Global Opportunities

Strong IT development and opportunities for Swiss SMEs in Vietnam

Vietnam currently has a strong growth in the IT industry, which provide new market and cooperation opportunities for Swiss SMEs. The development is particularly strong in the telecommunication infrastructure, in the hardware and software industry, in the digital content industry and in IT human resources.

View of a man using a tablet computer

Vietnam has a stable political status and is considered one of the fastest growing economies. In 2017, Vietnam's GDP growth reached 6.81%, 6.21% in 2016 and 6.68% in 2015. According to the World Economic Forum, Hanoi ranked  8th and Ho Chi Minh City  2nd on the list of the most dynamic cities in the world, making Vietnam an ideal destination for startups.

Vietnam finds itself in a period of golden age with over 65% of its population under the age of 35. Mathematics and IT are the top choices of Vietnamese students. With 290 universities having IT majors and 55,000 students enrolled each year, Vietnam is now a very attractive country of plentiful young and capable IT human resources.

The IT industry in Vietnam has developed strongly and become an important infrastructure for socio-economic development. It has also been a new way of generating national competitiveness. The industry’s revenue in 2017 is estimated at over USD 70 billion. Building and developing IT human resources with new technological capabilities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is strongly supported by the Government of Vietnam with a number of open policies and special support.

1. Telecommunication infrastructure, IT

By mid-2017, Vietnam, with 126 million mobile subscribers and over 56 million Internet users, representing 54.19% of the country's population, is the 12th-highest Internet user in the world and ranked the sixth out of 35 countries / territories in Asia. So far, 77 telecommunication service providers and 52 Internet service providers are operating in the country. The total Internet bandwidth used by the international Internet (estimated 2017) is 5,370,096 Mbps. 

2. Hardware Industry

The hardware industry in 2017 has made a remarkable contribution to the total IT industry revenue of Vietnam with over 60 billion USD, accounting for over 86% of the total revenue of the industry with about 3,500 enterprises. Many big tech corporations in the world have invested billions of dollars to build electronic components factories in Vietnam such as Samsung Group with 8 factories and one R&D center with total investment capital of USD 17.3 billion and over 170,000 employees.

3. Software Industry

The Vietnam software industry has developed strongly in terms of turnover and number of enterprises. The total turnover of the software and digital content industry in Vietnam in 2017 is over USD 3 billion, turnover of IT services is over USD 6 billion and software export is over USD 1 billion. Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi ranked among the top 20 cities in the world for software outsourcing and services. In the Cushman & Wakefield rankings in 2016, Vietnam is No. 1 in the world for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). In addition, Gartner publishes a report "Assessment of IT Outsourcing Services of countries in the Asia-Pacific Region in 2016". According the report, Vietnam was ranked as one of the top six places in the world for Technology transfer of the Asia-Pacific region.

At present, there are 25 Vietnamese software enterprises achieving CMMi certification, of which 5 are CMMi level 5 (FPT Software, Luxoft, Global Cybersoft, Harvey Nash Vietnam and Toshiba Vietnam). The number of CMMi-certified software companies exceeds that of Singapore, the Philippines and Malaysia.

4. IT human resources

Human resources are the great advantage of Vietnam IT industry. According to the Ministry of Information and Communications, the total number of employees in the IT sector is 780,926 (2016), about 300,000 of which are working in the hardware and electronics industry. The rest belong to the software and digital content industry. The Government of Vietnam has set a target of 1 million IT engineers and issued many special policies to achieve this goal by 2022.

According to HackerRank, Vietnam is ranked the second in Southeast Asian countries and the 23rd in the top 50 countries by having the best programmers in the world.

5. Digital Content Industry

The industry’s revenue in 2017 was about USD 1 billion with the number of registered businesses at nearly 3,000, employing over 46,000 employees. From 2015 up to now, the digital content market has changed direction and developed strongly. Mobile content services are growing rapidly. 

Vietnam is also the 7th country in the world in terms of Facebook account users. There are 58 million active Facebook accounts in Vietnam, up 5% in the first quarter, and 16% more than in the same period of the last year. With these figures, the digital content industry is expected to continue to grow strongly in the coming time, bringing significant revenue to the IT industry in Vietnam.

Opportunities for Swiss SMEs 

Swiss SMEs can either

  • introduce themselves to benefit from the strong growth of this promising market  (i.e. Telecommunication Infrastructure,  Digital Content) or
  • cooperate with local suppliers to enhance their competitiveness.

In 2019 S-GE organizes, in cooperation with the Vietnam Office of the Swiss Business Hub ASEAN, a Fact Finding Mission for Swiss SMEs to meet major Vietnamese ICT companies, network with industry representatives and visit one of important events in the sector in Vietnam during the trip. For further information please don’t hesitate to contact Angela Di Rosa, Senior Consultant East Asia. 

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