of ASEAN countries to turn the bloc into a hub for innovative and sustainable start-up development.

These activities also accelerate digital transformation and technology start-up development in ASEAN, according to the Ministry of Information and Communication.

ASEAN countries have an advantage with about 60 per cent of the population under 35 years old, promising strong start-up potential. Therefore, as Chairman of ASEAN 2020, Việt Nam has organised the ASEAN Startup Forum to discuss promoting start-up co-operation in the bloc.

Ngô Diên Hy, general director of VNPT Information Technology Company (VNPT-IT), said the Việt Nam Post and Telecommunication Corporation (VNPT) and the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) have signed a deal to support the domestic enterprises in implementing digital transformation.

Per the agreement, VNPT will work with VCCI and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) to implement the Digital STARS Showcase 2020 project, which aims to build a network connecting technology start-ups in ASEAN to create opportunities to exchange experience, expand partnerships and promote digital transformation.

Phạm Đình Đoàn, an ASEAN BAC member, said Digital STARS Showcase 2020 also includes innovative and practical digital transformation solutions for firms to upgrade their business models and participate in the digital economy, especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

The Digital STARS Showcase 2020 has had more than 100 solutions from large companies and potential start-ups since it was launched in September.

The system of those solutions is expected to expand to other ASEAN countries to build a common database on regional digital transformation.

At present, digital transformation models are creating convenient services. However, this kind of model also brings difficulties for local start-ups because it fundamentally changes the traditional business model and poses new challenges.

To survive and thrive in an age of constantly changing technology, domestic start-ups must change because they could be eliminated if they are slow to carry out digital transformation.

Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Bùi Thế Duy said they should choose small projects for digital transformation. That would reduce damages and take experiences to implement the digital transformation for larger projects.

Besides smart technology, the key of digital transformation is to change the people, mindset and culture of a start-up, Duy said.

The COVID-19 pandemic is still complex and harming business activities in the ASEAN region.

However, according to a report on digital transformation supporting enterprises amid COVID-19 published by the VCCI and VNPT, the pandemic is driving domestic enterprises to promote digital transformation.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly has requested the Government to issue a plan to ensure cyber information security for 2021-2025.

The Government is also required to strictly manage foreign digital platforms, promote the development of social networks in the country and issue an e-Government Development Strategy.

By 2021, Việt Nam is hoped to have basically complete national databases and build platforms to promote national digital transformation.

The Ministry of Information and Communications will issue solutions to support and accelerate digital transformation, especially digital transformation in enterprises.

Over the past time, Vietnamese enterprises have mainly applied digital transformation for management, logistics and marketing activities but not much for production, according to some experts.

Enterprises have gradually improved to carry out digital transformation, but the transformation is basic. The digitalisation rate in products and services is still low due to barriers like high cost, lack of infrastructure for digital transformation, corporate data leakages and a lack of qualified workers.

Therefore, besides developing infrastructure, the Government needs to give financial support for local enterprises in implementing digital transformation and justify rules about data management. — VNS

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