A recent Google research indicated that the coronavirus pandemic had accelerated Vietnam’s digital economy. In fact, the digital economy in Vietnam expanded by 16% in 2020, amounting to US$ 14 billion. Research further estimated that the growth would continue until 2025 with an amount of US$ 52 billion.
Prior to the COVID-19 episode, 3.1 hours per day was the time that Vietnamese users spent on the internet. This figure then increased significantly to 4.2 hours per day due to the nationwide lockdown.
The rapid growth of eCommerce and adoption of e-Wallets is the main factor contributing to the burgeoning digital economic situation in Vietnam. In 2020, eCommerce expanded 63% year-on-year at US$ 62 billion. By 2025, this amount is expected to spike at approximately US$ 172 billion.
Government Support to Accelerate the Digital Economy Transformation in Vietnam
Vietnam’s government issued various plans and guidelines in September 2020 to support the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” and the Conclusion of the 77 initiatives, agreed on. These initiatives have proven that the government is determined to transform its digital economy with proper legal frameworks.
Furthermore, the government established new policies to take in and pilot new and innovative technological solutions, conditionally. Vietnam’s technology sector is the crucial enabler for its digital infrastructure and its significant presence in the global market.
Through these policies and guidelines, relevant authorities will liaise with Vietnamese businesses to collaborate with renowned and sizable global technology corporations. The collaboration will include technologies and models transfer, establishment, and application.
Remaining Challenges in Key Areas in Vietnam’s Digital Economy
For the nation to ensure growth in the digital economy, challenges associated with critical areas in Vietnam’s digital economy need to be addressed.
The high-speed and useful internet is the foundation of a thriving digital economy. So the first and the most critical challenge for Vietnam’s digital economy transformation is to ensure that the majority of the population has reasonable access to 4G and 5G mobile networks. The country will also have to expand its broadband fiber optic networks for large institutions, schools, and businesses.
The second obstacle that Vietnam’s government has to tackle is probably the high logistic prices. Vietnam’s logistics prices is one of the highest globally, contributing to 25% of GDP. Streamlined, efficient and cost-effective logistics service is one of the critical components of successful eCommerce and online trade.
Therefore, Vietnam still has substantial space to improve its logistics by providing more diverse and affordable logistics options such as last-mile delivery, low-value item delivery, and door-to-door services.
The third challenge concerns payments. The majority of the Vietnamese population still utilize cash for their daily transactions despite cashless digital payment development. In 2017, only 22% of Vietnam’s population made use of digital payments.
To encounter this issue, regulatory authorities and financial institutions shall work together to enable Vietnamese consumers’ digital-friendly payment environment. This collaboration must include customer protection, safe digital payments, and flexible digital payment systems.
Lastly, it is forecast that about 56% of five ASEAN countries’ workforce, including Vietnam, may face digital innovation replacement in 10 years. Hence, preparing the current workforce to be ready and skilled for this digital transformation is essential and compulsory.
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