Vietnam's Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
In October 2010, Vietnam Ministry of Information and Communications is expected to complete a Government strategy to upgrade the country’s information technology (IT) infrastructure by 2020. The strategy is aimed to increase total revenue of the IT sector as a percentage of GDP from between 17 to 20 percent and, in the long-term, increase the information communication sector’s contribution to the GDP to between 20 and 23 percent.
The ministry has outlined six phases of implementation:
Telephone and Mobile Phone in Vietnam:
From the graph above, the revenue from mobile phone services has increased substantially, wheile the fixed-line telephone revenue has decreased in 2008 and 2009. Vietnamese are using mobile phone to replace the fixed telephone.
Vietnam's number of mobile phone subscribers is 5 times higher than fixed ones. New technologies including third generation (3G) and upcoming fourth generation (4G) have made positive steps, reported Vietnam News. Furthermore, in 2007, a major maker of semi-conductor systems for mobile phones and automobiles, Japan’s Renesas Electronics Co-operation, opened a research center in HCM City’s Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone dedicated to developing sophisticated multifunction System-on-Chips.
Internet in Vietnam:
Telecom, Internet Service Providers as of March 2010
Number of Internet users in Vietnam increased nearly 10.9 percent over the past ten years, reported Thanh Nien news. Quoting statistics from InternetWorldStats.com and Cimigo, the newspaper reported that one-third of the Internet users were students, while white-collar workers accounted for 40 percent. Cimigo’s survey of nearly 3,000 Internet users from six cities and provinces like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi showed that two-thirds accessed the net every day for around two hours and 20 minutes on weekdays, and a little less time during the weekends, the paper added.
More about how Vietnamese use their Internet, please see our reference graph and data: Internet: What do the Vietnamese use it for?
Software Sector in Vietnam:
According to the government software outsourcing industry development goals, the industry should achieve a 35-40 percent growth rate with sales of US$800 million per year by 2010. From the chart above, workers in the software industry now the highest pay in the ICT industry and is continue to increased rapidly.
In 2009 there are more than 1,000 software companies employing about 64,000 people. Over 200 companies, with average size of 150-200 employees, engaged in software outsourcing services. There are some companies with more than 1000 employees, such as FPT software, FPT Information Systems, TMA, PSV, etc. (see our article: Who's Who in Vietnam ICT Industry for more information). Software applications that are outsoureced to Vietnam are currently focused on electronic entertainment, value-added services on the Internet and mobile networks.
For more information on software sector in Vietnam, read our recent article: Vietnam Software Outsourcing
Hardware Sector in Vietnam:
Even though Vietnam's ICT industry is growing at the rapid rate, the challeage is the human resources shortage in the field. According to the government, Vietnam would spend about VND900 billion (US$50.54 million) on training human resources of IT in the next five years. By 2015, Vietnam expects to have 600,000 IT experts, and the figure is expected to be up to one million in 2020.
According to the ministry’s report, in 2009, total turnover from hardware reached up to US$4 million, up eight times from 2000. The hardware sector has so far lured over US$5.7 billion in FDI, including those of big names like Intel, Canon and Fujitsu.
Vietnam IT Parks
The new Vietnam Ministry of Information and Communications's strategy for information technology infrastructure also stated that the IT parks would provide six main functions, including manufacturing and trading of IT products and service provision; research and development; human resource training; technology and IT firm development; organising fairs and exhibitions; and attracting local and international investors to accelerate the development of the parks. The draft will also makes the distinction between first class IT parks employing at least 2,000 workers and smaller second class parks with a workforce of at least 1,000 workers, reported Vietnam News.
To encourage investors to the IT parks, the Government said it would help facilitate land clearance, access to preferential loans from the Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BIDV), and the right to issue corporate bonds. The IT firms would be exempted from land rent, enjoy a corporate income tax rate of 10 percent for a 15 year period following the start of earnings and import tax exemptions on IT specialized equipment which can not be produced at the local market.
Viet Nam currently has only seven IT parks and they lack efficiency. Analysts said that the decree was vital in supporting the development of the sector.
Human Resource in Vietnam ICT:
However, as the graph above showed, the number of the schools stayed the same in 2008 and 2009; while number of students enrollment is increased.
Will Vietnam be able to face its challage of ICT human resource? and is the new degree be a solution for Vietnam ICT industry as the government has hoped for? Another challage to Vietnam is software piracy as it is still common in Vietnam. Vietnam finds it difficult to balance the reduction of software use and respect for copyright, while prices of legitimate software are too high compared with people's income. Rebecca Ho, IP program strategist with Microsoft, tells Thanh Nien Weekly, on July 30, 2010 that growth of Vietnam’s IT sector depends on its ability to combat piracy.
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