Monday, June 22, 2015

Minister pledges to strongly develop technology market

Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan underlined a number of measures to build a technology market and promote the application of science-technology in agriculture and increase labour productivity and competitiveness at the Q&A session in the ninth meeting of the 13th National Assembly in Hanoi on June 12.
He said the ministry has created a legal foundation for the technology market in recent years, admitting that the biggest shortcoming is failing to build intermediary institutions and services in the field.
He affirmed that the ministry is taking steps to address this weakness such as organising national and international technology equipment fairs and promoting gatherings for businesses and scientists at technology exchanges in Hanoi , Hai Phong, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City.
Besides submitting a national programme on developing the technology market to the Prime Minister, the ministry is seeking financial investment sources to shortly establish intermediary technology institutions in the market, he said.
He continued to say that close to 3 trillion VND (142.86 million USD) is spent annually on scientific research, but admitting that many of research projects have not been put to use. The minister explained that investment from businesses is essential to bring successful studies into reality while most of domestic enterprises are of small and medium sizes with limited financial resources.
The ministry is implementing the national technology renovation programme of the Government and the National Foundation for Science and Technology to support businesses to bring research outcomes into production as quickly as possible, he said.
In response to NA deputies’ concern about the lack of high-quality strains in the field of agriculture, the minister said his ministry has worked with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to study high-yield rice varieties. At the same time, he said these varieties are not used widely because few businesses are involved in commercialising rice strains. In addition, due to the small scale production, farmers tend to choose cheap imported hybrid rice seeds on the market. According to the minister, when large-scale production develops, quality rice strains will be used on a wide scale.
The two ministries have also coordinated in preserving valuable genes of Vietnamese plants and animals and pledged to support capable businesses to implement science-technology projects, he said.
In response to NA deputies’ questions about venture funds for high technology, the minister said although the High Technology Law contains regulations on a venture fund for high technology to support scientists, the fund has not been established as it is not stipulated in the State Budget Law and other relevant laws.
However, the Ministry of Science and Technology has made the first step by support the project for the private venture fund, which has sponsored nine start-up groups of students from universities. Five of the groups have found investors for their business with an investment of 200,000 USD each. This is a bright sign signaling the success of the model, he asserted.
Answering a question by Hoang Thi To Nga, representative of Nam Dinh province, on the progress of Hoa Lac high-tech park, the minister said obstacles in ground clearance caused the slow progress of the project.
Though, the park is expected to become operational in 2018 as scheduled, he pledged.
Regarding scientific measures to raise labour productivity, Quan said the ministry has mobilised over 800 billion VND for 390 projects to apply science and technology to production in 61 localities nationwide. The projects are showing good results, especially in mountainous and remote areas, he said.
Concluding the session, NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung urged the ministry to focus on boosting the development of technology and the science-technology market, and seek way to end the wastefulness caused by impractical scientific research.
The NA Chairman also suggested that the ministry should coordinate closer with other ministries to develop the national product programme to supply the market with high-quality products with suitable price.
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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ministry launches campaign to raise intellectual property awareness

The Ministry of Science and Technology launched a month-long campaign on March 31 to commemorate the World Intellectual Property Day (April 26) with the support of the Software Alliance (BSA).
The campaign is aimed at improving public understanding of intellectual property laws to enhance the recognition, application, development and protection of intellectual property rights; promote research and innovation, apply science and technology for greater productivity and socioeconomic development in Viet Nam, and help the society be well-prepared for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) accession.
Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Tran Viet Thanh makes a speech at the launching ceremony of an one-month campaign to commemorate the World Intellectual Property Day (April 26). — Photo

From March 31 to April 30, the ministry will organise a series of activities to enhance public awareness about intellectual property, such as contests for university students and conferences for businesses.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Deputy Minister Tran Viet Thanh, said educational and training activities will be held during the next one month, and an inspection of the implementation on legal regulations will also continue to be carried out in May and the ensuing months.
Attending the ceremony, Roland Chan, senior director of BSA's Compliance Program in Asia Pacific, said the Alliance appreciated the strong efforts and remarkable initial progress made by Vietnamese governmental agencies in intellectual property right protection over the recent years, especially in relation to computer software.
"There is no doubt that software has changed the world. Viet Nam is one of the greatest beneficiaries and a global symbol for what an economy can achieve through technology. I am confident that the one-month campaign will advance further awareness of intellectual property. This is a time for Vietnamese businesses to pay for what they use and manage what they have," Chan said.
During the 2013 to 2014 period, inspectors and monitors at ministries, and for local authorities imposed fines in more than 32,000 cases, worth VND139 billion (US$6.61 million) for counterfeit, sub-standard goods, and intellectual property infringements.
Last year, inspectors from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism had conducted checks at 82 enterprises for compliance with current computer software ownership laws and fined violating companies a total of VND1.57 billion (more than $74,000). — VNS
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Domain name registrations must follow market mechanisms

Individuals, enterprises and organisations will be allowed to decide the fees for domain name registration, as the government is set to only charge fees for the use of domain names.
Under the previous system, the government had charged fees for domain name registrations and paid commissions to vendors.
The announcement was made by Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Le Nam Thang. As reported on local technology, the ministry will issue new mechanisms on fees for domain name registrations.
The Deputy Minister asked the ministry's Vietnam Internet Network Information Centre (VNNIC) to cooperate with related authorities to research the management of domain names when the government starts charging only for domain name usage. 

"When the government stops charging fees for domain name registrations, domain names for sale will follow the market mechanisms. The issue was addressed at various conferences in which the ministry participated last year," Thang said.
According to statistics from VNNIC, more than 100,000 new domain names ending in ".vn" were registered from the beginning of 2014 to mid-December, raising its total number to more than 297,000. This was a 12.3 per cent increase compared with figures from the same period in 2013.
The domain name ".vn" last year ranked seventh among the top 22 most registered national domain names, according to a list published by the Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Association.
Regarding Vietnamese domain names, by the end of December 15, 2014, 83,330 new domain names were registered, raising the country's total number to more than 983,000 names. More than 17.5 per cent of the total number were actively used. — VNS
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mobile networks focus on 3G development

VietNamNet Bridge – The main source of income for mobile network operators in the future will be from 3G instead of voice and text services.
3G, Mobile networks
The proportion of total revenue from 3G services has been increasing sharply, though the service still has not become the main source of mobile network operators’ income.
A recent survey found that people use smartphones mostly to access the internet instead of making calls or sending messages.
The discovery, analysts said, shows that mobile network operators should make more investments in 3G instead of voice or text services.
Nielsen’s survey conducted in 2013 found that the percentage of internet users in Vietnam is high compared to the rest of the region.
Of the 58 percent of Vietnamese who regularly use the internet, 97 percent spend 16 hours a week on the internet. There is a considerable proportion of people who are always “online”, either on smartphones or computers.
The report of a mobile network operator on the habits of mobile phone subscribers showed they access the internet seven out of every 10 times they use their smartphones. Only three times are spent to make calls or messages.
The big changes in the telecommunication market, plus the low-cost smartphone boom in Vietnam, will lead to a sharp growth of 3G services in the upcoming years and the decrease of 2G services, analysts said.
Low-cost smartphones are priced at around $40.
Mobile network operators are ready to adapt to new circumstances. In the past, mobile phone subscribers had to register to use 3G services and pay VND10,000 a month to maintain services. But now they do not have to register or pay the fee.
A senior executive of VinaPhone, one of the three largest telecom networks in Vietnam, said that 3G is integrated in every sim card launched in the market. This means that users can automatically use 3G services, and there is no need to register with the operator.
The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC), in its latest report, also noted that 3G has become a basic service like calls and messages.
Nguyen Dinh Chien, deputy general director of MobiFone, said he expects revenue from 3G services to increase by 60 percent this year.
VinaPhone and Viettel, two of the three biggest mobile network operators, have also confirmed that they expect the same or higher growth rates in 2014.
An experienced telecom expert said that in the US, UK and France, services are provided in packages, which allow clients to make calls and send messages for free if they use 3G.
“I believe this is the way Vietnamese mobile network operators will follow in the future,” he said.
“Once clients use smartphones mostly to access the internet, mobile network operators will have to be ready to meet the demand, not just focus on voice and text services anymore. It’s inevitable,” he added.
Chi Mai/vietnamnet
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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Game, app firms take on outside projects as profits in local market low

VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese companies that make games and apps have to export their games or take non-game projects in order to survive, as the local market is not profitable.
Game, app firms, mobile games, mobile apps

Many game firms have questioned whether it is worthwhile to pursue the business.
The director of a small game firm with 50 workers in Hanoi said it is very difficult to make money in Vietnam. Since the beginning of 2014, his firm has developed several projects which “have no relation to the game industry”.
Most recently, the director said, his firm had succeeded with a project on location solutions for non-smartphones. The solution was sold to a Singaporean telco through an intermediary company.
The director said he does not want to give up games, which is the firm’s core business. However, he is now thinking of making games to distribute overseas instead of Vietnam.
“We are going to sell a game to a foreign company which would distribute the game overseas. We do not intend to distribute the game in the home market. We have to struggle hard to overcome too many barriers,” he said.
The director said that game firms, because of the government’s management oversight, will not be able to develop because they meet high risks and they cannot figure out long-term business strategies.
“You will have to make heavy investment to develop a game. You will have to spend big money on qualified engineers and other expenses. However, you are not sure if you can obtain licenses for distributing the games,” he explained.
“Meanwhile, gamers are now spending less money to play games. They would rather play free games, so the revenue from games is expected to drop,” he said.
The director thinks that many small and medium sized firms will take extra non-game jobs to survive the difficulties and hope for a “brighter future”.
In early 2014, a small game firm in Hanoi developed two mobile games and posted these on app stores.
However, after having to pay VND220 billion in fines, it decided to give up the two games, though it had spent big money to develop the products.
Game firms have complained for years about the barriers they face. The watchdog agency over these companies has promised to amend the legal framework to help ease difficulties, but nothing substantive has been done.
Duong The Luong, director of VTC Intecom, said domestic game firms still face too many problems.
About 40 PC games and 60 mobile games were distributed in the first six months of the year, but the probability of success was low, at just 10 percent.
“Success” means “breaking even”, and “not taking a loss”.
VTC Intecom launched several games in the market in the first six months of the year and it did not incur a loss. However, the company is considering developing non-game projects, including cloud computing and e-commerce.
Source: Buu Dien/Vietnamnet
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Domain-name trade continues despite lack of legal framework

VietNamNet Bridge – Only 20 percent of Vietnamese businesses have domain names, which opens up opportunities for businesses dealing in domain name trading.

domain name

Domain names are traded in Vietnam, even though there is no legal framework for the business. The involved parties go ahead with sales because they say they cannot wait for the legal framework to be completed for transfer deals.
The Ministry of Information and Communication in 2008 released a circular on the management and use of internet resources, which lifted the ban on domain name trade and transfer. However, the circular was not enough to pave the way for this kind of business.
There are hundreds of domain name investors, individual and institutional, mostly in Hanoi and HCM City. Hanoi-based Micronet is one of the investors. It now owns 3,000 domain names and hopes to have an investment portfolio of 20,000 domain names by 2017.
The Vietnamese market is believed to have great potential for investors. Under current regulations, domain names cost tens or hundreds of thousand dong to register, and the same sums of money are needed to retain the domain name every year.
Meanwhile, investors can transfer the domain name for billions of dong if they can find suitable buyers.
BKAV, a well-known Vietnamese internet security solution firm, for example, had to spend VND2.3 billion in 2012 to buy from an US company which registered the domain name before.
Potential market
According to the Vietnam Internet Network Information Center (VNNIC), only 20 percent of Vietnamese businesses have registered domain names.
Nguyen Minh Hong, director of the Quang Ninh Province’s Information Department, said at a recent workshop on domain names that 1,400 “.vn” domain names and more than 2,000 international domain names had been registered in the province.
The province had 11,800 businesses by the end of 2013.
“The figures showed that the number of Quang Ninh’s businesses with domain names remains modest. Meanwhile, in the digital era, e-commerce and internet-based ad activities have been developing so strongly,” Hong said.
The Ministry of Information and Communication said it was drafting a decree on auctioning and transferring usage rights of digital telecommunication repository and internet domain names.
An official of the ministry said the decree will clarify which kinds of domain names can be transferred.
The domain names with suffix “.vn” will be transferable, while transfer of domain names related to state agencies and socio-political organisations will be prohibited.
The decree will also show the procedures that involved parties need to follow to conduct domain name transfer deals.
Tran Minh Tan, Deputy Director of VNNIC, said the ministry is also compiling a circular guiding the management and use of internet resources.
Tan, analyzing the domain name market’s history, noted that the number of registered domain names rises sharply every time the policy is adjusted.
This shows that policies have a major impact on the development of the domain name market.

Smartphone giants relocate factories to Vietnam

VietNamNet Bridge – Samsung and Microsoft this year relocated their smartphone production bases in Vietnam as they have closed factories in other parts of the world.

Smartphone giants, Samsung, Microsoft

In mid-August, Microsoft, the new owner of Nokia phone brand, announced that its factory in Bac Ninh would become a major smartphone production base in its global value chain.
Nokia, the 150-year old phone manufacturer, is relocating its factories in Hungary to other sites. It is also closing some of its factories in China.
More than 30 production lines from its factories worldwide will be brought to Vietnam by the end of the year.
Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia in October 2013 and now vice president of Microsoft, said, after Nokia inaugurated its factory in Bac Ninh province, that he could see great advantages setting up a production base in Vietnam.
He said Nokia was encouraged by the investment incentives offered by the Vietnamese government, including the 10 percent corporate income tax for the first 15 years, and tax exemption for the first four years after the year it begins to have taxable income, and a 50 percent tax reduction in the next nine years.
Microsoft, the new owner of Nokia, understands the Vietnamese market well as it has been there since 2007.
Samsung has also said that it would use Vietnam as a major production base after pouring $6 billion into the factories in Vietnam.
The managers of the South Korean group confirmed that its total investment scale in Vietnam had increased 10 times over the last five years.
Another South Korean giant, LG Electronics, has announced it will put a $1.5 billion project in Hai Phong City into operation in October.
Unlike Nokia and Samsung, the LG factory in Hai Phong will not focus on smartphones as the key products in the immediate time, but on TVs, washing machines and carpet sweepers.
However, the representative of the group said that it would make smartphones in Vietnam in the future.
Apple has not made an official investment in Vietnam, but has taken a move towards Vietnam.
Bloomberg has reported that Apple is negotiating with FPT, the Vietnamese largest information technology group, on plans to develop the Vietnamese market in the near future.
Vietnam, according to analysts, deserves to be a good investment point for Apple. The sale of Apple products in Vietnam rose threefold within the first three months of 2014, a growth rate which was five times higher than in India, where Apple has injected big money to acquire a bigger market share.
Sales of iPhones in Vietnam have been increasing steadily week after week.
Apple’s representative said at a press conference in July that the firm’s management board now sees Vietnam as a potential market.
Source: VNE
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