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Innovation identified as strongest growth engine for Vietnam: Expert



The Vietnamese government would continue to put up efforts in revising and improving regulatory framework in order to accommodate fast changes in the field of technology.

Innovation is the strongest growth engine for Vietnam as the country aims to become a high middle-income country in the next 10 years.

Head of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s Economic Advisory Council Nguyen Duc Kien stressed the view at the virtual launch of World Bank’s new report today [February 24] with title “The Innovation Imperative for Developing East Asia.”

 Head of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s Economic Advisory Council Nguyen Duc Kien at the virtual launch. Photo: Hai Yen. 

According to Kien, one of the major challenges for Vietnam to achieve this goal is that a substantial part of Vietnam human resources is concentrated on labor-intensive industries.

“While this is the country’s advantage in the process of industrialization in the next 10 to 15 years, the lack of high skilled and technology competent workforces, however, will limit Vietnam’s capacity to accelerate in the next development stage and turning the country into a green economy,” Kien added.

“To address these challenges, macro-economic and intersectoral economic structure will need to be transformed toward modernization, and the education system be comprehensively reformed,“ he asserted.

 Source: World Bank. 

“Meanwhile, given small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) accounting for 97% of total number of operating firms in Vietnam, they are still slow in adopting new economic mindset and catching up with global modern technological trend, therefore, reforming corporate governance associated with technology and market innovation is an urgent requirement for Vietnam,” Kien stressed.

Kien noted the top priority for the government in the current period is actually influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic.   “The pandemic has totally changed the mindset of not only the government but also the public in the importance of technology and innovation,” he said.

“As a result, the government would continue to put up efforts in revising and improving regulatory framework in order to accommodate quick and fast changes in the field of technology,” Kien added.

 Source: World Bank. 

Kien suggested the country would adopt two approaches in the next five years, including a focus on improving infrastructure development to incentivize enterprises taking part in innovation and technologies application, while enhancing tech policies and mechanisms to  mobilize more resources from the private sector in R&D.

Action needed to spur innovation-led growth in Asia-Pacific

At the launch, Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific, stressed “the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, along with the fast-evolving global environment, have raised urgency for governments in the region to promote greater innovation through better policies.”

While developing East Asia is home to several high-profile innovators, data presented in the report show that most countries in the region (except China) innovate less than would be expected given their per capita income levels. Most firms operate far from the technological frontier. And the region is falling behind the advanced economies in the breadth and intensity of new technology use.

“Aside from some noteworthy examples, the vast majority of firms in developing East Asia are currently not innovating,” said Xavier Cirera, a lead author of the report. “A broad-based model of innovation is thus needed – that supports a large mass of firms in adopting new technologies, while also enabling more-sophisticated firms to undertake projects at the cutting edge.”

The report identifies several factors that impede innovation in the region, including inadequate information on new technologies, uncertainty about returns to innovation projects, weak firm capabilities, insufficient staff skills, and limited financing options. Moreover, countries’ innovation policies and institutions are often not aligned with firms’ capabilities and needs.

To spur innovation, the report argues that countries need to reorient policy to promote diffusion of existing technologies, not just invention; support innovation in the services sectors, not just manufacturing; and strengthen firms’ innovation capabilities.




Vietnamese firms urged to file for IP protection in foreign markets



Lục Ngạn lychee of Bắc Giang Province was protected geographical indication in Japan. Vietnamese firms are urged to pay more attention to register for intellectual property protection in foreign markets. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese firms should attach more importance to registering for intellectual property protection in foreign markets if they wish to develop brands abroad, according to the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP).

NOIP’s statistics show that there were about 50,000 applications for intellectual property protection in the domestic market but only around 280 applications for protection in foreign markets. This reflects that Vietnamese firms are not paying adequate attention to intellectual property protections in the import and export sector.

Phạm Ngọc Luận, CEO of Meet More Coffee, said that after exporting several batches of coffee to South Korea, his company proceeded to apply for protection of the Meet More brand. However, the application was rejected for the reason that the brand was already registered in the South Korean market.

Luận was surprised to learn that it was his company’s distribution partner who had registered the Meet More brand in the Republic of Korea. Fortunately, his company successfully negotiated with his distribution partner to get the rights to the name.

There are also lessons to learn from past trademark disputes in foreign markets for companies like Trung Nguyên Coffee, Vinataba, Bến Tre coconut candy or Phú Quốc fish sauce.

Most recently an application to trademark ST25 rice was lodged in the US to the ire of the local scientists who developed the new strain of rice.

NOIP’s Deputy Director Trần Lê Hồng said that Vietnamese firms must pay attention to building and protecting brands if they want to engage with foreign markets.

Hồng said that the protection of brands was territorial, meaning that if a trademark was protected in Việt Nam, this did not mean that the trademark was also protected in other markets. Businesses needed to consider registering for trademark protection in foreign countries, he stressed.

According to Nguyễn Quốc Thịnh from Thương Mại University, there are several reasons that make Vietnamese enterprises hesitant to register for trademark protection in foreign markets.

The first reason is the lack of awareness. Other reasons were that enterprises were discouraged by complicated procedures together with the high cost of registering in some markets that made it difficult for small and medium – sized enterprises. 

“It is time Vietnamese enterprises started to seriously consider establishing protection for their brands in foreign markets which is critical to their development,” Thịnh said.

According to Hồng, enterprises could get support from the NOIP to register brand protection abroad or get consultations from about 200 IP consultancy firms in Việt Nam.

Hồng said that the registry for trademark protection should be put into consideration together with a detailed business plan for specific markets. —


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Digital channels outperform TV in helping brands reach audiences in Southeast Asia



A study by Kantar and Facebook of 64 multi-media campaigns in six Southeast Asian markets including Việt Nam in 2016-20 found digital touch points to be more efficient than television in reaching consumers. — Photo courtesy of Facebook

HCM CITY— Digital channels have outperformed television in helping brands reach Southeast Asian audiences, according to a study by Kantar Cross Media Study and Facebook.

It examined 64 multi-media campaigns across six Southeast Asian markets including Việt Nam in 2016-20, finding that digital touch points were more important and impactful throughout the consumer journey.

Digital channels help brands reach more people, facilitate emotional connection and a sense of preference for brands, and turn the audience into consumers.

Especially during the pandemic, digital solutions showcase greater impact and value-for-money.

While the costs for TV are notably high, platforms like Facebook and YouTube are proving themselves two times more cost-effective in driving reach.

Overall, digital-led campaigns commit higher return-on-investment, increasing, notably, motivation to purchase 1.5 times. 

Among digital channels, Facebook is the top platform, helping brands achieve efficacy across indicators and optimise their budget.

According to key insights shared at the recent Facebook Video Summit, the time spent using social media in Việt Nam increased by over 40 per cent between 2013 and 2020.

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, 89 per cent of users said, social networks help them engage more and better with businesses. 

Bryan Võ, marketing science partner, Facebook Vietnam, said: “Digital channels are now increasingly prioritised by brands, thanks to their high efficacy in driving brand and sales impact at a lower cost compared to traditional channels.” —


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Ninh Thuận shifts towards ‘green economy’



Trung Nam Group’s wind farm in Ninh Thuận Province is the largest in Việt Nam. — VNA/ Photo Công Thử

HCM CITY — The south-central province of Ninh Thuận saw a strong economic growth rate of more than 12 per cent over the last two years, thanks to advantages in marine economy and renewable energy.

In the past five years, the province’s development orientation has shifted to a green economy for sustainable development, and economic competitiveness and efficiency.

It prioritizes energy; tourism; agriculture; forestry and fishery; industry; education and training; and construction and real estate. These groups of industries are expected to contribute 91 per cent to the province’s GDP and 85 per cent of  jobs.

According to the province’s Statistics Office, the province’s total state budget revenue in the first five months of this year reached about VNĐ1.8 trillion (US$78.4 million), equivalent to its state budget revenue in 2015.

Last year, the province’s gross regional domestic product (​GRDP) was estimated at 12 per cent. Meanwhile, its total state budget revenue was estimated at VNĐ3.9 trillion ($169.8 million), exceeding 11.4 per cent of the plan.

The industrial production value reached nearly VNĐ17 trillion ($740 million) last year, a year-on-year increase of 22.5 per cent.

The value of the solar power sector rose by 147.8 per cent and the wind power sector increased by 58.5 per cent.

Provincial tourism has strongly developed in the past five years. The province has advantages in tourism development, with 59 cultural heritage sites, and unspoiled beaches and islands.

The 100km-long coast from Thuận Bắc District’s Công Hải Commune to Thuận Nam District’s Cà Ná Commune offers a charming natural landscape. On one side is the primaeval forest and on the other the blue ocean.

There are popular tourist attractions such as Vĩnh Hy Bay, Rái Cave, Ninh Chữ – Bình Sơn beach, Cà Ná beach, Mũi Dinh (Dinh Headland) and Thái An Vineyard.

The province also offers favourable weather for exploiting the potential of marine sports and activities. However, only the Tanyoli Tourist Area in Ninh Phước District’s Phước Dinh Commune provides tourists with marine sport tourism services.

Phan Tấn Cảnh, deputy chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said the committee had approved a plan to build a sports complex on the beach along Đông Hải Ward in Phan Rang-Tháp Chàm City.

It will serve both locals and tourists, including a sports centre designed for windsurfing, parasailing, flyboarding and scuba diving. It will help Phan Rang – Tháp Chàm City become the first metropolis in experiential tourism in the region.

Nguyễn Đức Chi, the investor of Ninh Chữ Sailing Bay project, said the province was catching up with current tourism development trends.

Phan Rang-Tháp Chàm will be the first locality in the country developing beach resorts combined with experiential tourism services.

Other tourist cities such as Nha Trang, Đà Lạt, and Phan Thiết cities are lacking experiential tourism services. “There will be a great opportunity for the province to become a high-quality experiential tourism hub,” he said.

Wind power combined with eco-tourism

Dr Dư Văn Toán from the Việt Nam Institute of Seas and Islands said Ninh Thuận should move toward combining wind power with eco-tourism to boost the local economy.

For example, a wind power plant built in a coastal area in southwest France has earned higher revenue from tourism than wind power generation.

According to CBRE Việt Nam’s research and consulting department, tourism companies could work with investors of wind power projects on creating tours to wind farms including education on wind power and renewable energy.

The provincial People’s Committee has urged the Department of Industry and Trade to build a plan to turn Ninh Thuận into the country’s renewable energy centre.

The Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has been assigned to give investment priority to areas with potential for marine tourism development.

The province targets 3.5 million visitors by 2025 and six million visitors by 2030.

By 2025, the province’s economic growth is expected to rise by 1.9 times compared to 2020.

Its GRDP could reach about VNĐ6.5 trillion ($282.3 million). The marine economy would account for 42 per cent. —


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