VN CEOs brimming with confidence: survey

Done by auditing firm PriceWaterhouseCopper (PwC), the survey found 92 per cent of CEOs of Vietnamese businesses expected higher earnings and profits.

The survey covered over 1,400 business leaders in each of the 21 APEC economies in the run up to the annual APEC CEO Summit in Viet Nam.

The findings were revealed by PriceWaterhouseCopper (PwC) at a press conference during the 2017 APEC Summit yesterday.

The survey found 26 per cent CEOs finding it difficult to find high-quality human resources in Viet Nam to execute their development strategies, as well as poor automation.

PwC Viet Nam General Director, Dinh Thi Quynh Van, said 50 per cent of the Vietnamese CEOs said they had invested in technology and automation in preparation for the 4th industrial revolution and digitalization, but it was still slower than the other countries in the region.

While most CEOs agreed that that automation will be a major progressive development in the future, they also saw that preparations in Viet Nam were lagging, she said.

Vietnamese businesses should train and develop skillful manpower by themselves and invest more in technology to keep pace with the world, she added.

“Confidence levels are high among business leaders in Viet Nam. Half of foreign business investors in Viet Nam (47 per cent) plan to increase their investments in Viet Nam over the next 12 months.

“Positive sentiments can be seen in three areas; an expanding domestic economy, expectations of new growth from trade agreements and export expansion (both regional and intra-regional export growth), along with a positive outlook on innovation in key sectors of opportunity.

But “sustained economic reform, coupled with a strengthening of public institutions and an emphasis on education and skills development will be crucial to make Viet Nam fit for the future.”

She said despite poor traffic infrastructure, Viet Nam is seen as among the fastest growing nations in information technology, and this is an advantage for boosting investment in automation.

According to the Ministry of Information and Communication, 58 per cent of Viet Nam population uses smart phones, while 50 million citizens use the Internet. Viet Nam also ranks 7th in the world in Facebook use.

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Sridharan Nair, Territory Senior Partner for PwC Malaysia/Viet Nam. — VNS Photos: Cong Thanh

Sridharan Nair, Territory Senior Partner for PwC Malaysia/Viet Nam, said Viet Nam should do more to speed up changes in its institutions and legal regulations to attract investment from APEC members and other countries.

Nair also said: “Automation is a key recurring theme in strategies for building the workforce of the future, with 58 per cent automating certain functions, 40 per cent investing in machine learning and emerging technologies, while 41 per cent identifying workers that are skilled at using new automation tools.”

For ASEAN businesses, automation is high on the agenda as a key building block in their strategy to develop a digital workforce, he added.

The survey also showed that 63 per cent of APEC CEOs expect global footprints to expand in next three years, while confidence in revenue growth is at its highest level for three years amongst business leaders in 21 APEC economies, Nair noted.

He said the survey revealed 37 per cent of APEC CEOs were very confident of revenue growth during the next 12 months, up from 28 per cent in 2016, despite trade policy uncertainty and related political tensions in many of the economies that make up the bloc.

In the next year, a net 50 per cent of businesses surveyed by PwC will increase their global investments (including those outside the APEC region), up from 43 per cent last year, as APEC businesses increase their foothold and influence on the global economy.

The survey showed that 71 per cent of those who are raising investment will direct those increases into APEC economies in 2018.

The biggest domestic investment winners will be Viet Nam, Russia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. Five members, Viet Nam, China, Indonesia, the US and Thailand, are the top APEC targets for business leaders’ overseas investment.

The survey also found that 89 per cent of Malaysian CEOs and 86 per cent of Vietnamese CEOs expect to expand globally. As a result, a majority of CEOs expect to rely more on business partnerships and joint ventures in response to the changing trade environment.

PwC Global Chairman Bob Moritz said: “APEC economies could be a test bed for the integration of automation with the workforce of tomorrow. Businesses know best what skills they need, and now public and private sectors need to work together to create practical ways to train, develop and access those skills.”

According to PwC, Viet Nam could be among the top 20 economies in the world, surpassing several more advanced economies, such as the Netherlands in 2030 and Australia in 2040.

[Source: 9th November 2017]