Norihiko Muratake, CEO of NTT Data Vietnam, shared with Hanoitimes his opinions for Vietnam to move forward in the post-pandemic period.
|CEO of NTT Data Vietnam consideres a predictable legal environment key for Vietnam to attract FDI post Covid-19. Photo: Nguyen Tung.|
How has the Covid-19 impacted NTT Data Vietnam’s operations?
NTT Data Vietnam provides IT services to the local market and overseas. In fact, until March, we were not much impacted as the company was currently working on existing projects. However, from April, we could not contact and hold meetings with new clients. Even for existing customers, they are trying to save information techonoly costs, so we started facing difficulties since then.
Moreover, we started to work from home in April and thus the company has to provide laptops and other equipment to support the remote working process, so it increased costs and again impacted our businesses.
Vietnam, in general, and Hanoi, in particular, are providing a range of measures to support economic recovery. What is your view of the government’s efforts?
I think the Vietnamese government has done a good job in protecting people’s lives against Covid-19. The government started setting up protecting measures since February, it is very early if you compared to other countries. Vietnam relaxed preventive measures in April and restarted business activities in May, so things are returning to normal and we are very grateful to the government’s efforts.
The Vietnamese government has also acted to delay tax payment and reduce electricity fees, among others. For us, the decision to expand internet capacity during this crisis period is very important and good for our operations.
However, at present, foreigners are not able to enter Vietnam. Companies like us employ many expats, and they are currently in Japan. While we have many ongoing projects, they cannot come and take part directly. Of course, we are trying to provide online training and technology transfer, but it is not 100% effective. We want to bring expats to Vietnam and work alongside Vietnamese people. The return of expats to Vietnam would help us restart our businesses.
The Covid-19 pandemic has raised the significance of diversifying the global supply chains from China, so what is NTT Data’s plan for the future?
It takes time to shift operations from one country to another but in the meantime, I think a predictable legal environment is key for Vietnam to attract foreign investors.
Many Japanese companies are looking to move away from China to other countries, including Vietnam.
As the Vietnamese market is growing rapidly, so more Japanese firms are interested in moving here. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese government is pushing for digital transformation and as an IT company, we are looking for ways to shift to the Vietnamese market.
What are your suggestions to improve the business environment here?
We are looking for clearer regulations so that we, as foreign companies, can understand better what the government wants to do.
In Vietnam, the government wants to keep information security, meaning all personal information must be kept in Vietnam. This is a major issue for companies providing cloud services. Nowadays, most of the cyber platforms are shifted to cloud services, but if the government does not allow personal information to be kept outside Vietnam, it could be a major barrier for Vietnam to expand the local IT industry.
Therefore, the government should consider more personal information security, of course this is an important issue, but I think there are more solutions to protect personal information.
Vietnam is pushing for an aadministrative reform by enhancing the efficiency of public online services. How do you think NTT Data can support this process?
In Vietnam, we are working with both our business partners and also the government. We always think about how we can provide better services to the public. And as an IT company, the government’s push for online services is a good opportunity for us.
Meanwhile, almost all the Vietnamese people have smart phones, so it would be very easy for the government to promote online services.
As online payment is an important part of online services, I think Covid-19 is a good chance for Vietnam to convince people to move towards cashless payment.
I expect more opportunities for foreign companies to provide e-payment services in Vietnam as the government has now been more open in this field. For NTT Data, we can cooperate with local partners and share our expertise to support Vietnam’s digitalization process.
Thank you very much!
NTT Data is one of the world’s largest IT company and located in 50 countries and territories with 120,000 employees.
Entering Vietnam in 2009, NTT Data now has three branches in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, with around 200 employees.