Uber, Grab, Bitcoin and Vietnam’s digital economy


The fierce opposition by traditional taxi firms to Uber and Grab, the uncertainty of state management of bitcoins, and the number of Vietnamese starting up businesses in Singapore all show that it is necessary to amend the legal framework in the context of the digital economy.

20171109103146_scitech_uber_ZREGThe development of the digital economy may increase GDP in ASEAN by US$1 trillion in the next 10 years, according to one research report.

Thailand, for example, has established the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society whose functions are planning, developing and implementing activities for the digital economy.

Malaysia has decided to allocate a budget of US$36 million to develop an e-commerce ecosystem and has also encouraged digital invention movement with projects worth US$100 billion, to be implemented in the next 10 years.

Akamai’s quarterly reports showed that Vietnam ranked 95th in the world in internet connection speed in 2015, but jumped by 37 grades to 58th in the first quarter of 2017.

In terms of a database, Vietnam has many companies that collect, analyze and process specialized data.

Considerable improvements in information security have been noted with a report from the Vietnam Information Security Association saying that the information security index has been increasing year after year, surpassing the world’s average level for the first time in 2016.

Vietnam is in not inferior to regional and world countries in the growth rate of high-speed internet, smart electronic devices and mobile phone users. It is expected that by 2020, the number of Vietnamese smartphone users will increase by 30 times to 60 million (60% of population) compared with 2010.

“We have basically become ready,” said Nguyen Xuan Hai from EPG-AVSE Global, the Association of Vietnamese Scientists and Experts.

“The images of older people reading news on iPads or children learning via the internet, and images of businesspeople connecting with their assistants via mobile phones or housewives doing online shopping have become very common,” he said.

As information technology develops rapidly, the legal framework cannot keep pace with it, he said.

According to Hai, there are two scenarios for legal framework. First, apply a closed-door policy and rely completely on internal resources. Second, remove legal barriers to let technology firms develop freely.

Both scenarios have their advantages and disadvantages, and Vietnam has to make a choice. However, the 4.0 revolution bringing about the digital economy is inevitable.