Vietnam among top 3 innovators in Southeast Asia

By Nguyen Quy   July 24, 2019 | 11:01 pm PT
Vietnam among top 3 innovators in Southeast Asia
The eight-lane Nguyen Van Huyen Street connecting Cau Giay, Tay Ho and Bac Tu Liem districts in Hanoi is opened to traffic in June 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
Vietnam has climbed up three places to 42nd in the 2019 Global Innovation Index, behind Singapore and Malaysia in Southeast Asia.

The country has performed better than some of its Southeast Asian neighbors on the global list, moving ahead of Thailand (43rd), the Philippines (54th), Indonesia (85th) and Cambodia (98th).

Singapore (8th) and Malaysia (35th) were much higher in the ranking thanks to considerable investments in science and technology development over the past year.

The report, released Wednesday, was compiled by the World Intellectual Property Organization, Cornell University and the business school INSEAD, measuring the innovation performance of 129 economies around the world.

It was based on 80 indicators, from traditional measurements like research and development investments and international patent and trademark applications to newer indicators including mobile-phone app creation and high-tech exports.

Vietnam’s overall score was 38.84 out of 100, ranking first in innovation among the group of 26 lower-middle income economies.

"Vietnam has been an innovation achiever for nine consecutive years, holding that record together with India, Republic of Moldova, and Kenya," the report said.

The country still faces major challenges in institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market sophistication, and business sophistication, the report said, noting that knowledge and technology and creative output were Vietnam’s strong points.

Experts said Vietnam needs to continue to focus on the inputs of innovation, paying particular attention to improving information technology infrastructure, information technology applications, business environment, quality of regulations and quality of labor force.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at a conference in Hanoi last May that science, technology and innovation should be considered a pillar for Vietnam's socio-economic development.

He directed the Ministry of Science and Technology to propose policies to encourage and stimulate innovation among businesses, saying they have to be put at the center of the process.

The PM also expressed his hope that every ministry, sector, locality, organization and enterprise would join hands to promote innovation and effectively use science and technology to achieve sustainable development breakthroughs.

Switzerland retained its number one spot in the index this year. Others in the top 10 were Sweden, the U.S., Netherlands, the U.K., Finland, Denmark, Singapore, Germany and Ireland.

Vietnam has been part of the index since its debut in 2007, climbing up steadily since 2013, after several years of hovering just above the 70th place.

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