The recent 2017 Innovation Forum at RMIT Vietnam’s Saigon South campus brought together experts to discuss the challenges and opportunities for Vietnam’s IT sector.
The one-day forum covered healthcare, education, sustainability, and IT, with the day’s final session focused specifically on disruptions in the IT sector.
From alley games centre to internet giant
Speaking in the session was RMIT Vietnam graduate Mr Khang Nguyen, now Lead Engineer at Singapore-based Parcel Perform, who shared his experience of Vietnamese games maker VNG.
“In 2004 Vietnam’s internet business had reached a tipping point…and VNG was one of the two major games makers,” recalled Mr Khang.
“The owner was a bank officer during the day and owned a games centre in an alley by night.
“Today VNG has already evolved into the status of an internet giant whose products have touched the lives of every internet user.”
While VNG has been a success story in the local market, Mr Khang concedes that the company is still trying to expand outside of the Vietnamese market and compete on the same tier as its regional competitors.
A model for success
Also speaking on the day was Ms Christy Le, Managing Director of FOSSIL Vietnam and VP of Operations for the FOSSIL Group, which acquired her startup, Misfit, designers of wearable tech, for $260 million in 2015.
“We made it in four years because we had great people,” she said, referring to the time from launch to sale, “so hiring was the single-most important DNA of the company.”
“By the time we sold it, we had around twenty PhD’s from some of the top universities in the world working for us.”
A qualified workforce
For Dr Edouard Amouroux, RMIT Vietnam Senior Lecturer and moderator of the IT session, developing a qualified workforce is integral to a thriving IT sector.
He praised Misfit for their ability to bring brilliant, PhD-qualified Vietnamese people back home to create an extremely advanced R&D department.
“What’s great is that companies like Fossil do not look for “IQ only,” he said, “but for people they can build better teams with and that are compatible with their company values.”
“This is something we continually emphasise at RMIT Vietnam. We continue to prepare work-ready graduates through a variety of work integrated learning experiences, our Personal Edge brand portfolio, and academic forums and networking opportunities like this one.”
Other speakers at the Disruptive Innovation in IT section of the forum included Professor Geoffrey Taylor from the University of Melbourne; Oscar Lopez Alegre, Director of Product and Engineering at Vietnamworks; and Adrian Tan, Founder of Vietnam Innovative Startup Accelerator.
Story: Jon Aspin