VietNamNet Bridge – Weak in creativeness, lacking the qualified labor force,
while having no considerable support from the State, digital content firms have
been living, but in poor conditions.
In the digital content industry, creating content is the most important factor
for any firms to compete with others to exist. However, Vietnamese digital
content firms now have problems in technical creativeness, according to Le Hong
Minh, General Director of VNG.
Some months ago, VNG implemented an online game project for the Japanese market.
Since it was an important project, VNG prepared 20 workers during 8 months,
which included 10 workers specializing in drawing. However, despite the thorough
preparation, 50 percent of the images were refused by the Japanese partner.
After that, VNG hurried to look for the specialists in the field on all hi-tech
forums. However, after one month of implementing the project with the
specialists, the percentage of images refused by the Japanese partner rose to 95
percent. Especially, the Japanese partner pointed out some images which were the
“copied products,” not creative products.
The chronic disease of the digital content industry is the lack of a qualified
labor force. After five years of development, the online game industry has not
made any considerable progress. It is estimated that there are only 1,000 people
who can work in the industry, and most of them have not undergone any training
course in the field, because there is no such training establishment in Vietnam.
Meanwhile, the figures are 100,000 in South Korea and 300,000 in China. This
explains why Vietnamese games are always inferior to foreign ones.
VNG once tasted failure when it launched Thuan Thien Kiem game onto the market.
VNG spent 4 years to make the game and made heavy investment on the project. It
even invited Mai Phuong Thuy, the 2006 Miss Vietnam to act as the representative
and participate in promotion activities.
However, the game still could not find players. It was because the quality of
the game was far below that of South Korean and Chinese products.
Policies don’t encourage digital content firms
Digital content firms have many times call for the state’s support to help
develop the fledgling industry.
The government, aware of the problems of the industry, has laid out some
policies with offered investment incentives to encourage enterprises to invest
in the field.
However, Minh said the policies are not transparent, while government agencies
have been very slow in setting up policies. Meanwhile, Facebook only needed one
year to increase the number of Vietnamese members from 3 million to 12 million.
It takes only six months to make a foreign game popular with the highest number
of players in Vietnam.
Dr. Nguyen Trong Duong, Director of the Information Technology Department of the
Ministry of Information and Communication, has admitted that the current
regulations on the preferences for the digital content industry are vague, which
cannot help the firms in the industry.
The government, for example, has stipulated a series of incentives for digital
content firms in the Decree 108. However, in fact, the firms still cannot enjoy
the incentives, simply because there has been no definition about what the
“digital content production” means.
In Vietnam, very few enterprises only specialize in making and selling products.
The majority of enterprises make products just to sell services. Since it’s
difficult to differentiate the production and the service providing, a lot of
digital content firms cannot enjoy tax incentives.