VietNamNet Bridge – The initial success in the software industry gives an important reason to Vietnam to continue making heavy investment in developing software products.
Experts believe that Vietnam should learn the experiences of building up the software industry from India, where most of the information technology firms are software firms.
India has been gathering its strength on developing the software industry, while it has been outsourcing hardware projects to the partners from Vietnam and China. The result of the strategy is that the country’s software industry has been developing very strongly, now making up 17 percent of GDP of the country.
At present, software is not the big advantage of Vietnam, and it is not the sector that brings the highest turnover in the information technology. However, experts believe that software should be seen as the industry of the future.
Though Vietnam is not a big name in the world’s software firms’ map at all, made-in-Vietnam products, to some extend, have successfully conquered the world market. CMCSoft, FPT IS, Hanel, Misa or Tinh Van are the Vietnamese well known names in the international market, while BKAV, CMC InfoSec, FPT IS, Lạc Việt, VTC Mobile, AVSoft Corp. have been famous for utility software.
Developing the software industry is the way the government tries to drive information technology firms to.
Truong Gia Binh, President of FPT, the country’s biggest technology group, said FPT IS, a subsidiary of FPT, has been setting up most of the big information systems of the nation, including the personal income tax payment management system and the e-customs clearance system. The manufacturer is the author of more than 60 percent of the national software systems.
Also according to Binh, software export is not the sector which brings the biggest turnover to the group, but brings the second biggest profit, while having created 5,000 jobs.
CMC Soft, another big guy, has also marketed a series of application software products, including the ones for document management eocman Plus, the corporate information management C-Office and the one-stop-shop administration management eDocman One.
Experts, when affirming that the right way for Vietnam is to develop the software industry, said that Vietnamese are capable enough to make software products. VNG with its successful Zalo, showed that Vietnamese can create the software products competitive with the big guys in the world.
The success of BKAV, FPT IS showed that Vietnamese have sufficient grey matter to create high quality products.
Why software, and not hardware?
Hoang Manh Cuong, a well-known information expert, said that since Vietnam lacks capital for RD, lacks supporting industries, it cannot make the products with the low prices like Chinese products.
The development of the Vietnamese hardware industry, like the automobile industry, would reduce to a nonplus. Vietnam has been trying to develop the automobile industry for the last many years, but until now, it has been just assembling cars instead of manufacturing cars.
Cuong believes that Vietnam should go the easier way – the software industry development – which is more suitable to its capability.
Chu Tien Dung, Chair of the HCM City Informatics Association, said the hardware enterprises should think of shifting to other types of business, though it is not an easy task. He thinks that it’d be better for them to make the supporting products to provide to foreign invested enterprises.