Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung has urged digital companies to innovate and develop platforms for online services as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has sparked a pressing need for Vietnam to hasten digital transformation.
Hung said the pandemic was posing considerable challenges but there were also opportunities.
“COVID-19 helps us change our thinking. It is a breaking point in the development process and many habits will change,” he said. “This provides the biggest opportunity to accelerate digital transformation and bring socio-economic activities online.”
“The world is now hard to predict, turbulence has become normal. We will have to face this coronavirus pandemic crisis, then we will learn how to increase resistance, toughness, creativity, adaptiveness and recovery ability,” he said.
“Digital technology will help solve the problems quickly,” he stressed. “It is time for the Government, enterprises and society to invest more intensively in digital technology.”
For example, the number of files for public services submitted online doubled in the past month, equal to the total figure of the previous 20 years.
Cashless payment and e-Government were highlighted as important solutions to fight the spread of COVID-19. Recently, banks slashed online transactions fees to promote cashless payment.
As technology shapes a stay-at-home economy in the COVID-19 outbreak, Hung urged Vietnamese firms to increase innovations to provide more online platforms for education, health, shopping and recreation.
The need for digital transformation was pressing as the pandemic would not only create a health crisis but also an economic crisis, which would result in increasing unemployment, he said.
“Success often comes from a crisis. It’s a precious opportunity for digital companies,” Hung said.
Dau Anh Tuan, head of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Legal Department, said encouraging the participation of enterprises in digital transformation and opening digital economy platforms would bring significant efficiency.
However, Tuan said the current legal system needed timely amendments to manage new business models efficiently and ensure the development of the digital economy is on track.
A clear example was tech-based cars like Grab and Be. It took six years for lawmakers to complete a decree regulating the operation of vehicles providing passenger transportation services via ride-hailing apps which will come into effect from the beginning of April.
Economic expert Vo Tri Thanh said the digital economy was an indispensable global trend and Vietnam could not stand outside, adding that successful digital transformation brought significant benefits to businesses like 30 percent higher labour productivity.
However, digital transformation was not simple, he said, adding that only half of enterprises embarking in the process succeeded.