More than 31 percent of Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) companies prefer to choose Vietnamese enterprises as partners, compared to 20.6 percent for India and 16.7 percent for China.

The figures were quoted in the Japan ICT White Book 2012 released at the two-day Japan ICT Day 2012 in Ho Chi Minh City , which closes on Nov. 13.

"ICT is playing more and more an important role in economic development and I'm pleased to see strategic cooperation between Vietnam and Japan," said Nghiem Vu Khai, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology and chairman of the Vietnam – Japan Friendship Organisation.

For the last five years, software processing and exports have contributed 30-35 percent of total turnover for the sector.

Japan , the US and Europe are the three largest customers with revenue of hundred millions of US dollars each year.

"There is a great deal of potential for Vietnamese enterprises to work with Japanese enterprises as contract value is only one-third compared with China," said Takashi Igarashi, a representative of the Japan IT Services Industry Association (JISA).

However, quality of human resources, professional skills and language are all still a challenge for Vietnam .

"Human resource training should be done in multiple forms at companies," K. Hirata, general director of Nissan Techno Vietnam , said. "Vocational training schools should work closely with companies to seek new and more effective training models for human resources."

In addition, management and sales ability are both new challenges for local companies.

"However, there is not any barrier in Vietnam - Japan cooperation relationship. Japanese companies should feel reassured to order from Vietnamese companies," said Pham Tan Cong, deputy chairman and general secretary of the Vietnam Software and IT Services Association (VINASA).

Twenty leading Japanese software companies met and worked with 120 Vietnamese partners at the event, organised for the sixth time by VINASA and the Vietnam - Japan IT Co-operation Club (VJC) in cooperation with JISA and Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO).-VNA