Vietnam is growing its innovation economy quickly. Source: Shutterstock

Vietnam is growing its innovation economy quickly. Source: Shutterstock

Is Vietnam going to be Asia’s digital transformation underdog?

WHEN you think of digital transformation in Asia, you tend to think of countries like Singapore and Hong Kong leading the region.

However, according to a new study by Cisco, Vietnam is one of the hidden gems that has been winning with digital as a result of regulations formulated by a forward-thinking government and enterprising innovations by local startups such as Baomoi and Lozi.

In fact, the country’s efforts in cybersecurity have made it an industry leader in the region.

The ASEAN average for the adoption of cybersecurity is 59 percent while Vietnam soars high at 88 percent. Singapore and Thailand, it’s closest competitors, hover near the regional average at 60 and 59 percent respectively.

The country’s recent Cyberspace Operations Command, established to oversee the internet and help the government and military control the digital space has drawn some negative attention but it has also helped tighten the country’s focus on cybersecurity.

In fact, Vietnam has recently issued a new cybersecurity/digital privacy bill that will come into effect early next year. While the bill is said to negatively impact foreign tech giants such as Facebook and Google, it is said to have made the region much stronger in terms of digital privacy and cybersecurity.

Cisco’s survey found that 81 percent of IT leaders in the country’s businesses are thinking about upgrading their infrastructures in order to increase their cybersecurity posture.

Through concerted effort between the government and some leading tech businesses in the region, Vietnam has also become a country whose IT managers are increasingly confident about its digital transformation strategy.

“It scored the highest (99 percent) when they were asked whether their organization has a digital transformation strategy, and was the only country where all managers said they believed their institution’s digital transformation strategy was adequate to achieve their goals,” said the report.

Businesses in Vietnam are focused on leveraging the cloud and automation in order to drive their digital transformation, alongwith cybersecurity — and it’s not just the large multinationals. The survey suggests that some of the smaller entities are working on this too.

From the looks of it, Vietnam might just lead the next wave of innovations and drive digital transformation projects to propel itself ahead of its competitors.