Vietnam’s ICT market tops US$2B as Web use surges

Vietnam’s information and communications technology (ICT) industry was worth US$2 billion over the last 12 months, 38 per cent higher than in the previous year, the Ho Chi Minh City Informatics Association (HCMIA) reported Tuesday.

The number of Internet users in the country more than doubled from 1.9 million at the beginning of June 2003 to 4.5 million one year later, a penetration rate of 5.4 per cent and close to the Asian average of 6.7 per cent penetration.

Hardware exports rose 27 per cent over the period to US$700 million and the number of PCs sold in the country each year is now above 1 million, HCMIA said. The value of the software industry rose 41 per cent to US$120 million. The government has identified software export as a key market for the country, and software parks have been established in all the main urban centres.

Both the number of Internet users and the number of locally-hosted Web sites rose rapidly over the past 12 months, HCMIA said. All the major daily newspapers have an online presence, as do major government entities like the National Assembly, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Communist Party.

Yet Internet penetration remains strongly skewed in Asia (excluding Australasia). Five countries (Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong) have penetration rates of over 50 per cent. All the rest have penetration rates of under 10 percent, except Malaysia where the penetration rate is 35.3 per cent, according to Internet World Stats.