Future-focused: Vietnam’s next decade looking bright

Our experts look to the future and share their insights about the Vietnamese economy and its start-up culture, anywhere working and tourism.

Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam's biggest city.

Strong economic outlook

A growing gross domestic product, stable economic policy and strong foreign investment: Vietnam’s economy is on the up.  

The country is no longer a frontier market but an emerging economic power, a shift which marks an important transition in the region.

RMIT Vietnam’s VinaCapital Professor of Private Equity Professor Ian Eddie believes this transition will attract large international investments to support the development of the Vietnamese economy.

According to Professor Eddie, the transition will depend on Government reforms of state-owned enterprises.

“It’s important for Government to close those gaps, in order to sustain future growth, maintain openness for foreign companies and workers to come, and continue supporting new business start-ups,” he said.

“Cities today really need to be the centre for innovation and encourage new businesses.”

Supported by strong government policy, an entrepreneurial spirit is thriving, particularly in Ho Chi Minh City, which is home to half of all start-ups.

Professor Eddie said Vietnamese people had experienced a lot of success in starting businesses and quickly adapted to Vietnam’s emerging venture capital industry.

“I think the next generation of entrepreneurs is going to look for opportunities to scale up their small businesses to create sustainability, higher pay rates and more opportunities for workers,” Professor Eddie said.

“Vietnam currently has a big export economy; most of the exports are sourced from foreign direct investments. But if Vietnamese companies are growing themselves and building their skills, they will be able to build their internationalised ASEAN capabilities further.”

Read more about Professor Eddie’s insights into the Vietnamese economy and how RMIT Vietnam is supporting the entrepreneurial culture through the Graduation Certificate in Business Startups here.

RMIT Vietnam’s VinaCapital Professor of Private Equity Professor Ian Eddie.

Anywhere working

With Ho Chi Minh City predicted to become the second-fastest growing city economy in Asia within the next three years, ‘anywhere working’ could be key to improving the liveability of Vietnam’s biggest city.

Ho Chi Minh City has a population of about 8.4 million and the speed at which it’s growing inspired RMIT Vietnam lecturer Dr Reza Akbari to research the impact of traffic congestion, air pollution and limited infrastructure on living conditions linked to the city’s booming economy.

Akbari said anywhere working could be a way to overcome those challenges, with the average commute among respondents being 140 minutes.

Anywhere working is work outside a traditional office, where the employee uses cloud-based technology.

With more cars and motorbikes hitting Ho Chi Minh City’s streets every day, Dr Akbari said anywhere working was a viable method of shortening commutes.

“Anywhere working is not just from home,” he said.

“We can have different hubs or offices in different districts where people can perform their job over there without having to travel all the way to District 1 (the city’s downtown core) or from one side of the city to the other.”

The research, published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, also found while almost three quarters of commuters said they’d like to engage in anywhere working, only 41 per cent of respondents had permission from their employer to do so and 29 per cent didn’t know if it was an option in their workplace.

Read more about anywhere working in Ho Chi Minh City here.

RMIT Vietnam's Bachelor of Tourism and Hospitality program gives students practical skills in the industry.

Tourism boom

Vietnam’s tourism industry is also experiencing a boom, prompting experts to express concerns service providers won’t be able to keep up with demand.

Speaking at a recent tourism conference at RMIT Vietnam’s Saigon South campus, Tran Phu Cuong, Head of the International Cooperation Department under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said the number of international tourists would climb to 32 million and domestic tourists would reach 110 million by 2025. The increase would raise tourism revenue to US$64 billion.

The projected growth poses big challenges for facilities, services, product quality and manpower to ensure the industry’s sustainable development.

Of the 1.3 million employees working in the tourism sector, only 43 per cent have tourism skills or expertise, and half do not speak a foreign language, according to a recent report from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

RMIT Vietnam Head of School of Business and Management Associate Professor Mathews Nkhoma said the University had anticipated the growth in the country’s tourism sector and its increasing popularity as a tourism destination.

The University’s Bachelor of Tourism and Hospitality program is offered in line with international standards, with subjects aimed at developing practical skills, supplying the latest knowledge on hotel and tourism services and building managerial abilities.

“We understand the importance of tourism for Vietnam and the Asia-Pacific region. The industry has directly created 2.4 million jobs, and is estimated to rise to nearly three million jobs by 2028, which will account for almost five per cent of the total number of jobs,” Nkhoma said.

Read more about the need for quality human resources amid Vietnam's tourism boom here.

Story: Michael Tatarski, Thuy Le and Lisa Humphries 

04 February 2019

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04 February 2019

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