and Internet promise new economy
Internet censorship, IT imperative drives nation
no clearer sign that Vietnam is opening up than the use of the Internet.
Although still in its infancy, there are perhaps only 200,000 registered
Internet users in the country – an increase of more than 250% since
1997 but still less than 0.2% of the 80 million population and far below
the regional norm, but go to any of the hundreds of cafes located in
Hanoi and HCMC, and witness the scores of young people logging on to
their Yahoo and Hotmail accounts. Some astute observers say the country
may easily have over 600,000 such addresses.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Culture and
Information established a restrictive firewall, used to block access to
select websites deemed or viewed as a “social evil,” this blanket
policy on proper policing of the new technology is not diminishing the
emergence of an IT imperative.
technology must be made a compulsory subject in schools to create a body
of skilled workers for the emerging e-society,” proclaims Quach Tuan
Ngoc, director of the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET)’s IT
from the imposing problem of censorship, the infrastructure issues
remain a challenge, including a narrow bandwidth, but access rates are
steadily falling each quarter. The newly built software park Quang Trung
Software City, located in Saigon, signals there’s a strong movement
afoot to develop a software industry with growth anticipated to reach
$340 million in 2005.
“ We intend to invest up
to $30 million in developing IT in the 2002-2005 period and attract up
to $300 million in foreign investment to implement IT development
programs,” expressed Dr. Nguyen Thien Nhan, the charismatic Standing
Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of HCMC.
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