A workshop themed "ASEAN 4.0: entrepreneurs in the fourth industrial revolution” takes place in Hanoi on August 21. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
– Opportunities and challenges facing ASEAN enterprises in the fourth industrial revolution (4.0) were the main discussion at a workshop hosted by the Foreign Ministry in Hanoi on August 21.

The event, themed “ASEAN 4.0: entrepreneurs in the fourth industrial revolution”, forms part of activities ahead the World Economic Forum (WEF) ASEAN 2018 that will take place in Hanoi from September 11-13.

It saw the participation of representatives from ASEAN embassies in Vietnam, ministries, leaders of top local technology enterprises and economic experts.

Participants shared ideas and made policy recommendations to help ASEAN enterprises improve their adaptation to and increase their participation in the 4.0 industrial revolution, thus maintaining the region’s active development.

In his opening speech, Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son said: “Vietnam is striving for sustainable growth on the basis of improving the quality of growth and taking advantage of the opportunities of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 to increase its labour productivity and competitiveness to move up the ladder in the global value chain.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son makes the opening remarks at the workshop. (Photo: VNA)

Vietnam is working to be one of the world’s top 10 biggest software and digital content outsourcing service nations, with about 1 million employees in the IT field by 2020, Son said.

The Deputy Foreign Minister also highlighted the opportunities for ASEAN developing nations to make fast, sustainable and inclusive development in the fourth revolution.

ASEAN is the world's sixth-largest economy with 630 million people, of whom, 260 million have a regular access to the Internet. The number is expected to increase to 480 million by 2020.

In Vietnam, about 60 percent of the 93 million population are under 35 years of age. They have a quick access to new technology and about 55 percent of the population use the Internet.

Son cited estimates of Google and Singaporean Temasek groups, saying that the Southeast Asian internet economy will reach 200 billion USD by 2025, or 6 percent of the region's total GDP.

“This is a favourable foundation and a big enough market for innovation and investment in new business models in the region as well as in Vietnam,” Son said.

However, Son also highlighted challenges posed in the 4.0 industrial revolution. Large-scale automation, changing business models that cause disturbance, displacement, and employment replacement in large scale, especially in labor-intensive industries.

“This poses an urgent need for vocational education and training in many ASEAN countries,” he said.

According to the International Labor Organisation (ILO), about 56 percent of the workforce of five ASEAN countries, namely Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, are at high risk of being replaced by new technologies in about two decades.

Participants at the workshop. (Photo: VNA)

Son suggested each ASEAN Government and ASEAN business promote self-reliance, find new ways to adapt to and prosper in a fast-paced world under the influence of new technology.

Vietnam and the World Economic Forum will co-host the ASEAN World Economic Forum 2018 (WEF ASEAN 2018) in Hanoi from September 11 to 13.

This is one of Vietnam's biggest foreign events this year, attracting more than 1,000 domestic and international delegates.

The WEF ASEAN 2018 co-hosting is the initiative of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab.

Under the theme "ASEAN 4.0: Enterprise Spirit in the 4th Industrial Revolution", the conference is expected to promote dialogues and share the vision, ideas and policy directions related to the 4.0 revolution in ASEAN and around the world.

The agenda of the WEF ASEAN 2018 was also elaborated on this year's ASEAN theme: “ASEAN Resilience and Innovation”.-VNA