Vietnamese youth prefer to shop online

A man uses a laptop to access the Internet at a coffee shop in downtown Hanoi on August 6, 2013.

HO CHI MINH CITY - With smart phone purchases on the rise in Vietnam due in no small part to its younger generations, more Vietnamese are connecting to the Internet and accessing social media.

"In the short-term, we want to understand the trends of mobile technology in Vietnam and the surrounding regions,"said Javier Polit, Chief Information Officer of the Coca-Cola Company, Bottling Investments Group during a strategic summit in Ho Chi Minh City last week, held to discuss developments in information technology.

"In the long-term, however, we aim to assure that based on such insights, we can carry out the most appropriate and effective technological solutions so that our business can best serve the needs of the Vietnamese consumers and market."

Polit said that IT was playing a significant role in Coca-Cola's development, adding that "countries in Asia, such as Vietnam, will soon be the ones shaping the consumer mobile behaviours of the West.

It will be interesting to closely observe these social network and mobile technology trends.

"In this case, the west will not be setting the trends for the world like before."

Experts have flagged concerns with threats to privacy of information, adding that a policy framework needed to be developed in consultation with key corporations and top representatives.

Nguyen Thanh Tuyen, Deputy Director of the Information and Communications Department of the Ministry of Information and Communication, said the ministry was improving infrastructure in the IT sector under Resolution 13, issued by the Vietnamese government in January last year.

The resolution aims to build a technological system to enable Vietnam's transition into an industrial nation by 2020.

"It is the most essential component in national development, according to instruction 58 from the Ministry in 2000", Tuyen said.

The deputy director voiced his support of businesses embracing information technology as a way to collaborate with other companies and create efficiencies.

He also suggested discussions with businesses were an important way to gauge capabilities and enable better coordination.

"What we're trying to accomplish in Vietnam through this summit is not only to understand the trends in technology, but also to understand how to strengthen the competencies of local employees, our customers using IT, and students, who will shape Vietnam's future."

The government has built a productive relationship with Coca-Cola, with the deputy director expressing initial support for projects that will provide IT training in secondary schools.