Speakers at the 2019 Economic Forum organised in HCM City on Thursday by Forbes Việt Nam, which this year had the theme “Navigating the Digital Age”. VNA/VNS Photo Mỹ Phương
HCM CITY — To transition from a natural resources-based labour intensive economy to a knowledge-based economy, VIệt Nam should acquire a high-skilled workforce that can navigate the digital transformation, experts have said.
Speaking at an economic forum in the city on Thursday, Dr Trần Đình Thiên, member of the National Monetary and Financial Policy Advisory Council, said Việt Nam as an open economy should prepare to deal with the risks and impacts of the international economic and technological upheaval.
Its economy had been growing based on two pillars, exports and investment, he said.
It had maintained strong growth over the past three years, especially in the first half of this year, due to the Government’s ongoing efforts to reform policies, he said.
Việt Nam was committed to reform and becoming an attractive destination after signing new-generation free trade deals such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU- Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), he said.
“Digital transformation is considered one of the opportunities for a country to integrate.”
The US-China trade war was causing uncertainty in the global economy, with the confrontation between the world’s two largest economies having negative implications for trade, investment and monetary policy, experts said.
Delegates said Việt Nam should prepare for all kinds of risks and impacts from the trade war to capitalise on the opportunity brought about by the digital economy.
Risks and challenges must be identified during the digital transformation era to ensure Việt Nam continues to grow and become prosperous, they said.
Dr Chua Hak Bin, senior economist at Maybank Kim Eng, said impacts were “inevitable” especially since Việt Nam was an open economy.
The country’s exports to the US had increased by more than 30 per cent in recent years, indicating opportunities for participation in global supply chains, he said.
As for FDI inflows, Việt Nam had become the most attractive market in Southeast Asia after only Singapore, he said.
Besides, the FDI coming to the country was diverse, stable and not dependent on any single source, he said.
Việt Nam should continue to offer incentives to promote FDI into production activities, he said.
Nguyễn Đức Thuấn, founder and general director of TBS Group, said Việt Nam’s average income and labour productivity remained low, forcing the country to enhance digital governance and labour productivity to improve its competitiveness.
The Government should support businesses with building digital databases and adopt digital technologies, he said.
A study by Tufts University in the US ranked Việt Nam 48th out of 60 countries in adoption of digital transformation.
The technological revolution had been disrupting many of the conventional industries, enabling breakthroughs for companies, which promptly switch business strategies and approaches to the market, he said.
Dr Nguyễn An Nguyên, CEO and founder of Trusting Social, said the digital economy gave businesses access to large databases, and so how to take advantage of the digital economy held the key to businesses’ success.
“Digital transformation requires businesses to change business models and develop new markets.”
Bruce Delteil, partner, McKinsey& Company, said strategic planning was vital and business leaders needed to work with their human resources teams to usher in a creative culture in the company.
At the event, Forbes Việt Nam honoured the 50 best listed companies for the seventh year.
Business leaders shared their insights and strategies on developing human resources to grow sustainable businesses.
The Asian Development Bank estimates Việt Nam’s economy will grow by 6.8 per cent this year, the highest rate in the region.
The first half of the year has seen a favourable business environment with steady interest and exchange rates, low inflation and steady growth of the industrial and service sectors.
In recent years the online platform economy has created disruptions in transportation, accommodation, tourism, and finance.
More than 500 leading business executives and economists took part in the business forum titled “Navigating the Digital Age”, which was organised by Forbes Việt Nam. — VNS