Vietnam shows significant progress among Asia-Pacific digital societies: report

By Phan Anh   November 4, 2020 | 05:02 pm PT
Vietnam shows significant progress among Asia-Pacific digital societies: report
Students attend a hackathon held by the School of Information and Communication Technology (SoITC) under the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, June 26-28, 2020. Photo by SoITC.
Vietnam led in digital development from 2016 to 2019 among Asia-Pacific countries, recent analysis showed.

Over the period, Vietnam has increased its digital society index the most among 11 surveyed Asia-Pacific countries, which included Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand, according a report by GSMA Intelligence, a mobile industry research division under the Global System for Mobile Communications Associations (GSMA).

Vietnam's index went from 37 in 2016 to 49 in 2020, a 12-point difference. It is followed by Bangladesh and Indonesia, both showing a 10-point difference from 2016 to 2019, according to the report, issued earlier this month.

The result placed Vietnam in 8th spot among the 11 surveyed countries, putting it in the group of "transitioning" nations, besides Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and India. "Advanced" nations are South Korea, Singapore, Australia and Japan, while "emerging" ones feature Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The digital society index was calculated based on five criteria: connectivity, digital citizenship, digital lifestyle, digital commerce and digital identity.

Vietnam’s achievement was mainly driven by notable improvements in the connectivity component of the index, following the launch and rapid expansion of 4G networks in the last three years. It was further boosted by improvements to the digital identity, digital citizenship and digital lifestyle components. This revolved around embracing Industry 4.0 opportunities to restructure the economy, and the launch of a national data portal to help the government manage, connect and share data with the public, according to the report.

Vietnam gained around 45 million new mobile internet subscribers from 2010 to 2019, or 46 percent of the population. Vietnam’s percentage increase is the highest among the 11 surveyed countries, followed by Thailand, which gained 31 million new subscribers accounting for 44 percent of the population, and Malaysia, which gained 14 million new subscribers also accounting for 44 percent of its population, within the period.

Vietnam is also named among five ASEAN member states to have fully digitized their foundational identity systems, or multi-purpose ID credentials universally available to citizens, the report added, citing World Bank. Other countries in this category are Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

Despite remarkable developments, Vietnam still faces challenges that inhibit progress, particularly in the digital commerce component and with regard to policies to support innovative startups, the report noted.

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