An unprecedented number of Vietnamese colleges and universities offer e-commerce training programmes, but the country still has much to learn about the development of online businesses, according to speakers at a seminar held on August 25 by the Vietnam Information Security Association.

A full and flourishing online business community was essential to Vietnam ’s economic development, the speakers said.

“ Vietnam needs to be aware of the importance of e-commerce activities, and view a greater use of e-commerce in the context of integration with the current global economy,” said Nguyen Ngoc Dung of the Vietnam E-commerce Association at the seminar on information security in HCM City .

The country’s e-commerce community is fairly healthy right now, thanks to the legal framework including the e-transaction and the Information Technology Law.

Many public services have been launched online to assist domestic business, such as e-customs, electronic tax declaration, and licensing for establishing representative offices, for business registration and for investment.

So far, 49 institutions of higher learning teach courses on e-commerce, while associations and centres have been founded to offer advice and timely support for e-businesses, according to Dung.

“Business that optimise their presence online will find it easier to popularise their brandsand to reach customers all over the world,” he said.

Ngo Vi Dong, chairman of the association, said that if Vietnam had successful e-business community, the country’s image internationally would improve.

But there were significant challenges and risks to online growth, Dong conceded. Those included loss of information, large-scale SPAM emails, and cyber-attacks for business and competitive reasons.

E-commerce businesses needed prompt solutions to their problems, Dong said.

Phung Hai, head of the Network and System Security Department of the association, agreed. The tech and systems suppliers for e-businesses needed to take information security more seriously and come up with better ways to prevent hacker attacks, he said.

E-commerce suppliers must also have the latest technology, easy-to-use products, provide good customer service, promote themselves better and be able to connect to customers, businesses to businesses and customers to businesses, Hai said./.