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Vietnam Digital Content Firms Can Exist, but Cannot Live Well


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Vietnam Digital Content Firms Can Exist, but Cannot Live Well

  1. 1. 1Vietnam Digital Content Firms Can Exist, but Cannot Live Well3 April, 2013Weak in creativeness, lacking the qualified labor force, while having no considerable supportfrom the State, digital content firms have been living, but in poor conditions.Lacking creativenessIn the digital content industry, creating content is the most important factor for any firms tocompete with others to exist. However, Vietnamese digital content firms now have problems intechnical creativeness, according to Le Hong Minh, General Director of VNG.Some months ago, VNG implemented an online game project for the Japanese market. Since itwas an important project, VNG prepared 20 workers during 8 months, which included 10workers specializing in drawing. However, despite the thorough preparation, 50 percent of theimages were refused by the Japanese partner.After that, VNG hurried to look for the specialists in the field on all hi-tech forums. However,after one month of implementing the project with the specialists, the percentage of imagesrefused by the Japanese partner rose to 95 percent. Especially, the Japanese partner pointed outsome images which were the “copied products,” not creative products.The chronic disease of the digital content industry is the lack of a qualified labor force. After fiveyears of development, the online game industry has not made any considerable progress. It is
  2. 2. 2estimated that there are only 1,000 people who can work in the industry, and most of them havenot undergone any training course in the field, because there is no such training establishment inVietnam.Meanwhile, the figures are 100,000 in South Korea and 300,000 in China. This explains whyVietnamese games are always inferior to foreign ones.VNG once tasted failure when it launched Thuan Thien Kiem game onto the market. VNG spent4 years to make the game and made heavy investment on the project. It even invited Mai PhuongThuy, the 2006 Miss Vietnam to act as the representative and participate in promotion activities.However, the game still could not find players. It was because the quality of the game was farbelow that of South Korean and Chinese products.Policies don’t encourage digital content firmsDigital content firms have many times call for the state’s support to help develop the fledglingindustry.The government, aware of the problems of the industry, has laid out some policies with offeredinvestment incentives to encourage enterprises to invest in the field.However, Minh said the policies are not transparent, while government agencies have been veryslow in setting up policies. Meanwhile, Facebook only needed one year to increase the numberof Vietnamese members from 3 million to 12 million. It takes only six months to make a foreigngame popular with the highest number of players in Vietnam.Dr. Nguyen Trong Duong, Director of the Information Technology Department of the Ministryof Information and Communication, has admitted that the current regulations on the preferencesfor the digital content industry are vague, which cannot help the firms in the industry.The government, for example, has stipulated a series of incentives for digital content firms in theDecree 108. However, in fact, the firms still cannot enjoy the incentives, simply because therehas been no definition about what the “digital content production” means.In Vietnam, very few enterprises only specialize in making and selling products. The majority ofenterprises make products just to sell services. Since it’s difficult to differentiate the productionand the service providing, a lot of digital content firms cannot enjoy tax incentives.(Source: Buu Dien)