These include An Phu Intersection in Thu Duc new city and the renovation of Tham Luong, Ben Cat and Nuoc Len canals, to be implemented from now to 2025, according to Phong.
- Vinamilk keeps leading in liquid milk segment
- Sun World Fansipan Legend celebrates the 5th anniversary of the cable car to the top of Fansipan
- Ixora Ho Tram by Fusion – million-dollar amenities boost property value
- Timo Digital Bank platform appoints Nirukt Sapru to its Global Advisory Board
- Hongkong Land continues its 132-year legacy in Viet Nam
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed lives and economies around the globe, requiring governments to seek new urban management technologies and solutions to address the current crisis as well as promote economic growth in the post-pandemic period. One of the initiatives taken is the implementation of smart cities. 
The pandemic has shown the importance of smart cities where digital technology will help facilitate remote work and conduct financial transactions, which is crucial to keeping urban economies running.
In Southeast Asia, smart cities will play an increasingly important role in generating economic growth and tackling complex urban challenges. According to a report by McKinsey Global Institute  , smart cities are expected to create 1.2 million – 1.5 million new jobs, prevent 260,000-270,000 kiltrons greenhouse gas emissions, and save somewhere between US$9-16 billion living expenses across ASEAN.
From the “Thailand 4.0″ plan to Singapore’s “Smart Nation” initiative, governments across Southeast Asia are driving the smart city transformation process. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently at the 36th ASEAN Summit said that ASEAN could use  the smart city network in the region to exchange ideas and experiences in utilising technology in the fight against COVID-19. For example, technology to enhance contact tracing.
The ASEAN Smart City Network (ASCN) was established on April 28, 2018, to encourage further cooperation among the 10 ASEAN member states to promote sustainable smart city development. The focus of ASCN’s work is on improving the lives of the ASEAN people through technology. As ASEAN Chair in 2020, Viet Nam will play a key role in leading ASCN and promoting smart city development across Southeast Asia. 
From the “Thailand 4.0″ plan to Singapore’s “Smart Nation” initiative, governments across Southeast Asia are driving the smart city transformation process. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently at the 36th ASEAN Summit said that ASEAN could use  the smart city network in the region to exchange ideas and experiences in utilising technology in the fight against COVID-19 – for example, technology to enhance contact tracing.
To further encourage cooperation among the 10 ASEAN member states, the ASEAN Smart City Network (ASCN) was established on April 28, 2018 to promote sustainable smart city development. The focus of ASCN’s work is on improving the lives of the ASEAN people through technology. As ASEAN Chair in 2020, Viet Nam will play a key role in leading ASCN and promoting smart city development across Southeast Asia. 
Innovating through Hitachi’s technology
Integrating smart grids and sensors into urban infrastructure will allow governments to continuously collect data to operate cities efficiently, while cutting-edge software will enable rapid data analysis helping both government and business better understand the behaviour of people and consumers. With over 110 years of experience in the field of operational technology and 60 years of experience in the field of information technology, Hitachi has developed an extensive network of global partners focused on working together to develop technological solutions that address economic and social needs.
Over the past two years, Hitachi Vantara Vietnam has been involved in a number of smart city development consulting projects. Among them are large projects with a scale of over 1,000 hectares of complex structures, including residential areas, resort complexes, entertainment centres, and convention centres.
Hitachi smart city solutions aim to address concerns such as safety and public security with surveillance cameras and integrated access control systems, as well as optimise electricity usage through an intelligent energy management system. In addition to that, their Smart Traffic Control Platform Solution, developed with artificial intelligence technology and machine learning technology, helps to monitor and detect traffic violations. Beyond these smart city solutions, Hitachi has also developed solutions to enhance the consumer experience, such as providing access to a variety of services using an e-wallet application.
Viet Nam is emerging as one of Southeast Asia’s leading FinTech centres. At the end of 2019, Viet Nam had 154 FinTech companies and is considered a “FinTech model for Southeast Asia  “. This number increased by 285% compared to 2016, when there were only 40 FinTech companies in Viet Nam.
In Viet Nam, Hitachi has researched and developed an electronic payment system (E-Money) for retirees. Retirement beneficiaries can use these electronic cards to receive retirement payments at the post office. Plans are also underway to introduce non-cash payment systems into use in Vietnamese cities such as in gas stations or stores. 
Aside from non-cash payments, Hitachi has also initiated a pilot project with a local finance company to provide new financial services using digital technology such as artificial intelligence. By promoting the development of cashless payment systems and AI-based financial services, Hitachi aims to play a pioneering role in helping Viet Nam become a leading FinTech hub in the region. 
Hitachi Social is about making the world a better place
A successful smart city is one that ensures the happiness of its residents and improves their quality of life by creating opportunities for both personal and community growth that can enhance the social, economic and environmental values of citizens.
By focusing on social innovation and powering good, Hitachi aims to improve people’s lives through its technologies. Successful social innovation requires first and foremost a deep understanding of the problems people face in everyday life, followed by the development of technology solutions that can help solve problems.
In the ASEAN region, Hitachi has been combining the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and data analysis to create “smart spaces” in cities. Through the introduction of cashless payment systems and FinTech services, smart urban spaces are expected to bring convenience and open business opportunities to organisations and businesses.
A smart city is more than just digital and urban infrastructure. Smart city technology and social innovations can contribute to the well-being of its people. An example of this is Hitachi’s efforts to use data analysis and people flow analysis to understand how people move around the city to ensure the optimal location of public facilities such as parks and childcare centres. This will improve the people’s quality of life and contribute to the greater well-being of the whole community.
 ABI Research, “COVID-19 to Accelerate Adoption of Technology-Enabled Smart Cities Resilience Approaches: Robotics, Digital Twins, and Autonomous Freight”, 05 May 2020 https://www.abiresearch.com/press/covid-19-accelerate-adoption-technology-enabled-smart-cities-resilience-approaches-robotics-digital-twins-and-autonomous-freight/
 McKinsey & Company, “ SMART CITIES INSOUTHEAST ASIA”, July 2018, https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/industries/capital%20projects%20and%20infrastructure/our%20insights/smart%20cities%20in%20southeast%20asia/mgi-smart-cities-in-southeast-asia.pdf
 CNA. “PM Lee calls for greater ASEAN cooperation amid fight against COVID-19.” channelnewsasia, 26 Jun 2020, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/asean-summit-pm-lee-calls-for-greater-cooperation-covid-19-12874392. .
 Tony Cripps, “South-east Asia is getting ‘smart’ with urbanisation”, The Straits Times, 18 May 2018, https://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/south-east-asia-is-getting-smart-with-urbanisation
 Diesel.C. “Vietnam’s fintech industry growth is a model for Southeast Asia.” ASEAN TODAY , 29 December 2019, https://www.aseantoday.com/2019/12/vietnams-fintech-industry-growth-is-a-model-for-southeast-asia/ .
 Hitachi Ltd., Hitachi Signs a Memorandum of Understanding to Support Digitization of Financial Services Provided by Vietnam Post Jointly with SMBC. 29 March 2017 http://www.hitachi.com/New/cnews/month/2017/03/170329a.html
 Hitachi. “Hitachi and VietCredit Start a Demonstration Experiment to Provide New Financial Services Using AI.” Hitachi.com , 2020, http://www.hitachi.com/New/cnews/month/2020/02/200210.html.
HCM City authorities will continue to resolve flooding and traffic congestion, build major transport works, and streamline administrative procedures to reach “smart city” status by 2030, a city official has said.
A view of HCM City. The city will focus on major transport projects, among other initiatives, to become a smart city by 2025.
Speaking at a recent city People’s Council meeting, Nguyen Thanh Phong, chairman of the city People’s Committee, said that two transport projects worth more than VND12 trillion (US$521.8 million) have been approved.
These include An Phu Intersection in Thu Duc new city and the renovation of Tham Luong, Ben Cat and Nuoc Len canals, to be implemented from now to 2025, according to Phong.
It will cost VND3.926 trillion to build An Phu intersection, including VND1.8 trillion from the central State budget and VND2.126 trillion from the city budget.
The three-level intersection will have overpasses and a tunnel. It will start from the approach road to the HCM City-Long Thanh-Dau Giay expressway and end at the Luong Dinh Cua Street, which often sees serious congestion.
In addition, the upgrade of the Tham Luong, Ben Cat and Nuoc Len canals will need VND8.2 trillion, including VND4 trillion from the State budget and VND4.2 trillion from the city budget.
The 32km-long project goes through District 12 and Binh Tan, Tan Phu, Tan Binh, Go Vap, Binh Thanh and Binh Chanh districts.
It is expected to help reduce flooding in the central business district and the northwestern part of the city. It will also improve waterway connections between the city and southern provinces.
‘Smart city’ status by 2025
Phong said the city would focus on “research and development of AI applications in HCM City” in order to become a smart city by 2025.
Under the programme to become a smart city by 2025, a database of all sectors, ranging from housing, transport and environment to healthcare, will share data with all of the city’s administrative departments.
This will help social organisations, businesses and residents have better access to public information and services online through mobile devices and other means, according to Phong.
The city will also focus on developing AI technologies and improving human resources by using AI in education and training, and enhancing academic communications with foreign AI professionals.
In addition, an innovative urban area in the eastern part of the city will continue to be built. The city has already approved the establishment of Thu Duc new city by merging the three eastern districts of 2, 9, and Thu Duc.
The new city will cover more than 211sq.km and be home to more than 1.1 million people. It is expected to promote economic growth in the city and the southern region.
It will serve as a centre for three main functions: scientific and technological research and application; education and training of high-quality human resources; and production and trade of hi-tech products and services.
It is expected to contribute a third of the city’s GDP, accounting for 7 per cent of national GDP.
The city has been working on the eastern innovative urban area project, including the Thu Thiem New Urban Area in District 2, the Northwest urban area, and the Can Gio sea tourist urban area, according to Phong.
Phong pointed out that the city needs more capital for public investment in infrastructure.
He said, for example, from 2016-2021, the city needed VND302.8 trillion to implement nearly 1,950 public transport projects, but the city only managed to allocate about half of that amount.
The city has asked the central government for permission to raise the budget-revenue retention ratio to 24 per cent in the 2021-2025 period, and 33 per cent in the 2026-2030 period. The latter ratio was granted to the city back in 2003. The ratio refers to revenue that the city gives to the central government.
“The new ratio will ensure that the city will achieve sustainable development,” according to Phong.
With a population of 13 million, HCM City, as the nation’s economic locomotive, contributes 24 per cent of the country’s GDP and 27 per cent of the national budget.
From 2016-2019, the GRDP of HCMC witnessed an average increase of 7.72 percent per year and contributed over 22 percent to the national GDP as well as over 26 percent to the state budget.
Despite Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the city still basically fulfilled its missions, with an economic growth of 1.39 percent and the city budget revenue of more than VND371,000 billion (approx. US$16.1 million), accounting for a quarter of the national one.
Remarkably, the ratio of domestic income over the total one in HCMC rose to 71.4 percent last year, which means manufacturing activities in the city are extremely effective, said Chairman Phong.
Observing the resolutions issued in the 13 th National Party Congress and the 11 th HCMC Party Congress, HCMC is now trying to identify feasible mid-term and long-term goals, along with suitable actions to achieve them.
It is now essential for the municipal leaders to analyze, evaluate, and predict specific development conditions of HCMC in order to take full advantage of all possible potentials of the city. Meanwhile, the city authorities should try different methods to find out practical models and solutions to apply to make more breakthroughs so that HCMC becomes a smart, active, and innovative mega city in the region and the world.
With that in mind, Chairman Phong is welcoming all useful recommendations from experts, scientists, state and local organizations. The planning team will base on them to form a detailed planning strategy for HCMC from 2021-2030, with a vision to 2045, taking into account all challenges of Covid-19 pandemic to the community. This strategy must become a critical tool in operation and management tasks of the city for socio-economic growth.
Associate Prof. Dr. Tran Hoang Ngan, Head of the HCMC Institute for Development Studies, shared that this conference received over 80 papers from experts, scientists, leaders of universities, managers of state departments and organizations, the local authorities, private businesses.
These papers mention the fact that HCMC should pursue a sustainable development when transforming into a smart city, with a focus on the digital government and society and the improvement of public service quality. At the same time, the economy structure of HCMC should follow the regional economy viewpoint, making the city the core of the Southern key economic zone.
To achieve these goals, there is no other way but to prioritize technological growth and performance improvement of comprehensive factors so that HCMC can participate in the global value chain.
In addition, there is a prospect of implementing AI technology in economic and financial forecasting and simulation via the development of quantum computing, as well as in establishing a smart city and a digital society.
The conference discussed the methods to strategically turn Thu Duc City into a center for development and a hub to link HCMC to other cities in the Southeast region.
There are also papers on circular economy for a more sustainable development of the city and on current challenges the city is facing.
Dr. Tran Du Lich, an economy expert, stated that being the leader in Vietnam, the growth of HCMC does greatly affect the comprehensive development of the whole nation.
Since HCMC is experiencing a slow-down in growth rate, the municipal authorities need to reevaluate the city’s resilience to unexpected economic events, to review limits in its infrastructure, especially traffic facilities to connect to other regions, which are now harming the innovative growth of HCMC.
Dr. Lich voiced that to stay at the leading position, in the next 10 years, HCMC must maintain its growth rate of 1.2-1.5 times as high as the national one. Its economic activities must be market-oriented to keep its activeness.
He also said that HCMC does not truly need any specific mechanism but a suitable mechanism for a mega city so that it can foster innovation and activeness.
Deputy Minister of Construction Le Quang Hung suggested that the general planning of HCMC was introduced in 2010, which is quite outdated. It is time to adjust that, particularly regarding traffic facilities and sewage systems, waste collection and treatment. He then promised to always offer necessary aid so that the city could fulfill its environmental missions.
The mid-term and long-term goals of HCMC
In 2025, HCMC is a smart city, with modern industrial and service activities. It can maintain its leading position in Vietnam and is the core for the growth of the Southern key economic zone. The average GRDP reaches $8,500 per person.The city ensures a high living standard to residents and becomes civil, modern and friendly.
In 2030, HCMC is the national leader in services, industrial activities, culture, digital economy, and digital society. The average GRDP reaches $13,000 per person. It becomes the economic, financial, trading, technological, cultural center of Southeast Asia.
In 2045, HCMC is the economic and financial center of Asia, with its sustainable development and high living standards. The average GRDP reaches $37,000 per person. The city is an ideal destination in the world.
By Mai Hoa, Manh Hoa – Translated by Thanh Tam
HCM City is looking for breakthrough models and solutions to realize the goal of becoming a smart, dynamic, creative, regional- and international class metropolis, the city’s Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong said.
Income per capita of $37,000 by 2045
HCM City’s Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong said at a recent seminar on HCM City’s development orientation to 2045 that, for more than 45 years, Ho Chi Minh City has been the largest city in the country in terms of population and economic scale. The economic sectors are moving towards modernity, with an increase in services and industry.
Based on the current situation and the country’s goal to become a developed, high-income country by 2045, the city has set medium and long-term goals.
Specifically, by 2025, it will be a smart, modern-oriented industrial and service city, maintaining the leading role of the economy and the growth engine of the Southern key economic region and the whole country, being a pioneer in innovation, and a civilized, modern city with good quality of life and per capita GRDP reaching $8,500.
By 2030, HCM City will be a city of services, with a modern industry, a cultural city, a leader in digital economy and digital society, with per capita GRDP of about $13,000; and an economic, financial, commercial, scientific, technological and cultural center of Southeast Asia.
HCM City’s Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong
By 2045, the city will become the economic and financial center of Asia, a city of sustainable development, high quality of life, and GRDP per capita of about $37,000, an attractive destination for the world.
To implement these orientations, according to experts, the city must analyze, evaluate and forecast specific development factors and conditions, arousing its own potential and strengths; and search for breakthrough models and solutions to develop in the new and specify models and solutions.
Mr. Tran Hoang Ngan, Director of the Institute for HCM City Development Research, said that the city’s development should follow the direction of a sustainable, developed and smart city. In particular, it is necessary to focus on speeding up digital government and digital society, and improving the quality of public services.
Experts said that the city needed to improve productivity, join global value chains, and apply artificial intelligence (AI) in economic-financial forecasting and simulation by developing quantum computing or applying sci-tech in smart cities and digital society. These can all help the city realize its development goals from now to 2045.
Turning Thu Duc City into center of Eastern region urban chain
The city of Thu Duc.
Many experts said that HCM City needs a strategic direction for the development of Thu Duc City to be worthy of a new city within a city connected with urban areas in the Southeast. At the same time, the city must move towards a circular economy, towards the goal of sustainable development.
Economist Tran Du Lich said that under a plan approved by the Prime Minister in 2013, Ho Chi Minh City has 17 urban areas from grade 3 to grade 1.
In the region’s urban centers, such towns as Bien Hoa City (Dong Nai province); Di An town (Binh Duong province); Nhon Trach City (Dong Nai); Long Thanh airport urban area; Phu My Town (Ba Ria-Vung Tau province), and others together with Thu Duc City, will form a chain of urban areas.
Once traffic infrastructure connects the areas, such as ring roads 2 and 3 and bridges over Dong Nai river link Thu Duc city with Bien Hoa city, Thu Duc City will help speed up the development of urban areas in eastern Ho Chi Minh City.
At the same time, developing Ho Chi Minh City in the direction of a multi-center will reduce the pressure of economic activities and population in the inner city. This is the main development direction to solve traffic jams and environmental pollution.
“It can be said that Thu Duc city is the driving force to develop the urban area of Ho Chi Minh City to the East,” Dr. Tran Du Lich said.
The city by 2045 is expected to become a financial and economic hub of Asia and an attractive global city with GRDP per capita of US$37,000.
Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is taking firm steps to digitalize economy and society, making it to bdcome one of the Southeast Asia’s economic hubs by 2030 with a GRDP per capita of US$13,000.
|Production inside Saigon Hi-tech park. Photo: Huy Khanh|
HCMC’s 11 th Party Congress for the 2020-2025 tenure set the vision for the city to become a smart city and play a pioneering role in promoting innovation for greater socio-economic development.
By 2025, the city expected its GRDP per capita to average US$8,500 and five years later, the figure would rise to US$13,000 as HCMC would transform into an economic – financial – trade hub in the Southeast Asian region.
The Party Congress’ resolution envisioned HCMC by 2045 to become a financial and economic hub of Asia and an attractive global city with GRDP per capita of US$37,000.
Given such ambitious targets, HCMC’s leaders identifies the necessity to revise the economic growth model for greater growth quality, along with a focus on promoting spearhead economic sectors of high added value.
Another key priority is to apply science, technology and innovation to improve productivity. In the next five years, HCMC would focus on the development of financial services, banking, tourism, trade, and logistics infrastructure, along with a shift towards production and exports of products with high technological contents.
Such moves are expected to help local enterprises better integrate into global supply chains and enhance the city’s overall competitivenesss.
Last December, the National Assembly in an unprecedented move approved the establishment of a city within HCMC, namely Thu Duc, by merging three eastern districts of 2, 9 and Thu Duc. These three districts’ combined GRDP in 2020 was higher than that of Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces and made up one-third of the HCMC’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP).
The new Thu Duc city would develop based on the foundation of knowledge economy, with a strong focus on creating the growth driving forces for economy, education and healthcare.
Inside Thu Duc city, Saigon Hi-tech park is home for thousands of scientists and engineers to create products capable of competing on the international level.
Nguyen Anh Thi, head of the management board of Saigon Hi-tech Park said the growth rate of added value in products made at the park was estimated at nearly 18% as of late 2020.
Thi said for the 2010-2014 period, productivity was around US$114,000 per worker in the park, and US$292,000 for the 2015-2019, in which in 2019 alone, the productivity was US$373,000.
In the first 10 months of 2020, the combined value of technological products at the park was US$16 billion, accumulating nearly US$81 billion as of present.
Saigon Hi-tech park targets to have total investment capital of nearly US$11 billion by 2025, localization rate of 35%, and export value of US$30 billion, representing a growth rate of 10% per year.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the hi-tech park has played a pioneering role in developing Covid-19 vaccine and putting Vietnam among a handful of countries having the capability to self-produce vaccine in the future.
As HCMC enters a new development period in 2020-2025, Thu Duc city would stay core in an overall effort to turn the city into a regional financial hub.