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Google, Facebook executives meet Vietnam PM, offer to help digitize economy

By Nguyen Ha   September 12, 2018 | 08:23 pm PT
Google, Facebook executives meet Vietnam PM, offer to help digitize economy
Google, Facebook offer to help Vietnam digitize economy.
Google and Facebook have been among the tech giants discussing cooperation with Vietnam on the sidelines of the WEF on ASEAN 2018 in Hanoi.

At a meeting Wednesday with Google's Asia-Pacific president Karim Temsamani, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc stressed that Vietnam, with a population of nearly 100 million, has great potential in information technology, which is also spearheading the country's industrialization and modernization.

He urged Google, which has a very large user base in Vietnam, to pay more attention to helping maintain and promote Vietnam's cultural identity.

The PM expressed hope that the tech giant would collaborate with his country to foster the development of start-ups, train human resources and invest in research and development for growing its technology ecosystem.

Temsamani emphasized the importance of digitizing the economy, a key global trend, saying Google is willing to help Vietnam achieve it.

Through its Vietnam Digital 4.0 program, Google aims to provide free training in digital skills to 500,000 owners of small and medium businesses in the country by 2020 to help them improve their competitiveness, he said.

Temsamani also promised it would help Vietnam build a technology ecosystem and come up with initiatives to help farmers digitize agriculture and promote their products more effectively through YouTube.

Facebook's vice-president of public policy for the Asia-Pacific, Simon Milner, also met with Phuc Wednesday. He said his company is committed to maintaining a long-term presence in Vietnam and expressed interest in joining the government's effort to create a digital nation.

It would take part in the programs of digital citizen, digital economy, digital government and digital connectivity, and assist and collaborate with small and medium businesses and start-ups, he said.

Phuc also received Cees't Hart, CEO of beer company Carlsberg Group, and Alex Dimitrief, president and CEO of General Electric Company's (GE) Global Growth Organization.

He told them Vietnam is speeding up equitization and divestment of the government’s stakes in enterprises based on the principles of transparency and openness, which offers opportunities to foreign investors like Carlsberg.

Speaking about plans to divest stakes in Hanoi Beer, Alcohol and Beverage JSC (Habeco), he said Carlsberg and Habeco should soon resolve any remaining issues so that they can go ahead with purchase of stakes and strategic cooperation.

Hart said Carlsberg, which has been Habeco's strategic investor since 2008, is looking to buy a bigger stake in the Vietnamese brewer and has been working with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and other agencies to speed up the process.

Dimitrief of GE said his firm plans to expand its investment in the power sector in Vietnam.

Phuc told him his government attaches great importance to investors and is working to improve the business environment so that investors can do business effectively.

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