Vietnam is priming its economy for a meteoric rise alongside a rollout of the long-awaited 5G technology in 2020 and 2021. The nation is focused on transforming the digital economy and business landscape by investing heavily in 5G and synchronizing business platforms across industries with this progressive technology. 5G will be around ten to twenty times faster than 4G with the capacity for more devices to utilize networks at once. These capabilities mean businesses and—that correctly harness this technology will become more efficacious and profitable. 

The government has asked the Ministry of Information and Communications to create a national digital transformation plan to set up Vietnam as a digital economy by 2030. The focus of this plan will be to stimulate the development of digital products and services, to create more digital enterprises and to encourage innovations in business models. Vietnam’s digital economy was estimated at around $9 billion USD in 2018 and is predicted to expand to $30 billion USD by 2025. With this kind of growth potential, Vietnam’s business investors and government heads are doing everything in their power to prepare the local market for 5G and to step further into the digital conversion market. 

Market and technology expansion

As the rate of technological innovation accelerates, Vietnam is taking a forward-looking stance. The region has more than 96 million people living within its borders, with upwards of 60 million of them already digitally connected. And although Vietnam may not be seen as the most cutting edge technologically when compared with neighbours like Singapore or Thailand, it’s digital economy’s growth rate is 25%, which is ranked number two in Southeast Asia. To expand economically to the levels the government hopes to, there must be substantial investments in the digital market. Digital conversion specifically needs to be accelerated. For this conversion to happen Vietnam needs to enhance its digital infrastructure, it’s digital technology access, improve cashless payment methods and offer rewards to companies for investment in digital infrastructure and information security through tax incentives. As a start, the administration has granted 5G trials to three of telecommunication companies which should pave the way for this technology to be adopted and further utilized.

Optimistic plans to transform 

The development of 5G, AI, machine learning, big data and cloud storage are all revolutionizing our world as we know it. These technologies will change the way business and commerce operate and how we live our personal lives. This massive shift is viewed as a Fourth Industrial Revolution by Vietnam, and the government has made recent announcements that they will focus on strengthening the country’s ability to handle and benefit from these changes. This revolution involves changes in digital, physical and biological technologies along with the IoT (Internet of Things) and AI. Vietnam’s power players plan to increase training for labour in fields where they are needed for new technology use and to create smart cities and increase the number of startups. This is one of the world’s most rapidly rising economies, and if they can accomplish their plans, the economy and the quality of life will flourish.

Barriers to evolution

Vietnam’s plans to aggressively adapt their economy for the future digital revolution is optimistic, but they will face challenges as they attempt to meet their goals. One pressing issue is digital security, with more than ten thousand cyberattacks on information systems in 2018. Vietnam is also a haven for botnets, which are networks of computers controlled by cybercriminals remotely carrying harmful software. Other significant obstacles would be the lack of database synchronicity among provinces and cities and among business platforms and a commercial atmosphere that does not encourage value chains. As 5G rolls out, however, it will ease integration and collaboration among businesses and platforms as technology speeds exchanges. The country also needs to put particular emphasis on training the population for fields that will grow along with the digital technology as automation and robotics could push some workers out of their present jobs because currently, they lack the funding and people necessary to work in these burgeoning fields.

A golden future awaits 

No matter whether this superstar of Southeast Asia can achieve its most idealistic goals and reach full 5G rollout in 2021 or not, this thrust by developers and government officials is a noble one that will benefit the population of Vietnam. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are already listed in the elite ten for the most dynamic cities on the planet. And with a blazing rate of new startups developing, Vietnam’s digital economy is proving it is a force to be reckoned with in Southeast Asia and globally.