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|WEF ASEAN 2018 will provide vast opportunities for enterprises to learn experience and improve their competitiveness, Photo: Le Toan|
For years, Truong Gia Binh, chairman of FPT Group – Vietnam’s IT leader – has participated at almost all events within the World Economic Forum (WEF), which is considered a global forum for great ideas by global economic leaders.
“More accurately, the WEF should be regarded as a market of ideas, in which FPT can look for partners who are global corporations with new products and novel ideas like Airbus. FPT have seen lots of opportunities from the WEF,” Binh said.
Last month, FPT and Intellinet, a US-based purpose-driven management consulting and technology services firm, reached an agreement for FPT to become its major shareholder, expanding FPT’s footprint in the US.
This partnership enables both firms to deliver end-to-end strategic IT services on a global scale, helping clients to accelerate their digital transformation journey. With a team of 150 Intellinet consultants joining FPT’s taskforce, the two companies can provide a full range of technology solutions to clients worldwide, including consultancy, requirement definition, system design, development, implementation, and maintenance.
“Becoming a technology partner of global enterprises in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we realise that there exists a huge demand for digital transformation consultancy and implementation services. By making a strategic investment in Intellinet, FPT is now more than ready to provide comprehensive digital transformation solutions for top companies, elevating Vietnam’s position on the global technology map,” Binh said.
Currently, FPT is preparing to partake in the WEF on ASEAN 2018 (WEF ASEAN 2018) scheduled to take place in Hanoi on September 11-13.
“This event will be like a big market where investment and business ideas are exchanged, which will help FPT seek new partners,” Binh said.
“Businesses and investors in Vietnam can learn from the experience of global companies. In some cases, your company can change its business strategy completely thanks to a single word of wisdom from a foreign partner. Then your company’s future will be quite different from what you currently envisage,” he said.
A dynamic economy
At a press conference on the WEF ASEAN 2018 held late last month in Hanoi, the WEF’s president Borge Brende stressed that the Vietnamese economy has grown from strength to strength over the past few years, making the country one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
“Vietnam grew by nearly 7 per cent last year, which is an impressive achievement,” Brende said. “Vietnam has been highly valued by many international organisations thanks to its unceasing efforts in improving its business climate.”
Justin Wood, head of Asia Pacific and member of the executive committee at the WEF, told VIR that Vietnam has been opening up and engaging in the international community on many fronts, but particularly from an economic perspective.
“If you look at the country’s trade, you’ll see that Vietnam’s trade volume has grown significantly. The Vietnamese government is also pursuing many free trade agreements, which have and will give many opportunities to Vietnam,” Wood said.
“Also, if you look at foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam, it has increased to a record level. So I think it’s clear that over recent years, Vietnam’s position in the world has become much more integrated and much more connected.”
Vietnam’s total export-import turnover hit a record figure of $425 billion last year, and $308.07 billion in in the first eight months of this year, when the country enjoyed a trade surplus of $2.75 billion. As of August 20, 129 nations and territories invested in Vietnam, with the total registered capital of over $333.83 billion.
Vietnam’s position has been improving in the international arena. Vietnam has made steady progress in improving its investment climate, as evidenced by higher scores on the WEF’s competitiveness index (up five points to 55th in the world), and the 2018 World Bank ease of doing business ranking (68th in the world, up 31 places since 2014).
“All of this shows that Vietnam’s business and investment climate is improving,” Wood said.
“I believe that by bringing the global business community to Vietnam, it provides a fantastic opportunity for the country to talk about its reform process, the way to steer the economy in a new direction, and efforts by the government on improving the business and investment landscape,” he continued.
Forum for ideas
The Vietnamese government and the WEF will jointly organise the WEF ASEAN 2018, which will welcome eight ASEAN heads of state or government and top public figures from South Korea, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. The event will take place under the theme “ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
According to WEF leaders, there will be lots of strong, positive stories about Vietnam at this event, and the global business community will have an opportunity to hear these stories and share them with the world.
“There are many startup businesses in Vietnam, and we will have opportunities to meet and connect them with global companies at the WEF ASEAN 2018,” Brende said. “We will bring more than 100 successful ASEAN businesses to the event this time. Hopefully, this will inspire all startup businesses there.”
Issues to be discussed at the meeting include Asia’s new balance of power, Asia’s next frontier, the future of jobs in ASEAN, Asia’s economic outlook, accelerating the ASEAN Economic Community, ASEAN pluralism, and designing cities 4.0.
Topics surrounding Industry 4.0, including emerging technologies like autonomous vehicles, blockchain, drones, and fintech, will also be highlighted. The meeting will also include workplace sessions on topics such as sexual harassment at work, and workplace 4.0.
“Vietnam has become one of the strong points of interest at the WEF ASEAN 2018 event, because the global business community has recognised the rising influence and importance of Vietnam. They want to come here. They want to understand what the country is doing. They want to understand how Vietnam is integrating into the ASEAN region and the world,” Wood said.
One of the ideas the WEF leaders want to share with Vietnam is the need for the country to invest more into education and training, and application of technologies related to artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, the Internet of Things, and blockchain, in a bid to develop itself into a digital economy in line with Industry 4.0.
“If you want to visualise everything in the 21st century, you would need all these technologies, which means adequate research and development resources have to be provided. Please invest more in students, universities, and technology,” Brende said.
Binh of FPT said that the group, along with hundreds of thousands of other Vietnamese companies, wishes to play a bigger role on the global playing field. “One of the most important things is that we need a spirit of innovation and big thinking. The WEF ASEAN 2018 will offer great opportunities not only to FPT, but to all businesses in Vietnam,” Binh said.