Tech giants building on ICT potential

January 25, 2021 | 09:35 am GMT+7

Vietnam’s ICT market is expected to see a big 5G race in 2021 as international tech giants look to boost partnerships with local telcos to gain more advantages, driven by strong performances in Vietnam in 2020.


Despite a challenging year across the board in 2020, tech titans still made gains from strong digital transformation demands. 

Riding high
Ericsson, a global leader in ICT services and solutions from Sweden, also made gains in Vietnam during 2020 with its prestige continuing to increase as an important partner in promoting the digital transformation of industries and enterprises.
Throughout 2020, Ericsson continued to focus on working with customers such as Viettel, VNPT/Vinaphone, MobiFone, and Vietnamobile in expanding and upgrading their 4G networks to ensure mobile broadband capacity and coverage meets the needs of Vietnamese industry and society throughout the nation.
“In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, we all appreciated the significant value of remote work, healthcare, and education, amongst other societal needs. This was all made possible through the availability of 4G mobile broadband network services provided by leading Vietnamese mobile network operators, supplied by Ericsson and other vendors,” said Denis Brunetti, president of Ericsson in Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos.
Ericsson also ended 2020 with pivotal and strategic 5G launches with Viettel, VNPT/Vinaphone, and MobiFone, laying an important foundation for future 5G-enabled plans this year.
Similarly, US tech giant
Qualcomm, the world’s leading wireless technology innovator, highlighted its 2020 performance in Vietnam with a number of new moves to double down on its commitment to the country.
Thieu Phuong Nam, country manager of Qualcomm Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia stressed, “The opening of our new office and interoperability testing laboratory, Qualcomm’s first research and development lab in Southeast Asia, last June is a testament to this.”
The new office allows Qualcomm to provide enhanced support to partners in both business and government. “It also reflects our expanded capacity in Vietnam, particularly our increased number of engineers and developers, which help address the growing demand for quality products and services,” Nam explained.
Meanwhile, the interoperability testing laboratory offers state-of-the-art testing capabilities for local partners including VinSmart, BKAV, and Viettel, among others, to develop and produce high-quality devices matching international standards.
Another example of showing its ambition in Vietnam is the recent announcement of the 10 local startups shortlisted for the Qualcomm Vietnam Innovation Challenge, a competition for local startups. These shortlisted startups focus on technology areas such as smart cities, Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things (IoT), agriculture, and machine learning which also overlap with the priorities of the Vietnamese government.
Elsewhere, China’s Huawei Vietnam focused on ICT training and technology transfer to develop its local staff and cooperating with local partners to carry out telecoms projects. Seeing growth potential, Huawei Vietnam has been preparing for future plans to benefit from 5G there in line with the country’s supporting policies to accelerate digital transformation.
Huawei has suffered from 5G rollout bans in the US and a number of EU nations, with some leaders questioning the groups’ security. But it continued to grow in 2020, although slowdown in growth was reported. Revenue in the first nine months reached ¥671.3 billion ($103.57 billion), up 9.9 per cent from 2019, versus 24.4 per cent over the same period a year earlier. Net profit margin for the nine months was 8.0 per cent, versus 8.7 per cent over the same period a year earlier.
2021 race
The year 2020 could be remembered as a milestone year in Vietnam’s ICT history due to the initial launches of 5G services. People in several locations across Vietnam are now already starting to experience the higher speeds and superior performance that 5G offers, with the promise of much more to come in 2021 and beyond.
The launch of such services will serve to achieve the government’s goal of making Vietnam one of the early adopters of 5G technology and capabilities across industry and society. 5G will be the foundation upon which Vietnam can further build on its digital transformation journey and realise the strategic vision of making Vietnam one of the top 50 digital transformation countries by 2025.
And in this path, the next wave of socioeconomic development through high-tech foreign investment, science and technology, and startup innovation is created, thus opening more opportunities for multinational corporations (MNCs) and increasing competition.
With its wide range of new products, Lenovo Vietnam is expecting business growth to not only be attributed to a growing PC market: it also reflects the acceleration of an existing trend of customers turning to Lenovo for complete solutions.
To enable its expansion journey in the country, Lenovo Vietnam’s general manager Giap said that Lenovo proactively seeks partnerships in Vietnam to help organisations reap the benefits of digital transformation. In particular, it has been focusing on the healthcare and education sectors, enabling organisations to intelligently transform.
For Ericsson, through 2021, it will remain focused on bringing the latest 5G technology to Vietnam. The group sees many opportunities in the country, and is making plans for this. “We continue to work with the Embassy of Sweden to Vietnam and Business Sweden on a number of strategic digital transformation initiatives, including in transport such as airports, and also energy,” said the group’s Denis Brunetti.
Business Sweden is an organisation jointly owned by the Swedish government and representatives from the Swedish business community.
“We are also planning to invest in various Industry 4.0 initiatives in Vietnam over the coming years, partnering with other Swedish companies as well as our mobile operator customers. Our ambition is further sharpened by the expectation that over two-thirds of MNC manufacturing globally will relocate to Asia-Pacific by 2025, with Vietnam clearly attracting a high number of these manufacturing opportunities,” Brunetti added.
To this end, Ericsson will continue to work with Vietnam’s mobile operators and service providers to build the 5G networks across Vietnam, which will effectively lay the foundation for Vietnam’s inclusive and sustained GDP growth fuelled by IoT, AI, automation, AR/VR, and machine learning.
Like Ericsson and Lenovo, Qualcomm plans to focus on working with Vietnamese partners to help create a robust mobile ecosystem, specifically for 5G networks and services, which are slated to be commercially launched this year.
This includes working with telco companies to ensure they have the proper infrastructure to deploy commercial 5G, including the ability to leverage on mmWave—the cornerstone in ensuring 5G is better than previous generations of cellular technology.
“We also plan to continue our collaborations with local original equipment manufacturers to create devices such as smartphones and ‘Always On, Always Connected’ laptops that will allow end-users to access and benefit from 5G,” said Nam from Qualcomm Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.
And in this trend, Huawei Vietnam, with over 20 years of presence in the country, is not an outsider. CEO of Huawei Vietnam Sun Bohan said that the opening of two new offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City confirm Huawei’s long-term investment commitments in Vietnam.
He told VIR, “We will continue to cooperate with local mobile network operators and other partners to bring advanced technologies to Vietnamese users. Moreover, in the time to come, Huawei will also collaborate with leading universities in Vietnam in ICT training.”
To prepare for the country’s stronger acceleration of digital transformation with commercial launch of 5G this year, groups such as Viettel, VNPT/Vinaphone, and MobiFone are working with MNCs on specific products and solutions for their future journeys. With similar approaches and specific plans, the race among the MNCs is forecast to be further heated in the upcoming months to come.