More than 400 scientists, researchers, and business people from the Asia-Pacific region have gathered in HCM City to discuss ways to improve quality management for sustainable development.

They are attending the three-day Asian Network for Quality (ANQ) Congress which opened Sept. 28.

"The vigorous economic development of Asia has come up with high demand for quality," Qi Weiming, chairperson of the ANQ, said.

"Having gone beyond the scope of manufacturing, quality has covered services, healthcare, education, environment, and government, and gained more and more attention from the government and society."

People are increasingly aware that quality management was the key to sustainable development, he said.

Sustainable development has undoubtedly taken centre stage and quality management is an effective long-term business strategy, especially in today's information-driven, globalised world, he added.

The congress chair, Nguyen Quang Toan, said striking a balance between economic growth, societal change, and environmental concerns is critical, and sustainable growth was the way forward.

This year's congress is taking a look at manufacturing and services, healthcare, education, society, environment, public sector, and information and communications technology.

The Vietnam Quality Association of HCM City (VQAH) and the Department of Science and Technology are hosting the event which includes technical visits and tours to the Viet Thang Textile Corporation and Minh Long Ceramic Company, the two leading businesses in their respective fields.

Toan said since the 1990s, Vietnamese businesses have rapidly adopted international quality management standards which hve also been successfully applied at Government agencies and in education and medicine.

Ngo Phuc Hanh of the VQAH said more than 600 government agencies have received ISO 9001:2008 certification, with another 400 working towards it.

Continued application of ISO 9001:2008 in public administration will contribute immensely to administrative reform while enhancing Vietnam 's global integration.

"However, we have encountered many difficulties such as environmental pollution and climate change which affect social accountability, economic growth, and sustainable development."

The congress, first held in Tokyo in 2002, includes seminars for business and quality professionals around Asia and the world.

Presentations cover developments in philosophy, theory, methodology, and application in the quality field.

The congress covers quality management not only in manufacturing, IT, and services, but also in health care, education, government, and social services.

The ANQ has members from 17 nations and territories — Bangladesh, China, Taiwan, Dubai, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam./.