For an expat, Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh city can be a bridge between simpler times and the modern business world. This is equally captivating and frustrating, depending on one’s line of work.
But the metropolis is set to make a major leap into the future. And foreign investors are taking note.
In recent months, the Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communications confirmed the city has laid the groundwork for four main pillars of a smart city: A shared database and open data ecosystem, a smart city operating center, a center for socioeconomic forecasts and simulation, and a center for information safety.
To a transient visitor or a casual observer, these moves may not have significance. But for HCMC’s standing as a business and information hub, these are notable moves for a major urban center with its eye on becoming a global player.
According to the government release, shared database of the city has been put into operation at Quang Trung Software City in District 12. The database integrates data from the city’s agencies and departments, which cover multiple sectors, from foreign investment to public investment, education, healthcare and cadastre. The city has also launched a shared database portal at https://data.hochiminhcity.gov.vn.
How does this benefit the average citizen? Or a resident from a foreign nation? These could be game-changers both in terms of day-to-day life as well as the city’s attractiveness as a commercial center.
“Everyone in Saigon is more or less confronted with the paper trail that goes everywhere, in some folder somewhere… means a loss of time,” said Marco Sollie, COO of multinational player Joon Solutions, boasting offices offering data solutions in Europe, North America and Vietnam. “They want to take a step into the future.”
Essentially, mining data from all departments will help centralize information to improve the efficiency of the city in virtually all areas. Anything that touches data, or analytics, can make the city a more attractive proposition not only for residents, but domestic and foreign ventures. Joon Solutions is one such group that sees the benefits of such a major center becoming a major player for its clients that are not only based in Vietnam, but also cities and countries worldwide.
According to the government release, the city has worked through its initial phase and is preparing for the second phase of the smart city plan, which will run from 2021 to 2025. It has approved five smart city projects under the plan, with total investment of more than VND2.76 trillion. Notably, the city plans to establish a smart medical center using artificial intelligence to connect doctors and experts at local hospitals with their counterparts at over 100 hospitals in 12 countries.
By Harry Hodge, an expat in Vietnam
This story was first posted on the Saigon Times