PM calls for focus on technology to beat middle-income trap

By Hung Le   May 9, 2019 | 10:00 pm PT
PM calls for focus on technology to beat middle-income trap
Workers at a smartphone factory in Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Chau An
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc believes Vietnam should switch its focus to technological innovation since resources and cheap labor are no longer its advantages.

Speaking at the National Technology Development Forum of Vietnam Thursday, he said: "Time does not wait, opportunities do not come on their own. We must act, and act promptly.

"Vietnam needs to seize opportunities to advance with the [information] age, which means we need to remove barriers to development of technology enterprises."

The country has a remarkable Internet penetration rate of 67 percent, according to global research firm We Are Social, and recently been witnessing the growth of venture capital funds, information technology enterprises and others. 

The country now had the necessary conditions to begin developing technology and setting clear strategies to move in that direction after 30 years of manufacturing since the introduction of Doi moi reform. 

Technology should be identified as a key factor for Vietnam to escape the middle-income trap. With a technological focus, the country must develop into a prosperous industrial country by 2045, the prime minister said.  

"At the moment Vietnam is only purchasing technology. In future our country must not only have absorbed and mastered technology, but must also be creating and inventing technology, using technology to solve local problems and going on to solve problems worldwide."

Last year the IT industry earned estimated revenues of $98.9 billion, with the main segments being hardware - electronics ($88 billion), software ($4.3 billion), IT services ($5.7 billion), and digital content ($800 million). 

The industry provided more than a million jobs.

The National Technology Development Forum, which took place on Thursday, was chaired by the Ministry of Information and Communications and VnExpress. It hosted nearly 1,000 representatives from the government, ministries and localities, hundreds of local and foreign experts and executives from technology companies and start-ups. 

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