Digital Transformation Opens up Opportunities for National Development

2:27:29 PM | 11/14/2022

The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) recently collaborated with Meta Group to organize a forum on "Equipping SMEs with Digital Transformation" with the aim of teaming up ministries, agencies, policymakers, business support organizations and the Vietnamese business community to figure out challenges; share and discuss current situations, policies, trends, opportunities, tools and solutions to support SMEs in digital transformation. On the sidelines of the event, Vietnam Business Forum has an interview with VCCI Vice President Bui Trung Nghia on this matter.

How is digital transformation important to the country's development strategy?

Boosted by amazing information and communication technology (ICT) development, the world has been experiencing a great, far-reaching and comprehensive transformation in social and economic life. Digital transformation opens up opportunities for all countries, especially developing countries, to grow faster and higher and elevate their development rankings.

Over the past time, the government has paid due attention to fostering digital transformation and developing a digital economy driven by science, innovations and creativity. The government also issued Resolution 52-NQ/TW dated September 27, 2019 on guidelines and policies for active participation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The Prime Minister adopted Decision 749/QD-TTg dated June 3, 2020 approving the National Digital Transformation Program to 2025, with a vision to 2030.

Central and local agencies have also worked out their own strategies and action plans with many digital transformation support programs and policies for SMEs to enhance their competitiveness. With the right government policy, Vietnam currently has a relatively developed telecom and IT industry, a foundation for developing digital infrastructure, digital connectivity and digital application platforms, as well as essential elements for the digital transformation of the Government and businesses.

How is digital transformation in SMEs important to economic development?

With a domestic market of nearly 100 million people, with 70% using the internet (ranking 13th out of 20 countries with the largest number of Internet users in the world) and 72% using smartphones, Vietnam is considered one of the ASEAN countries with good digital economy development.

Vietnam's digital economy was valued at US$21 billion in 2021, up 31% over 2020 accounting for more than 5% of the country's GDP. Vietnam is changing rapidly, driven by digital applications. The country's digital economy is expected to reach US$57 billion by 2025, ranking second in Southeast Asia and staging an annual growth of 29%.

However, whether the Vietnamese economy can take advantage of and seize opportunities from the ongoing rapid digital transformation depends on how successfully the National Digital Transformation Strategy to 2025, with a vision to 2030, is implemented, with the goal of synchronous development of institutions, digital infrastructure, digital platform and digital human resources. This is also a challenging task for the Government, ministries, sectors, localities and business community.

According to a survey by VCCI, the country currently has about 900,000 active companies, more than 97% being SMEs that play an important role in the country's socioeconomic development and make up 45% of the GDP, 31% of the total budget revenue and more than 5 million jobs.

Digital transformation in the SME community has developed vibrantly in recent years as a natural need to respond to changes in consumer behaviors as well as management requirements. Many SMEs have applied software solutions, used digital platforms in accounting and financial management, sales, online marketing, distribution channel management, business administration or new product and service development.

Digital transformation in SMEs is still a tough problem. How should SMEs perceive this issue?

Companies' awareness and capacity of digital transformation is extremely important. To be successful, they need to be provided with enough information to properly understand and opt for an effective digital transformation strategy and roadmap.

Indeed, their business strategy is most important. A digital transformation strategy is part of a business strategy. Digital transformation must be carried out on the basis of business capacity and reality, and must be aimed at the ultimate goal of improving business performance. If digital transformation makes it more difficult to work and achieve better business results, it cannot be considered a success.

How has VCCI supported SMEs in digital transformation?

VCCI is also very active and closely follows the business community, especially in digital transformation. At the 7th VCCI Congress for the 2021-2026 term, VCCI defined digital transformation in business as one of the three important strategic breakthroughs.

In recent years, VCCI has cooperated with Meta Group to launch various events and activities to raise awareness, offer training courses and provide opportunities for enterprises to experience digital tools. This move has really helped change the perception, thinking and competence of effectively applying digital tools in the business community.

In order to continue to support businesses in digital transformation to overcome difficulties and challenges and take advantage of opportunities from digital transformation, VCCI will continue to connect and coordinate with relevant agencies and foreign enterprises and corporations in mobilizing resources, technology and finance for digital transformation. We will support SMEs in digital transformation to quickly and effectively serve the development of the business community.

Thank you very much!

Mr. Tran Duy Dong, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment (MPI)

To make innovation and digital transformation productive, in addition to the participation of central and local agencies and the effort and contribution of businesses and organizations, there is a need for the joint force of the entire society. The Ministry of Planning and Investment is committed to further coordinating with other ministries, sectors and businesses to strongly implement programs and projects to support businesses in innovation and digital transformation.

Ms. Bui Thu Thuy, Deputy Director, Enterprise Development Department, MPI

In order to continue supporting businesses in digital transformation, the Ministry of Planning and Investment together with VCCI will continue to coordinate with Meta Group to learn about challenges that SMEs are facing to exchange, discuss and share about current situations, policies, programs, trends, opportunities, technological tools, and solutions concerning digital transformation with SMEs.

Giang Tu (Vietnam Business Forum)