An emerging Vietnamese 'IT industry'

To help broaden the on-going policy discussion, we propose that the concept 'information industries' (1) or 'IT industry' will be introduced also in Vietnam. 'Information industries' -- encompassing computers and communications equipment, software and information services -- is a notion that may suggest ample and unorthodox ways of identifying and assessing strengths and weak- nesses in the country's use of microelectronics and other information tech- nology as well as Vietnamese production of electronics, including final assembly. Taking such a broad view on IT development, manufacturing and applications may help combine separate policies to be implemented in several government sectors, in the services and in different branches of industry, as well as in agriculture, forestry and fishing.

It will be difficult, however, to devise a generic development strategy for the whole IT industry in Vietnam without further specifications. The IT industry is not an easily operational concept for strategy-making if it includes each and every enterprises engaged in the manufacture, provision, mainte- nance and operation of information technologies. Moreover, many IT products and processes available on the world market are rapidly changing, even disappearing before they are captured in the official statistics. (1) At face value, the IT industry is a technologically defined part of two major economic sectors, industry and the services. It cuts across many traditional industrial sub-sectors. IT is incorporated in products and manufacturing processes and increasingly in what is usually classified as the service sector.

To simplify matters, we may define information technology (IT) as what is done with microprocessors and other electronics products after they are manufactured and installed. Anything that comes before IT, we consider to be electronics production. However, the 'IT industry' notion covers all the links in this chain of activities.

In the report, we will use the 'IT industry' concept to distinguish among the reasons why a well-orchestrated mix of government policies really matter in today's Vietnam. We will also elaborate the characteristic features of the industry as defined by information technology and by its main applications.

Foot Notes:
  1. The 'information industry' concept is used in several industralized countries to identify linkages between different branches of industry as well as between different sectors of the economy. Cf., e.g., Information Industries, (Canberra: Department of Industry, Technology and Commerce & The Australian Trade Commission, /no date/).
  2. Cf. John Houghton, "The Australian information industries: Identifying opportunities", (Melbourne: CIRCIT Working paper No. 2, 1991).

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