Nov 23, 2012

Vietnam - State agencies heap criticism upon made-in-Vietnam IT products

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VietNamNet Bridge – State agencies have been requested to prioritize to buy information technology (IT) products from Vietnamese IT firms. However, Vietnamese products still have been refused.

Following the Communist Party’s Politburo initiated campaign “Buy Vietnamese,” the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) in 2009 released the Circular No. 42, stipulating that state agencies have to prioritize Vietnamese IT products when making procurement packages with the state sourced money.

MIC emphasized that buying Vietnamese would be a very effective way of practicing thrift for now, when Vietnam tries to cut down public expenses.

Pham Kim Son, Director of the Da Nang City Information and Communication Department, has affirmed that the prices of Vietnamese software products and operation expenses is affordable to the local budget.

When considering buying a software piece for administration management for 56 wards and communes in Da Nang, the city’s authorities decided to accept a Vietnamese product, which cost 300 million dong. Meanwhile, if the city had bought a foreign product, it might have cost 4 billion dong.

However, there are not many domestically made products which can satisfy domestic clients.

A survey conducted by MIC showed that in 2011, state agencies spent 1.2 trillion dong on IT products. However, the majority of the spending has gone to the pocket of foreign firms.

The report has also found out that though Vietnamese products have increased their presence at state agencies, the commercial value of the products remains modest if compared with the value of foreign made ones.

As for computer products, Vietnamese enterprises can only make desktop computers, while foreign firms have been dominating other lucrative market segments – server, hard firewall and switching equipment.

There are so many barriers that have been blocked the way of Vietnamese enterprises. The two most popular reasons cited by state agencies – they buyers – are that Vietnamese products have low quality and that Vietnam still cannot make some kinds of high technology products.

Under the current regulations, state agencies would be required to explain why they import the products which can be made domestically. In order to be able to import the products, the buyers need to show the certificates granted by the IT responsible agencies.

However, in fact, the IT agencies have been very rarely consulted whether enterprises should buy the products or not.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, in its forms of bidding document, does not comprise any words reminding enterprises to prioritize to use Vietnamese products. “We are working on with the Ministry of Planning and Investment on the topic,” Duong said.

Dang The Trung, Director of DTT Company said that in order to penetrate the lucrative market for state agencies, enterprises need to have good consultancy techniques to help them convince investors, while they should not only strive to sell what they have in hands.

“Vietnamese enterprises still do not pay appropriate attention to the soft skills, and consultancy technique development. That explains why Vietnam remains inferior to foreign companies on the home market.

Nguyen Thanh Lam, General Director of FPT Software, has suggested that IT firms should join forces with experienced partners to fulfill their investment projects. FPT Software, for example, once cooperated with IBM and Oracle to develop the software pieces for taxation and customs bodies.

Buu Dien

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