Key stakeholders and thought leaders discussed how Vietnam’s economy can contribute to and reap the benefits from the global digital economy at the annual International Business Forum, organised by RMIT Vietnam’s School of Business & Management.
To open the event, RMIT Asia Graduate Centre Head of Department, Associate Professor Victor Kane spoke about the Global Born concept as an emerging trend in Vietnam, as Vietnamese firms become more active in the digital economy.
“The global digital economy is estimated to be worth $11.5 trillion already and will continue to grow in the future,” Associate Professor Kane said. “According to the World Bank, success in Vietnam has already been achieved in disruptive ride-hailing services, e-commerce platforms and accommodation platforms challenge existing retail systems and Fintech and payment solution companies. Many of these firms are immediately connecting with customers and suppliers around the world.”
RMIT Vietnam Discipline Lead for the International Business program in the School of Business & Management Dr Nguyen Quang Trung described a Born Global firm as “a venture launched to exploit a global niche from the first day of its operations”; a powerful group with great potential in international business.
Based on recent rankings from many international organisations, Dr Trung revealed that there was not much improvement in the country’s competitiveness, ease of doing business, corruption perception index and e-government, however he said if Vietnam improved its public administration and maintained e-government rankings under 30, other elements could improve. He also added that the country’s high rank in the latest Global Innovation Index 2019 (top 50) and the digital index have shown a positive sign for the country’s participating global economy.
Former Minister of Vietnam’s Ministry of Science and Technology Dr Nguyen Quan said that even though there are still lots of challenges in developing a startup business, the startup ecosystem within Vietnam has been improved due to prompt actions from government and proactive approaches from businesses.
“The National Innovation Centre is being developed and is expected to be the nucleus for promoting the country’s economic development based on innovation, science and technology in the context of the rapidly changing Industry 4.0,” Dr Quan said. “It will prioritise work on smart factories, digital content, network security, smart cities and environmental technologies.”
Dr Quan also showed examples of SMEs developing an in-house research and development centre, including Vingroup and Rang Dong.
“Although it is a small size company, Rang Dong built its own research and development centre and improved the light bulb performance in its products which resulted in the expansion of its market share,” Mr Quan said.
According to Dr Quan, the upcoming policy around venture capital will also encourage more foreign venture capitals to invest in Vietnamese startups.
As a former CEO of many technology companies in Vietnam including Sony Ericsson Vietnam, Yahoo Vietnam and Microsoft Vietnam, Vice President of Cloud Services at VNG Corporation Vu Minh Tri shared five common factors of companies that can be successful on a global scale: they can address global problems, scale quickly, grow with the ecosystem, go beyond innovation, and pick the best of all worlds.
He used Kodak’s story as an example of industry disruption through innovation, and an Instagram case study to encourage startups to go beyond innovation.
“Kodak was very successful in terms of innovation,” he said. “They invented digital camera, colour film, and many marketing concepts that many companies still apply. In 1999, Kodak reached the market capital at $20.9 billion and employed 83,000 people.
“In 2013, one company was founded called Instagram. Today, the number of photos that go through this platform is very similar to the number of images Kodak processed in 1999 which is about 21.9 trillion, but there is no cost for that. Regardless how good Kodak innovates, one day a new company just gave away the whole business of Kodak and they filed for bankruptcy. Instagram sold to Facebook in 2018 with the validation of $35 billion and they had only 12 employees.”
For those who want to start a Born Global company, Dr Trung gave them a set of questions extracted from his research which was conducted with his colleague Born Global: Do you have what it takes?. These include a passion for adventure, an international outlook and international entrepreneurial orientation, a differentiation strategy, good health, comfort with risks, people skills, a willingness to embrace failure, an ability to leverage advanced information and communications technology, the right formula for corporate governance, and decision-making power.
Established in 2017, RMIT Vietnam’s annual International Business Forum brings stakeholders in the business and economic development industries together to create a space for vital discussions about economic and business themes in Vietnam. It also allows for inter-industry and inter-disciplinary networking. These stakeholders include industry experts, policy makers, local and foreign business experts and academics. A similar event will be hosted in Hanoi on 14 August.
Story: Ha Hoang