The local information and communications technology (ICT) hardware industry should invest more in research and development (R&D) to increase competitive capacity and seize more market share, experts have said.

Pham Thien Nghe, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Electronic Industries Association (VEIA), said that investment in R&D was important for both large and small- to medium-sized companies.

Additional capital for R&D activities would assist the ICT industry in making more value-added products.

More money should be poured into R&D rather than in the computer-parts industry because local companies do not have the capital to invest in the latter, and have a low share of the hardware market, Nghe said.

Computer parts in the support industry include screws, plastic frames, carton boxes, mainboards, chips, hard drives, RAMs, keyboards, screens and CPUs, all of which would require billions of dollars in investment.

Nghe said that in today's global market it was not necessary to make all computer parts locally.

Added value for Vietnamese-branded computers has reached an average of 24 percent, with some brands at 30 percent, he added.

He said that hardware, as well as software, could bring high added-value.

The country's ICT market is likely to earn more than 7.6 billion USD this year, of which the hardware industry is estimated to account for 84 percent, or 4.8 billion USD, according to the HCM City Computer Association (HCA).

Foreign companies hold a 98 percent market share in hardware exports, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Turnover of Vietnamese-branded computers is expected to be only 300 million USD this year, up from 200 million USD last year.

In addition to seeking investment from foreign companies, Nghe said the Government should create incentives to help small- and medium-sized companies pour more money and staff into R&D activities that would help improve design and applications for the latest versions of hardware.

State-owned institutions should work closely with companies on R&D projects, especially those related to embedded products, he said.

The focus of production should be on mobile devices and specialised electronic equipment for medicine, education and science, Nghe added./.