Clear orientations for sci-tech arena

Vietnam has been working on new orientations for the country’s sci-tech market for the next five years, in order to create competitiveness and encourage use of exchange platforms, among other things. Tran Van Tung, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, talked with VIR’s Bich Thuy about what has been achieved thus far, and what is just around the corner.

Last year’s events impacted all areas, including sci-tech prospects in Vietnam. What was still achieved in 2020 despite the restrictions?

tet 14 clear orientations for sci tech arena
Tran Van Tung, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology

The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) has taken the initiative in improving sci-tech capacity to solve difficulties and spur economic growth, ensuring social security and people’s livelihoods during the pandemic. As a result, some outstanding achievements were made: successfully cultivating and isolating the coronavirus; researching and manufacturing quick test kits to meet local demand and serve exports; testing Nano Covax – the first Vietnamese-made COVID-19 vaccine – on humans; and doing research, producing, and successfully testing robots used in hospitals and isolation areas, among other things.

The sci-tech market also saw a fall in connectivity and promotional activities at home and abroad. Moreover, technology transfer was also disrupted by a strong decrease in business demands.

The local market saw certain positive signals in the last months of 2020 when the pandemic was controlled. A number of events on sci-tech development were held, including the Week of Technology Connectivity, which attracted over 10,000 visitors and participants and showcased over 1,000 products. Meanwhile, Techfest Vietnam 2020 drew in over 6,500 participants and 300 businesses to showcase their products, with investment connectivity activities attracting many investors and startups with the investment value reaching $14 million.

While businesses are ready for technological innovation, their demands are yet to be met as the government had to focus on policies to prevent and fight against COVID-19. This has made big impacts on their plans for technology exchanges and transactions, on supply-demand connectivity, promotion activities for technology exchanges, and more.

To this end, the government issued resolutions, decrees, and decisions on continuing sci-tech market development. They include Resolution No.58/NQ-CP from last April on the government action programme to implement 2019’s Resolution No.50-NQ/TW, giving directions to complete the legal framework to increase quality of foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction by 2030; and 2019’s Conclusion No.50-KL/TW on the development of science and technology to serve the country’s industrialisation. The MoST also issued Decision No.1646/QD-BKHCN dated June 2020 on restructuring sci-tech services by 2025; and Decision No.2579/QD-BKHCN from last September on the Action Plan to implement Resolution 58.

Following the programme on sci-tech market development by 2030, intermediate units are established and are improving capacity; especially, technology transaction floors have been developed and connected online in cities and provinces such as Haiphong, Thai Binh, Nam Dinh, and Ninh Binh, thus creating a foundation for connecting transaction floors at home and abroad. In addition, the value of sci-tech products and services in transactions in 2012-2020 made up 20.9 per cent of the whole economy.

tet 14 clear orientations for sci tech arena
Resolutions are fostering encouragement between businesses for more tech cooperation. Photo: Shutterstock

What does the development strategy look like for the sci-tech market this year and towards 2025?

The organisation of events on supply-demand connectivity and technology transfer will likely still need to be made online because COVID-19 is still causing major problems worldwide. Innovation among businesses should be studied and assessed, and then proposals made on supporting policies to facilitate them in accelerating innovation activities, thus increasing technology capacity to improve productivity, product and service quality, and competitiveness in the market.

Industry 4.0 is taking place at unprecedented speed and breadth, forcing Vietnam’s sci-tech market to develop further and closely align with the development of the banking-finance market, the labour market, and the common goods market, thus importantly contributing to the national digital transformation path.

In this trend, some orientations on Vietnam’s sci-tech market development in the next five years have been worked out. To start with, its development should be in line with the law of objectivity and economic performance on the basis of increasing effectiveness of state management to align it with the socialist-oriented market economy.

Additionally, development will take a business-centric approach. The state has a facilitating role and builds a legal framework and supporting policies without deep intervention into market performance. To keep up with Industry 4.0 and increasingly global integration, the attraction of private investment and resources should be a focus to help speed up the process of product and service innovation with high technology content.

Sci-tech advances should also be in line with the resolutions of the Party and laws and policies of the state on sci-tech, economic development, and environmental protection; step by step boosting commercialisation of research, intellectual property, and increasing people’s awareness about the importance of sci-tech towards national socioeconomic development.

This work should also take place hand in hand with ensuring the intellectual property rights of organisations and individuals, which requires the synchronisation of technology infrastructure, economic infrastructure, capacity of intermediate units, readiness of the supply, and absorption capacity.

Finally, the sci-tech market needs to integrate with regional and international equivalents to lure in the necessary resources, strengthening sci-tech exports.

In the next five years, the sci-tech market will focus on developing new transaction exchange platforms with the application of Industry 4.0 technologies in order to tap into the advantages of the internet, AI, and blockchain, thus increasing global integration, reducing intermediate costs, increasing transparency, satisfying market demands, and enhancing goods flows.

Elsewhere, we must develop the market for the products of leading sci-tech groups to increase the international competitiveness of Vietnamese products while strengthening innovation activities and developing a startup ecosystem.

Also important is mulling over a regulatory sandbox, clarifying the schedule and space for its application in each sector and the pertaining conditions, after careful analysis of the specific policy situations.

What opportunities await domestic and foreign enterprises once 5G is widely commercialised in Vietnam?

IT infrastructure is an important foundation for us to perform digital transformation and develop the digital economy in Vietnam. 5G is the cornerstone technology in the country’s IT infrastructure development.

We should dream about 5G, and sales of made-in-Vietnam products and services in the international market. What concerns us is how we can successfully carry out digital transformation and tap into 5G in an efficient manner.

Evidently, we have a lot of work to do. From the macro perspective, tasks include restructuring financial, labour, and sci-tech markets to create new growth motivation while ensuring the reasonable allocation and use of national resources.

Regarding specific issues, powerful research teams are being developed; we are seeing the development of mechanical technology, metallurgy, material technology, and mold technology; and administrative reforms and intellectual property protection is also being carried out.

How can Vietnam’s commitments in new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs) expand business opportunities in tech?

Vietnam is increasingly integrating into the global economy. Trade liberalisation and global economic integration have created new advantages to spur the development of productive forces, trade flows among countries, thus contributing to optimising the competitive advantages of countries in the global economy.

However, this presents huge challenges for Vietnamese businesses, especially private ones. They have to face stiffening competition from more rivals on a larger scale even in the domestic market. In this context, we have to deploy many solutions in a synchronous manner such as stimulating of domestic consumption, spurring intra-regional trade, and connecting to the international market to tap into outside technology and resources amid the restructuring of international trade chains in the post-pandemic landscape.

In legislation such as resolutions 58 and 50, key tasks include encouraging technology cooperation and transfer and governance based on agreements with Vietnamese firms; enacting a standard system and national technical regulations for products, environmental protection, resources, and energy saving to align them with international and regional standards; completing regulations on startups; supporting policies for domestic suppliers to link with foreign-invested enterprises to enable them to increase their technology absorption; and completing policies to improve the operational efficiency of high-tech parks.

Membership in key FTAs will open opportunities for investors and businesses in Vietnam to approach flows of advanced technology and cheaper capital sources. Moreover, the agreements such as the one made with the EU also urge institutional reform, the renovation of the growth model, and inclusive innovation.

By Bich Thuy

Nguồn: Vietnam Investment Review

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