Vietnam has been seen as a rising star for high-tech industry with the investment from Samsung, Microsoft, Intel, LG in chip and smartphone manufacturing and R&D. More than four decades after the last US troops left Saigon, US has now become one of the largest markets of the Vietnam software outsourcing industry. Vietnam also has quickly gained the second position of Japan's largest IT partner. This article, by Rob Marvin from PC Magazine, will give us a clear view about the current landscape of the Vietnam IT industry and how the country has become an emerging offshore outsourcing destination and Southeast Asia's Silicon Valley.
More than four decades after choppers lifted the last U.S. troops back across the world, Vietnam's Da Nang Hi-Tech Park hums with activity. The park, one of several established as part of Vietnam's 2020 IT Master Plan, houses offices and factories for a growing number of international IT and software companies, hardware manufacturers, and infrastructure plants powering the central Vietnamese city at the heart of a tech boom.
Today's Vietnam—with a population of over 93.5 million and a median age of 30.3 years old—is defined by a growing population of young coders, engineers, entrepreneurs, and students driving economic growth and technological innovation. For them, the country's war-torn past is a history lesson, not a memory.
Vietnam barely had any IT companies 15 years ago, but now there are close to 14,000 IT businesses spanning hardware, software, and digital content. The Vietnamese government sees the tech sector as the linchpin of the country's economic growth, according to Mr. Long Lam, CEO of QuangTrung Software City (QTSC), Vietnam's largest software park. It has heavily invested in infrastructure and passed economic policies encouraging both domestic and international entrepreneurs to start businesses.
From Vietnam's northern capital of Hanoi to the coastal city of Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC, formerly Saigon) in the south, regional universities churn out hundreds of well-trained IT and software engineering graduates each year. Many are recruited right out of school by companies like Cisco, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Intel, LG, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba. More and more graduates also choose to seek venture capital (VC) funding to launch start-ups.
For the moment, HCMC's start-up culture is concentrated on the local market and apps that appeal to Vietnamese users to better their quality of life. Vietnam's young app developers and entrepreneurs are motivated by the desire to help their country realize its cultural, economic, and technological potential—the same reason Duong, Dr. Nguyen and LogiGear's Nguyen returned home in the first place.
"Vietnam is quickly becoming an investment and tech hub for local and international enterprises, and HCMC is at the heart of this transformation," said Jeff Diana, Chief People Officer (CPO) at enterprise software company Atlassian. "The industry is still fairly nascent here, but we are starting to see the market mature from either packaging software or outsourcing to a product environment. This is leading to an increase in start-ups focused on e-commerce and product development."
Atlassian expanded research and development (R&D) operations for its communication and collaboration software into Vietnam in 2013, which Diana said was motivated by the country's modified educational structure that is producing capable and talented coders. Atlassian's development center in HCMC began with a team focused on building features for Confluence, the company's team content collaboration platform. But, in the last two years, it has launched new teams that are focusing on Jira Service Desk and Atlassian's flagship Jira issue management software.
The company invested in a recruiting campaign called the "Gradlassian HackHouse" program aimed at local universities, plus a two-week boot camp and developer training for all new hires. Atlassian's Vietnam Careers page alone shows open positions spanning Android/iOS development, UI/UX design, .NET, Java, front-end development, product management, and more—to be filled almost entirely by local professionals according to Diana.
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