HCMC East set to become an innovation hub

By Vien Thong   November 26, 2018 | 12:02 am PT
HCMC East set to become an innovation hub
HCMC plans to develop an innovation hub in its eastern region. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Cong
The eastern part of HCMC will receive investments and policies towards making it an innovative urban area, officials say.

"This innovative urban area will be crucial to the 4.0 Revolution, and will become the keystone in making the whole city a smart city," Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman of the HCMC Municipal People’s Committee, said at the HCMC Economic Forum (HEF).

The development of this innovative urban area, including Districts 2, 9 and Thu Duc, has been facilitated by the National Assembly’s approval of a resolution on preferential mechanisms and policies aimed specifically at developing HCMC, Phong said at the recent forum titled: "Fostering Interactive and Innovative Districts: the Prominent Role of Businesses".

He said it was even more significant as the city was approaching a megacity status, contributing 23 percent of Vietnam’s GDP, 30 percent of the state budget, 16 percent of industrial output and 15 percent of exports, while accounting for 32 percent of the country’s total number of enterprises.

Le Thanh Liem, Vice Chairman of the HCMC People's Committee, said the eastern part of the city would be a centre for research and application of science and technology, education and training of high quality human resources, and production of hi-tech goods and services.

"It will contribute towards establishing a value chain from research, human resource training, product design and manufacturing, to product consumption, based on advanced technical infrastructure of international standards with effective financial support for enterprises," Liem said.

City leaders stressed the importance of cohesion and collaboration between four key players of Industry 4.0 to turn the whole of HCMC to a smart city: the State, enterprises, scientists and investors.

They also said that enterprises would be the driving force of innovation.

"The city has a lot of assets, but it needs to improve the capabilities of research institutes, universities and utilize the capacity of high-tech zones," said Nguyen Thien Nhan, Secretary of the HCMC Party unit.

He said the relationship between hi-tech zones and enterprises should be strengthened.

Emmanuel San Andres, a sustainable development project leader with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC) Policy Support Unit, agreed that cooperation was an essential element of success. Collaboration between policymakers, academia and businesses is the way to get a comprehensive picture, he said.

Ousmane Dione, country director of the World Bank in Vietnam, spoke of three basic elements needed to promote innovative urban development.

First, build a vision with a focus on modern concepts of a smart city, leveraging new technologies and breakthroughs. Second, plan soft and hard infrastructure right at the outset. Third, invest in human capital.

"In order to develop human capital, the city has to make it easier for schools to work together, and then enact policies to upgrade skills for the workforce, attract and retain talent," he said.

The importance of human resources was also stressed by Ahmad Magad, secretary general of the Singapore Manufacturing Federation, the largest organisation representing the interests of manufacturing and manufacturing-related industries in Singapore.

"We can promote further innovation if we develop human capital and talent. More should be invested here. This can be done by giving universities training programs in line with evolution of the economy."

"The State can encourage private sector businesses to collaborate with institutes and schools by handing out tax incentives to those who invest in human resources and training with these institutes," Ahmad said.

Covering an area of 22,000 hectares with a population of about one million people, East HCMC has many schools, institutes and hi-tech enterprises.

The area houses the National University with 18 member colleges and research institutes, a hi-tech park totaling 1,066 hectares, a financial hub in Thu Thiem New Urban Area with an area of 657 hectares, and industrial parks and export processing zones.

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