Vietnam seeing emergence of young tech geniuses

Saigon Investment
(Saigon Investment) - Social talk and public opinion has heated up in recent days after news that one girl who was born in 1992 in Cau Giay district in Hanoi went voluntarily to the Cau Giay District Tax Department to pay tax worth VND 23.4 billion. 

Illustrative photo.

Illustrative photo.

This 28-year-old girl earned revenue of VND 330 bn by composing a software that was posted on Google Play and App Store. Another 30-year-old male in Cau Giay showed his income at VND 260 bn in just one year by writing and posting a software online. He has paid about VND 18 bn in taxes already. In 2020, the Cau Giay District Tax Department had 65 individuals who did online business and paid taxes upto VND 55 bn. Earlier in Da Nang, another young person called Cuong proactively declared and paid taxes upto VND 23.5 bn. All these persons have surprised everyone with their success and are currently topic of hot social discussion.

Although these young entrepeneurs have been honest citizens and have contributed to society, some people also call them foolish because no one would have known of their earnings if they had not declared to the tax authorities. However, in an interview with Tuoi Tre newspaper, Mr. Cuong, the programmer from Da Nang, said that in his opinion everyone who wants to follow the professional path and develop in stature, must fulfill all obligations to the State and be a good citizen and pay tax fully and honestly.

Mr. Le Tu Cu, at the Tax Department in Hai Chau District, was left surprised when Mr. Cuong came with this huge amount to pay his tax. From 2015 to 2019, Mr. Cuong went to the District Tax Department and then to the Da Nang Tax Department many times to pay taxes, while the tax department did not know how to collect such large tax amounts, because it was a new phenomenon for them, and there was no appropriate provision in the tax procedures to accept such amounts.

Traditionally, in order to make several hundred billion dong per year, one needs to invest huge capital, build factories and warehouses, and produce for many years, before seeing profits. Now, young innovators only require a small space, computers and technical equipment to create high value. Therefore, the old fashioned model based on land expansion, exploitation of raw resources, using old techniques, and mobilizing large human resources is completely out of date.

Now the trend is moving towards less exploiting of land in many countries. For example, Dubai produces clean fruits and vegetables in a closed environment in a high-rise building over a one-hectare area. In the Political Report of the 13th National Party Congress, the Government is looking to strengthen a new growth model in economic restructuring, industrialization and modernization of the country by supporting innovation, and developing digital economy and creating a larger digital society.

It is also important to realize from the above cases that during the growth period, we should discover and enable excellent individuals and give them the nucleus to innovate and grow. We also need to create hubs that can attract regional and international talents. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc often says that we have to create eagle nests to welcome eagles to play big international games. However, the important issue is to find out who will create these nests, how they will be created, and whether such nests will be able to catch the eagles.

The State is now creating two large eagle nests, namely, the Hoa Lac creative urban area in Hanoi and Thu Duc city in Ho Chi Minh City. The central government as well as the local governments are investing heavily in these two places, hoping to create a breakthrough in socio-economic development. The implementation has been planned to start mainly with public investment, but there is another way if the eagles create the nests themselves. We should know that Silicon Valley in California was born in 1970 by four Stanford University students. While designing computer software for the military, they came upon the idea of creating a place where young scientists could be creative under the best and most conducive conditions. From this idea came forth Silicon Valley, and big corporations pulled together such as Xerox, HP, IBM, Google, Apple, and Facebook to create a world renowned technology hub.

The story of Silicon Valley should inspire all young creators in Vietnam to not just focus on making money but also contribute to society by paying taxes. Mr. Cuong and his colleagues have big, burning dreams such as to build a complex of creative hubs where individuals and young team players can develop more and more software, pave the way for other young entrepreneurs, and raise societal value and wisdom in Vietnam.

I do not know whether the leaders in Da Nang have heard and accepted this wonderful idea of the 9X generation yet. However, I have a firm belief that if there is a good mechanism, with legal support from the government, good facilities and initial capital, one day Da Nang will surely have a Silicon Valley of its own. These are Da Nang's eagles, who are waiting for an opportunity to spread their wide wings in their homeland sky, and from them, other eagles from far away will also converge. It was Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and other such bright eagles who created Silicon Valley. Let's start from the initial nucleus, small but with high potential and leave them to grow and nurture themselves. The outcome will only be pure genius.

Without the eagles, as Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc described them, creative cities such as Hoa Lac and Thu Duc may become places to just process creative products brought in from outside. Cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang do not lack such eagles. The problem is how to discover them, support them and encourage them. These young geniuses need to be allowed to release their energies for the betterment of society. A 28-year-old girl making VND 330 bn a year in net profit, is like a corporation that has an investment of thousands of billion dong and makes the same profit amount in a year. 

Asso. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Minh Hoa

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