Nguyen Thien Nhan (second from right), Secretary of the HCM City Party Committee, speaks at the forum (Photo: VNA)
 
HCM City (VNA) - The Ho Chi Minh City Economic Forum (HEF) 2018 took place November 23, focusing on the role of businesses in creating an innovative and interactive urban area.

More than 600 local and international experts, scientists, academics and representatives from local and foreign businesses took part in the event, the first of its kind organised by the local authorities.

In his opening speech, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong said the city is implementing a project to become a smart urban area by 2020.

Under the plan, the city’s eastern area, including districts 2, 9 and Thu Duc, will be developed into an innovative hub based on a digital and knowledge-based economy.

With adoption of Resolution 54, which allows special policies for HCM City, including more financial autonomy, the city now contributes 23 percent to national GDP, 30 percent of State revenue, 16 percent of industrial output, and 15 percent of exports.

To build an innovative urban area, the city, which is home to nearly one-third of the country’s enterprises, needs strong cooperation between the state, enterprises, scientists and investors.

Enterprises play a key role in enabling innovation and startup activities, Phong said.

Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan said the city boasts great potential for innovative urban development.

It is important to improve the capacity to research and use the city’s available resources for creative economic development, he said, adding it is vital to strengthen connections between universities, research institutes and enterprises.

The eastern part of the city has great potential for education, science and technology application, with 16 universities and more than 500,000 students, which is an important factor for innovation, he noted.

Huynh Thanh Dat, Director of HCM City National University, said that “innovation districts” will include a high density of creative and startup activities.

Experience from other countries shows innovation districts are associated with research universities, which supply entrepreneurs, subjects of innovation, and startup activities, he said.

Building an “innovation district” should be viewed as a “roadmap” rather than a specific destination, he added.

Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue told the conferees that the Government will continue improving growth quality and competitiveness through healthy economic restructuring.

The country will also ensure a favourable business environment and encourage start-ups, innovation and smart-city measures.

Hue urged the city to address problems in infrastructure, human resources development, and administrative reform, as well as climate change and population growth.

The city needs to maintain macroeconomic stability, control inflation, and promote GDP growth, he said, adding that this will ensure social security, job growth, higher income, and quality of life for its citizens.

With the theme “Fostering Interactive and Innovative Districts: the Prominent Role of Businesses”, the forum featured speakers from respected companies, organisations and educational institutions around the world. - VNA