Repositioning for the prime trade dynamic

08:00 | 30/12/2019
The start of the new decade is anticipated to provide breakthroughs in the Vietnamese economy due to the impact of both technology and global events.
repositioning for the prime trade dynamic
Global shifts will affect Vietnam’s ability to capitalise on its growth momentum

This was the content of discussions entitled “Vietnam 2020: Global Disruptions, Local Opportunities” recently held by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in co-ordination with Publicis Groupe, a global public relations and integrated communications partner, in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

As one of the two keynote speakers, Peter Schwartz, advisor on strategic futures to Singaporean government and head of strategic futures at salesforce.com, said that technology revolutions will ensure a wave of innovation and tech radically transforming our lives. “Every customer is potentially connected with smart, always-on devices and real-time interactions. The world will soon be a personal data economy where data is the new oil and we are the wells.”

According to Schwartz, there can be more than 1,500 pieces of relevant information per consumer. Although this will be beneficial to both parties, there is an increasing imbalance of power. “The risks and uncertainties include – but are not limited to – those associated with developing and delivering new functionality for our service, new products and services, and our new business model,” he said.

Besides this, Schwartz also pointed out the huge impacts of AI which reflects the values of its creators and should be remedied by inclusivity and transparency.

“To reduce the bias of AI, we should utilise training data sets reflective of diverse problem sets, develop diverse teams to work on AI, and audit both existing and new software to identify,” he said. “AI is going to have massively positive benefits for a country like Vietnam. Everyone needs to stop worrying that robots and AI will take all the jobs.”

According to Schwartz, new jobs will be created for humans in the Internet of Things, life assistance, remote operators, and AI auditors. “The most important skill is how to learn and relearn,” he added.

Mentioning Vietnam’s large number of free trade agreements (FTA), Schwarz reaffirmed that the country now has access to 55 per cent of global GDP. “When you attract investment to this country, you’re not going to serve a market that’s just here. You can serve all these different markets, from Vietnam as a manufacturer, as a services hub, and this is very, very important,” he explained. “This gives you one of the greatest free trade networks in the world.”

Meanwhile, Michael McAdoo, global US-China trade advisor to BCG, said that the global trade dispute is going to go on for a long time, noting that it is not just about trade anymore, but also about technology.

“Vietnam is well-positioned to benefit from current trade dynamics. Actually, the country has picked up flows from US-China dynamics and is experiencing large foreign direct investment growth,” McAdoo said. “With its competitive advantage on manufacturing cost and proximity with China, Vietnam can increase trade flow by leveraging current and new FTAs, which are necessary to capitalise on global concerns over technology, in order to build up the tech sector.”

However, according to McAdoo, capacity bottlenecks and risks of being drawn into trade tensions are two major challenges for Vietnam that companies and governments need to be proactive, rather than reactive. “Leading businesses and governments should take action to achieve an advantage. Vietnam is doing unbelievably well right now, but it urgently needs to build a sophisticated lobby to represent its interests and start to think about what’s next for trade agreements, and that means the likes of the United States and India.”

repositioning for the prime trade dynamic
Lukasz Roszczyc - CEO, Publicis Groupe Vietnam

As one of 100 CEOs operating in Vietnam and the co-organiser of the discussions, Lukasz Roszczyc, CEO of Publicis Groupe, told VIR that the event was one of the best platforms for ideation in 2019 to talk about transformative shifts that would impact Vietnam and businesses in the upcoming decade.

“The shifts could be seen as threatening challenges or massive opportunities for growth, and excitingly after the keynote speeches here, we have seen excitement and optimism among a number of business executives,” said Roszcyzc. “We believe that connecting business with technology and creativity is the formula to succeed now and in the foreseeable future. With over 400 communication experts in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, we are ready for an exciting 2020 and we are already deploying our first projects.”

By Phuong Hao

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