HA NOI — Now that it has been classed as a medium-income country, Viet Nam is encouraging the development of industrial clusters, a smaller version of industrial zones or parks.
This was stated by Nguyen Trong Hieu, deputy director of the Ministry of Planning and Investment's Enterprises Development Agency at a workshop on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Ha Noi on Thursday.
Hieu said pilot schemes, backed with US$3.7 million from the Italian goverment three years ago, were set up in three sectors — garments and textiles, wood processing and furniture, and leather and footwear.
Industrial clusters are concentrations of small and medium enterprises operating in the same value chain and connected by a dense network of business linkages.
This creates efficiency and competitiveness through complementary specialisation and co-operation for innovation.
Industrial clusters can increase business productivity because they support new and improved technology, the development of human resources and the expansion of markets.
The workshop was run by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
The Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment is backing the development. It is also supporting Italian SMEs in Asia through trade promotion and technical co-operation agreements between enterprises.
"Viet Nam has a large number of SMEs suitable for industrial clusters," Hieu said. He said there were many potential sectors for industrial clusters, such as textiles, footwear, furniture and seafood processing.
"Cluster grouping enhances competitiveness by improving productivity, encouraging start-up innovations, including competitor enterprises, and creating new opportunities for business activities," Hieu said.
He added that the approach to industrial clusters was still new and that the legal framework for cluster development was not clear.
The fact showed that provinces were forming clusters by simply filling up space and not adding to a value-chain network.
The deputy director suggested that potential models of industrial clusters should be selected and used as the basis for expansion and creating a legal foundation.
Francesco Russo, the project's chief technical adviser, said the three sectors had been chosen for pilots in HCM City, Ha Noi, Hung Yen Province and Binh Duong Province.
"The sectors have been among top five Vietnamese exporters. However, they are known for low added value, low integration and the need for better design and marketing capacity," Russo said. — VNS