Viet Nam IT industry yet to become innovative: Deputy Minister

Most software firms in Viet Nam, even foreign-owned ones, are mere outsourcers for foreign information technology firms, a top government official has admitted.

Trainees work at the Quang Trung Software Techology Park (Photo: SGGP)
Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Nguyen Van Lang said the major reason for this is that foreign software firms hesitate to bring their newest innovations out of their countries for fear of being stolen.
Thus, only projects whose blueprints are ready and merely need execution come to the country, and nothing is created or added here.
Viet Nam has recently promoted software technology parks, offering lots of incentives to firms choosing to locate there, including low rents and good infrastructure.
The expectation was that the firms would take advantage of these benefits to innovate. But the firms have, instead, focused on outsourcing which offers immediate profits.   
Dr. Cuong said poor infrastructure in the country and lack of protection for copyrights are other factors dissuading firms from focusing on innovation.
“Even top technology firms focus on modest projects not requiring sophisticated technologies.”
But it appears innovation is not easy to achieve. Nguyen Dinh Mai, president of the Saigon Hi-tech Park, said even if foreign firms decide to bring high technologies, it would not be easy for local personnel to work on them.
He said, however, that if foreign firms do bring in technologies it would do great good to Viet Nam by helping project a good image of the country’s tech industry and encouraging more foreign investments.
Mr. Lang said Viet Nam should learn from the experience of Japan.
“In the beginning, Japan was an outsourcer for the US but later became a partner. Viet Nam, like Japan, needs sound policies to gradually develop from outsourcing to innovation and creation.”

By Minh Tu – Translated by Truong Son

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