Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing economies worldwide with an expected GDP growth rate of 7.1 per cent in 2018 and 6.8 per cent in 2019, according to the Asian Development Bank.
Hence, the Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC)’s Industry 4.0 Vietnam Survey 2018 has just exposed vulnerable risks for businesses under the context of the economy's entry into digital era despite many promising statistics of its GDP growth rate and foreign direct investment flow in comparison with Asean's peers.
In the survey, just 27 per cent of businesses responded that they fully understand the concept and impacts of Industry 4.0; meanwhile, 30 per cent heard about it but not clear, 29 per cent understand the concept but unsure about impacts and 14 per cent had limited understanding.
Among ASEAN countries, Vietnam is also the second largest labour market. However, Vietnamese population is also ageing rapidly.
In terms of Vietnam's trade flow, only 10 per cent revenue is from inside ASEAN region, 90 per cent of trade activity comes from the extra Asean areas, which makes Vietnam more vulnerable to trade tensions in case that there appears some trade wars related to U.S., EU and China.
Van said that to improve competitiveness, Vietnamese enterprises would have to focus on three particular aspects including technology, skills and corporate governance.
In today 4.0 industrial revolution, digital skills become more crucial than ever. Technology such as robots, drones, blockchain influences to all aspects of a business from strategy planning to boosting customer engagement.
Yet, many challenges such as a lack of digital standards, norms and certification; insufficient skills and talents (local labour markets); unresolved questions around data security and privacy remain.
With the emergence of these technologies and an ageing population, Vietnam is currently lacking a skilled workforce. Especially, global CEOs are concerned about the lack of digital skills in the laborforce.
"Most importantly, enterprises should be proactive in addressing these issues and at the same time, Government's contribution is surely indispensable," said Van.