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Vietnam’s development is happening via IT

While their secretary general Hamadoun Touré was visiting Vietnam, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) stated that Vietnam is eighth in the world in terms of mobile phones and penetration rates of subscriptions. So now is a good time to look at the development of the IT sector in Vietnam as well as prospects for the future.

The IT boom in Vietnam over the last 10 years

Vietnam’s mobile phone penetration rate of 175% means that there are almost two mobile phone subscriptions for each person in Vietnam. This figure is a good indicator of Vietnam’s development in information and communication technology (ICT) over the last ten years.

Although Vietnam was only connected to the internet in 1997, the country has seen the number of internet users rise a hundred-fold in 10 years: 31.1% of Vietnamese were connected in December 2010 compared to 3.8% in December 2003! In addition, 3G technology has been particularly successful: 8 million subscriptions have been registered in Vietnam since the network launched in August 2009 with a coverage rate of between 55% and 95%, depending on the region.

While these advances have allowed the Vietnamese to increase communication with foreign countries, it also means that the national telecommunications sector has been able to integrate more rapidly with global telecommunications. According to the White book on information and communication technologies in Vietnam 2011, the ICT sector’s turnover rose in 2010 to almost 17 billion dollars, 19 times more than in 2000.

Current successes and future ambitions

The Vietnamese authorities have announced that ICT will be key to achieving the ‘Millennium Development Goals’ set by the United Nations.

The ITU secretary general’s visit highlights the development of IT in Vietnam and its future. Thanks to infrastructure improvements, the Vietnamese government hopes to make information technologies the country’s driving force over the next 10 years. Via the launch of the satellites Vinasat-1 and Vinasat-2 (planned), the Vietnamese government wanted to show Hamadoun Touré that Vietnam has made great strides in terms of ICT.

Projects to promote ICT are focussing their efforts on high speed internet and network security. Vietnam also thinks that this development should take place via private enterprise, in particular from foreign companies. Among the different measures taken to place IT at the heart of the Vietnamese economy, the opening up of investment to the private sector and reinforcement of  international cooperation seem to be two positive signals for Officience.

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