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SMEs urged to utilize technology for development
By Tuan Binh - Viet Dung
Thursday,  Oct 3, 2019,19:18 (GMT+7)

SMEs urged to utilize technology for development

By Tuan Binh - Viet Dung

Panelists at the seminar “Driving forces for the acceleration of SMEs active in the manufacturing sector in the digital era” - PHOTO: NGOC LINH

HCMC – Local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can boost their development if they take full advantage of digital technology, said experts at a seminar in HCMC today, October 3.

The seminar, themed “Driving forces for the acceleration of SMEs active in the manufacturing sector in the digital era,” was jointly held by the Saigon Times Group and Kizuna, a supplier of rental serviced factory solutions in Vietnam.

Do Khac Cuong, country director of SMEs at Microsoft, told delegates at the seminar that 86% of SMEs in Vietnam have made advancements with information technology. This rate is much higher than those in many other Asian countries, such as Malaysia, Hong Kong, China and Japan.

Enterprises should build a digital culture and database, train their staff and study the experiences of large firms worldwide that utilize technology in the digital era. The digital transformation process should be executed through small programs, Cuong remarked.

Speaking at the seminar, Lam Dieu Tam Hieu, an expert in developing industrial park projects and deputy general director of Kizuna, urged real estate companies to build new industrial parks with developed information technology infrastructure, using renewable energy, to serve SMEs.

Industrial parks should provide small factories for SMEs and assist them with their operations.

Meanwhile, Tran Thi Lien Phuong, research director at Insight Asia, pointed out that most SMEs in the country are manufacturing enterprises. Difficulties in obtaining capital, handling operations and complying with regulations have hindered them from significant development.

Despite obstacles in accessing bank loans, enterprises have yet to draw up strategies to take out loans, though they do have strategies to boost production and attract customers, noted Tran Khai Hoan, deputy general director of Nam A Bank.

Tran Ngoc Liem, vice director of the HCMC branch of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), cited a survey on the provincial competitiveness index conducted by the VCCI and the United States Agency for International Development to explain the slow development of SMEs.

Accordingly, they have encountered difficulties in getting information on new policies, bank loans and land and have been subject to informal fees, administrative procedures and inspections by State agencies.

SMEs’ weaknesses amid the rapid development of the global economy will put them at a disadvantage.

For example, up to 74% of micro-enterprises, 72% of small ones and 65% of medium firms have no information on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

To boost the development of SMEs in the coming years, policies and regulations should be created to help remove the obstacles they face.

Policies should help SMEs access loans, land, customers and suppliers. The business environment should be improved to remove informal fees and reduce unnecessary inspections, Liem added.

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