Vietnam Business Channel

Vietnam’s government can buy technology products from startups

Nguyen Manh Hung, Minister of Information and Communications, said at a recent forum in central Da Nang City that government spending should focus on technology products, especially from startups, to create a growth momentum. Minister Nguyen said
"The government is the biggest spender in a country. Wherever it spends money, there will be growth."

Minister Nguyen’s remarks follow those of Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc who told participants at the recent Youth Startups Forum 2018 in Hanoi that: “The Vietnamese government is willing to make changes in regulations to facilitate the timely funding of startups.”

Minister of Information Nguyen encouraged large corporations to invest in smaller startups with a ‘big brother’ approach so that they can take advantage of the youth’s innovation and creativity. The minister also said that State-Owned Enterprises (SOE’s) should also consider policies that will allow them to procure technology from startups.

The minister said that SOE’s make up 30% of Vietnam’s economy, and that they should establish their own investment funds to promote innovation. Once the environment and capital conditions are favorable, the remaining obstacles for startups’ products to reach a global scale, is the language barrier and marketing.

Minister Hung suggested that in order to alleviate challenges posed by language for Vietnamese youth that the Prime Minister declare English as the second official language of Vietnam and that the level English-language skills among students be raised.

At the Da Nang forum, speakers stressed that other than investment funding; the amount of red tape that new companies encounter can discourage both local and international investors. Tech startups rely heavily on new technology, but they run into difficulties in testing and marketing their new products, as they have to be licensed just like traditional technological products.

At the National Startup Technology Festival 2018 (Techfest 2018) that was held in Da Nang last week, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also stressed the need for a network that brings people from different capabilities such as governance, technology, finance and marketing. The prime minister said this would form the heart of the startup ecosystem, and that the country should also establish a national startup center.

Prime Minister Nguyen said that the center should be located in the cities of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang. He said the government is committed to co-financing and deploying necessary resources, but will not run the center with a bureaucracy that would discourage the minds of creative entrepreneurs.