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Vietnamese tech firms earn big from foreign markets

Vietnamese tech firms earn big from foreign markets

Saturday, February 24, 2024, 09:09 GMT+7
Vietnamese tech firms earn big from foreign markets
Vietnamese tech giant FPT has established FPT Automotive, which specializes in auto software, in the U.S. with a revenue target of $1 billion by 2030. Photo: Van Anh / Tuoi Tre

Vietnamese tech firms generated massive revenues last year thanks to ventures in international markets.

During a visit to Laos late last year, Vuong Dinh Hue, chairman of Vietnam’s National Assembly, met with leaders from Star Telecom, a joint venture between Vietnamese telecom group Viettel and Lao Asia Telecom providing telecom services in Laos under the Unitel brand.

Viettel has been investing in Laos for over 14 years, particularly in projects which focus on providing telecom services in rural and remote areas.

Currently, the Unitel network provides service to all of Lao districts and offers 4G in 70 percent of the country, putting Laos towards the top of Southeast Asia in terms of 4G coverage.

Unitel is currently Laos’s second largest tax payer and the country’s largest telecom sector taxpayer, averaging over US$53 million in annual taxes. It is also the country’s largest employer with a team of 27,000 staff.

“Unitel is an example of Viettel Group’s successful foreign investment over the past few years.

“Unitel has contributed to improving telecom and digital transformation in Laos,” Hue said.

Other Viettel-invested telecom companies include Natcom in Haiti, Metfone in Cambodia, Mytel in Myanmar, Telemor in Timor Leste, and Lumitel in Brurundi.

Outside of telecom, Viettel’s foreign investment includes forays into the information security sector in Japan, Myanmar, Timor Leste, and Hong Kong.

It is also involved in digital finance and has managed to export its platforms to Mozambique, Laos, Haiti, Timor Leste, and Burundi.

A Viettel representative said revenue from foreign markets soared 20.5 percent last year, on par with the company’s results for the past seven years.

Vietnamese tech firm FTP also succeeded in the global market last year, with revenue from software exports surpassing $1 billion.

Such success is likely owed to FPT’s shift from outsourcing software to becoming more involved in the complicated stages of value chains. Over half of FPTs revenue from foreign markets came from digital transformation services which focused primarily on Cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and data analysis.

Last year, FPT beat out over 100 international contractors to win a $200 million contract to provide operation and digital transformation services to a U.S.-based firm focused on providing solutions to inventories, marketing, sales, post-sale management, and operations for auto distributors.

Secrets of success

According to Unitel CEO Tran Trung Hung, many of the company’s top posts are held by Laotians, a move which helps to foster a sense of ownership amongst the employees.

“Our achievements cannot be described through numbers. Our focus on giving first and receiving later has allowed us to gain the confidence of customers in Laos and become a bridge of the friendship and solidarity between the two countries,” Hung said.

FPT chairman Truong Gia Binh shared the same view, saying that FPT suffered losses of over $1 million in Japan before gaining support from its Japanese partners.

Besides adapting to the market, staying ahead through the study of new technologies and becoming involved in the higher stages of technological value chains has allowed FPT to gain success in foreign markets, Binh noted, adding that this strategy has helped the company stay competitive against rivals from India and China.

Vietnamese National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue assessed Unitel a typical success in overseas investment. Photo: Thanh Thuy / Tuoi Tre
Vietnamese National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue assessed Unitel a typical success in overseas investment. Photo: Thanh Thuy / Tuoi Tre

Dreaming big

During a meeting with FPT last week, Vietnamese Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung said enterprises should, in addition to yielding profits, aim to resolve social issues.

According to FPT chairman Binh, FPT Software was established two decades ago to introduce Vietnamese brainpower and technology to the world.

In the twenty years since, Vietnam has managed to climb to the second place among countries in terms of information technology service offerings, following India, and is known as an investment and digital renovation hub, Binh said.

FPT plans to continue developing Vietnam into a new tech center. The group recently set up FPT Automotive with a goal of generating $1 billion in revenue by 2030.

According to Unitel CEO Hung, Vietnamese enterprises which desire to make breakthroughs should step out of their comfort zones and begin learning about the legal systems and customs in new countries.

Hung told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that Unitel aimed to become the largest conglomerate in Laos by 2025, joining all economic sectors in the neighboring country with telecom as its primary profit-driver and fintech, technological solutions, digital content, e-commerce, and healthcare being major pillars of the company’s growth.

The company’s revenue target for next year is $306 million.

Hoang Trung Thanh, general director of Viettel Post, which is under the umbrella of Viettel, said the company also operates in Myanmar and Cambodia and will begin investing in Laos, Thailand, and China before entering Australia and Europe this year as part of its plan to make Vietnam a global logistics hub.

In addition to FPT and Viettel, Vietnamese start-ups in new sectors, such as mobile gaming and blockchain, have succeeded in the global market, including Axie Infinity and Amanotes, according to Huy Nguyen, former senior tech lead manager at Google.

Huy shared that enterprises wishing to succeed in a new market should meet the requirements in quality, price, and demand.

To understand the demand of customers in new markets, firms must understand their languages and culture, have relations to access potential customers, prove to gain customers’ trust, and meet requirements to operate in the markets.

They also need the support of other Vietnamese enterprises and the government.

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Thanh Ha - Duc Thien / Tuoi Tre News

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