Information & Communication Technologies
Among fastest-growing sectors in Vietnam, spurred by diigital transformation at both government and business levels
The government of Vietnam has identified ICT as a major industry sector and socio-economic growth driver and is urging government agencies at all levels to apply advanced ICT solutions towards the goals of improving operational efficiencies and providing better governance services. Specifically, the Vietnam government has approved the National Digital Transformation Program through 2025, with vision to 2030, which will further support the growth of the ICT sector. Meanwhile, the private sector, especially key industry stakeholders, including aviation, banking, energy, healthcare, broadcasting, telecommunications and urban infrastructure management are increasingly employing advanced ICT solutions in order to enhance operational efficiencies and support sustainable growth.
Digital transformation is the biggest driver of Vietnam ICT sector’s growth. The country’s ICT sector is gaining strong momentum with robust digital infrastructure. Mobile networks (2G, 3G, and 4G) cover 99.7% of the population, making the connectivity ecosystem nationwide access. Likewise, the data infrastructure is ramping up its development, with an annual growth rate of cloud computing to be more than 30%, boasting 27 data centers of 11 domestic enterprises with 112MW of critical IT load.
Top potential ICT subsectors include: software, data center, cybersecurity
The market value of Vietnam’s software sector is US$480 mil in 2022 and is expected to grow with a 5-year CAGR of 10.8% in the period 2023-2028. The market’s largest segment is Enterprise Software with a projected market volume of US$200mil in 2022. Outsouring revenues are mostly be generated in the United States.
Vietnam is growing fast to be one of the top software hubs in Southeast Asia. In recent years, the country has seen a surge in investment and development of IT-related industries. They now boast a thriving software sector that is attracting top talent and major companies from all over the world.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors making Vietnam a software hub in Southeast Asia.
A large, young population and low labor cost, which make Vietnam an attractive destination for outsourcing IT projects from other countries. The population is fairly young, with over 60% under 30 years old and more than half being millennials, with good education and above average English-language proficiency.
Low cost of living and operating costs. This facilitates cost savings when hiring skilled workers abroad (e.g., cheaper accommodation, food expenses) for key positions.
Strong facilities in IT-related education, with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects. As a result, Vietnam is now home to a number of international-standard universities that produce talented engineers and programmers. In total, Vietnam has 236 universities, 149 of which provide education for IT professionals, delivering more than 50,000 IT engineers to the labor market annually. This lands Vietnam on the list of the top 10 nations in the world for the highest number of IT students.
Fast-growing economy is another factor that has contributed to the country becoming a tech hub in Southeast Asia. Vietnam saw significant economic growth in recent years, with the country’s GDP increasing by 8% in 2022 (the first year recovering from Covid-19). Vietnam’s strong economic growth makes it an attractive location for software companies looking to expand their operations into Southeast Asia.
The global demand for software outsourcing services continues to grow, and many firms are turning to countries like Vietnam for their development needs. With a rapidly growing tech industry and a highly skilled workforce, Vietnam has established itself as a leading destination for software outsourcing. As a result, many software outsourcing companies in Vietnam have emerged strongly in recent years, providing a range of services including software development, testing, maintenance, and support. These companies have been able to tap into Vietnam’s favorable demographics.
Vietnam indeed has almost all of the ingredients necessary to become a leading software hub in Southeast Asia. The country has a large and skilled workforce, low labor costs, and a growing economy. The strong growth potential makes it an attractive location for companies looking to expand their operations in the region. With continued investment and development in the tech industry, Vietnam is poised to become one of the leading countries in Southeast Asia.
Under the impact of Covid-19, many activities have moved to online platforms and amount of data uploaded has been increasing. Asia Pacific, notably Southeast Asia, is an important region driving the growth of global data centers.
Asia Pacific data center market is the fastest growing and is on track to become the largest in the world over the next decade. The growth is mainly driven by huge tier-one markets like Tokyo, Shanghai, Singapore, Mumbai, Sydney and Seoul, and emerging Southeast Asian markets as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta.
Vietnam is one of 10 emerging markets on the global data center map. The growth drivers are believed to be the booming e-commerce market, and the growing cloud computing and financial technology (fintech) businesses. Attributed with political stability, physical security (no terrorism and relatively few natural disasters), and government commitment to IT infrastructure development, Vietnam has the necessary characteristics to become a major data center in the region.
Vietnam’s data center market grew 12.6% per year during 2019-2022 with a modest market size of approximately USD 300 mil in 2022, believed to be in a nascent stage of development. The market size is forecast to have an annual growth rate of 18.8% in the next 5 years.
As of 2022, Vietnam has 27 data centers located mostly in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (except Da Nang 02 and Binh Duong 01) with diverse sizes, quality, and standards. The overall market is estimated at 112 MW of IT load (3-year CAGR of 13.3%), with several new operators and developers looking to add more supply to the market in the short to medium term.
About 80% of data centers are operated by local leading telecommunications companies such as VNPT IDC of the Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), Viettel IDC of Viettel Group, FPT Telecom of FPT Group, or CMC. Some other names include, KDDI Corporation, Hitachi Asia (Vietnam), Hewlett Packard Enterprise, SAP Vietnam, IBM Vietnam Company Ltd., Microsoft Vietnam and Amazon Web Services Vietnam.
Customers are mostly of wholesale and retail categories (occupying 68% and 24.8% market share respectively), with wholesale customers typically being businesses or organizations in the sectors of ITC, banking and finance, insurance, and government. Hyperscale customers take a modest share of 7.2%, typically being cloud service provides who normally source their DC needs in strong IT base nations/ territories such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Expansion plans have been quite a few. Recently, in June 2022, Gaw Capital Partners completed the acquisition of a land plot in the HCM City High-Tech Park to develop a Tier-II data center, expected to be completed in 2024. Viettel and FPT plan to expand their data centers with investment of hundreds of million USD from now through 2030.
According to Decree 53 detailing a number of articles of the Cybersecurity Law, Vietnam’s data must be stored in the country. World suppliers like Amazon and Microsoft wanting to expand in the Vietnam market must have plans to use data storage services of domestic suppliers. Foreign suppliers are looking for investment opportunities in data center projects in Vietnam.
Vietnam’s cybersecurity market is forecasted to reach about USD 200 million in total revenue in 2022 and is projected to grow at approximately 15 percent per year in the coming years. The World Bank estimates that Vietnam’s digital economy will exceed USD 43 billion by 2025 as the country pursues projects in e-government, internet of things, smart cities, financial technology, artificial intelligence, etc. However, with this unprecedented growth and demand for digital services throughout the country, the public and private sectors face an increase in cyber threats, and attacks, that are sophisticated and pose a true threat to private information.
In an effort to improve the cybersecurity capabilities of the public sector, in June 2019 the Government of Vietnam issued Decree 14 stating that government agencies at both the national and local levels (municipal and provincial levels), as well as state-owned enterprises, are to strengthen their cybersecurity capabilities by implementing appropriate cybersecurity solutions. In particular, Decree 14 mandated that from 2020-2025 the public sector must spend at least 10 percent of their organization’s total annual information technology expenditure on cybersecurity solutions and initiatives. On 15 August 2022, the Vietnamese Government issued Decree 53/2022/ND-CP detailing a number of articles of the 2018 Cybersecurity Law, and which sets out the requirements for such local data storage and local presence requirements. Decree 53 comes into effect from 1 October 2022.
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