January 21, 2003
Vietnam Fails to Use
Internet Says Minister
(Asia Pulse) - Minister of Trade
Truong Dinh Tuyen has warned that Vietnam is losing competitiveness in the
global Internet marketplace, following a new survey revealing that just 2 per
cent of the nation's enterprises use e-commerce.
While an increasing amount of the world's economic activity is being conducted
via the World Wide Web, Vietnam's businesses are largely sticking to
old-fashioned ways, a survey by the Vietnam Bank for Industry and Commerce has
Of the more than 75,000 business enterprises in the country, only about 1,500
have set up a web page. Even among them, most are unfamiliar with using the
Internet for electronic transactions. The survey found that while about half of
Vietnam's businesses use the Internet for e-mail, only 8 per cent use the web to
Elsewhere in the world, e-commerce has grown steadily, with transactions worth
about US$300 billion being conducted globally via the Internet in 2002.
Vietnam is far behind the world in e-commerce and its competitiveness in the
world market is gradually eroding, warned the minister of trade.
Using the web in Vietnam is largely limited because of technical constraints to
creating a portal at present, with most, especially small and medium-sized
operations, failing to update their sites regularly.
Nguyen Van Thao, Vice Secretary General of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and
Industry (VCCI), said few enterprises use the VCCI's web page, even though
access is free of charge. Similarly, not many people know about the web page of
HCM City. Recent investigations show that people were more interested in
information about the service sector, in areas such as tourism, hospitality and
entertainment; trade information on imports and exports; and manufacturing.
Some analysts believe Vietnam's e-commerce systems are not well developed
because the country lacks infrastructure, legal framework and, in particular,
Nevertheless, the government has recently approved a plan to invest VND250
billion ($16.3 million) in e-commerce development, with the project to be
implemented by the Trade Ministry.
The government also plans to promote Internet use among the general population,
with at least 5 per cent of Vietnamese citizens expected to have access by 2005.
Vietnam 'repressing minorities'
- The human rights group, Human Rights Watch, says Vietnam has intensified
repression of ethnic minorities in its Central Highlands region.
A statement by the American-based group says people are being interrogated,
arrested, beaten and jailed simply because they are Christians or are suspected
of supporting the popular movement for land rights and religious freedom.
The central highland region in Vietnam was the scene of widespread protests
nearly two years ago, but Human Rights Watch said government action against
members of the Montagnard Christian community was as harsh as ever.
The statement said the government action had forced more than 1,000 Montagnards
to flee to neighbouring Cambodia.
The Vietnamese authorities have not yet reacted to the statement.