|Workers make Nacur Vital - a healthy food product in Sai Gon Hi-tech park. The product reflects the increased use of nano technology to enhance the value of traditional herbs in Viet Nam. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hai
HCM CITY (VNS) — Science and technology enterprises will play a more important role in the near future, especially after Viet Nam integrates more deeply into the global economy, speakers said at a sci-tech development seminar held yesterday in HCM City.
Speaking at the seminar, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Tran Van Tung said: "Local science and technology enterprises will help our economy integrate into the global knowledge economy. That is the best way to develop."
About 204 science and technology enterprises exist in Viet Nam, doing business in information and communications technology, bio-technology, new materials, engineering and automation, and environmental technology.
According to the Ministry of Science and Technology's Science and Technology Enterprises and Market Development Department, eight of the enterprises have stopped operating or moved to other fields, representing 4 per cent of the total businesses in this field.
For the first 10 months of this year, about 68,000 of all enterprises nationwide temporarily stopped operating or closed, accounting for more than 14 per cent of total enterprises.
"Science and technology enterprises have adapted to the global and Vietnamese economic downturn thanks to proper development strategy, more sci-tech application in business, and improvement of capacity and quality of products," Tran Xuan Dich, head of the department, said.
Many enterprises have established research and development centres, and have focused on human resource training. They have also created new products based on modern technologies.
Others have co-operated with universities and institutes in research or have received technology transfer.
"These enterprises have actively contributed to the national development of science and technology and have created a competitive climate for local enterprises. They have encouraged the business community to use technology in production," Dich added.
Intellectual property rights and copyright protection have also been more widely applied by enterprises.
Last year, 61 of 204 sci-tech enterprises gained total revenue of VND11.4 trillion (US$500 million) or 0.29 per cent of national GDP. The average number of labourers was 87, with monthly income at an average of VND6.2 million ($280).
However, most of these enterprises have limited infrastructure for production due to a shortage of capital. In addition, administrative procedures for science and technology are still cumbersome.
Furthermore, it is still difficult to bring technology research results to the market because production is still new.
State management offices also have problems keeping current with the latest technology trends. And there are no standards and regulations for these kinds of products.
"This has reduced opportunity for new technology products even though they have met market demand," Dich added.
Moreover, when State offices release regulations for these products, they have become out of date.
Another problem is the reluctance of many Vietnamese people to use locally made technology. Even State offices want to use foreign rather than local products, even though the local ones have the same quality at a lower price.
State projects also do not place a priority on local science and technology products.
Another challenge for young companies is meeting marketing demands. Many products of these companies are intended to serve low-income customers, especially in agriculture, forestry and fishery. This group is more reluctant to spend money.
In 2016, the number of science and technology enterprises is expected to double, reaching 400.
"A legal framework to support enterprises must be completed, especially for incentive policies and establishment conditions," he said.
Dich also asked each locality to prioritise development of sci-tech enterprises.
"Public communication must be enhanced on State policies for science and technology enterprises," he said.
In a related matter, the Vietnamese brand name centre recently signed a co-operation memorandum with the department on a new programme called "Assisting construction and development of science and technology enterprises."
The programme aims to create favourable conditions for enterprises which conduct engage in research and innovation as well as make good products; and to assist enterprises in applying science and technology to production.
The Prime Minister has set a goal of having 5,000 science and technology enterprises by 2020. — VNS