During US President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Vietnam in May 2016, he met with the startup community to talk about innovation and entrepreneurship. He also hosted a panel discussion with startups in Ho Chi Minh City, where Microsoft Vietnam’s Khoa Pham, Director of Corporate, External & Legal Affairs also shared his views and discussed key trends including the significance of a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal.
From e-commerce sites to messaging applications, Vietnam’s startup scene is booming with many success stories. There is more potential in the pipeline, supported by an abundance of young entrepreneurs, a high internet and mobile penetration.
“With Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and every organization to achieve more, there’s no better market to do that than in Vietnam especially in today’s mobile-first cloud-first world,” said Khoa Pham, Director of Corporate, External & Legal Affairs, Microsoft Vietnam. He was speaking in panel discussion on entrepreneurship moderated by US President Barack Obama who was visiting in Vietnam. The other panel members were Le Hoang Uyen Vy, Managing Director of Adayroi; and Do Thi Thuy Hang, Vice President of Seedcom.
The panel also highlighted the role of technology in supporting businesses, especially in Vietnam’s transition into a knowledge-based economy. Khoa shared about how Microsoft Vietnam aims to achieve this through a national empowerment plan which mirrors the government’s ICT master plan by 2020 to develop Vietnam as an ICT advanced nation. The strategy comprises three pillars: ICT infrastructure, including cybersecurity and privacy issues; small and medium-sized enterprises, which includes the startup community of which Microsoft supports by providing free software and cloud services; and capacity building through STEM education for Vietnamese talent to acquire the right ICT skill sets.
“In today’s digital economy, public policy and regulatory environment need to be conducive and modernized for businesses to succeed,” said Khoa.
The panel also discussed about the potential of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as a conduit to bring both the US and Vietnam economies closer together, accelerate economic reforms, boost economic competitiveness and open up new markets for both small and medium-sized businesses and large companies.
Khoa reiterated that the Microsoft supports the TPP deal, which is expected to be positive not just for the Vietnamese community and businesses, but also the broader regional economy.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a new agreement among twelve countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US, and Vietnam. These countries account for about 40% of global GDP and 800 million people. Microsoft supports the TPP because it strengthens rules-based trading regimes in these fast growing markets and contains groundbreaking provisions to enable digital trade, such as respecting privacy and security while promoting the free flow of data.
Strong trade agreements and trade policies are a complement to other economic policies needed to compete in the 21st century economy, such as building trust in technology with privacy and security policies and in preparing the workforce of the future, these are all policies that Microsoft embraces.