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Vietnam's government ponders knowledge economy

IDG.net

June 27, 2000
Web posted at: 11:27 a.m. EDT (1527 GMT)

(IDG) -- Vietnam's leaders must understand the benefits of the knowledge economy and make it a part to of the country's national renovation effort to allow Vietnam to effectively integrate into the rest of the world. This was the message at a seminar being held this week in Hanoi, according to the government news agency VNA.

The two-day seminar, which finishes Tuesday, is being held to introduce the concept of the knowledge-led economy to senior government and Communist party officials, VNA reported in a statement issued Monday. VNA did not report who was presenting the information to the officials.

Knowledge, information and technology have a decisive importance in boosting production in a knowledge economy, thereby creating profit for society as well as improving living standards for all, VNA said.

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Delegates to the seminar agreed that it was necessary for Vietnam to adopt a knowledge-led economy, with the need to promote an awareness of its value among policy makers and the general population, according to VNA.

But the government's approach to the global knowledge economy has been half-hearted, according to foreign businessmen working in Vietnam.

For example, while Internet access is freely available, a national firewall prevents the transfer of all traffic except Web surfing, FTP (file transfer protocol) transfers and e-mail.

Business software such as Lotus Notes, which uses a special communications port, is barred by the firewall from exchanging data. Instant messaging or chat software has also been barred but may be allowed soon, according to Internet specialists in Vietnam.

All Web sites in the country are supposed to be hosted on servers belonging to government-owned Vietnam Datacommunication (VDC), a subsidiary of the monopoly telecommunications carrier Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications.

And the unreliability of the country's e-mail service caused officials of the United Nations Development Program in Vietnam to complain officially to VDC last month.

Despite this, IT and the Internet are seen as important to the development of the country's economy, the Vietnamese government has stressed in several economic master plans released in the last two years.

So far, however, Internet subscribers in Vietnam number just 50,000, according to government figures, out of a population of 78 million. A significant proportion of those subscribers are users in foreign and joint-venture companies.




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RELATED SITES:
Vietnamese Association for Computing, Engineering Technology and Science (VACETS)
Vietnamese News Agency (VNA)

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