Among the countries in Asia (including Australia and New Zealand) who have been eager to promote the digital content industry as a key driver of growth in the economy, Vietnam has entered the fray, with the government poised to set revenue targets for the industry of US$400 million by 2010. While this may not seem much compared with the industry’s size in other nations such as Australia or Japan in particular, industry revenue there is growing at 35-40% according to the Nhan Dan. The government’s DCI masterplan hopes to increase this growth rate to 50% per annum, according to iConnect Online.

One serious issue here is how big a role the government can (or should) play in ‘promoting’ the industry. While digital content is emerging as an industry earmarked for strategic support, no mention has yet been made as to whether this support will entail subsidies and tax concessions for local firms or multinational enterprises to setup, or more structurally-oriented policies that provide funding for industry-specific training and education, and relax financial and investment regulations.

If, as the Nhan Dan article suggests, that industry growth is already as high as 35-40%*, can the government do anymore to increase the importance of the industry? Other than reconfiguring structural and regulatory regimes that inhibit the growth of new and high-growth sectors such as digital content, the industry may benefit from being left to their own devices.

According to an article in Vietnam Net Bridge, this appears to be case, with the Government recognising the need for both training courses and the development of broadband infrastructure to support the industry’s development. The iConnect article also makes mention of the government’s plan to develop ‘legal corridors and copyright protection’, which are currently lacking. While the government may very well introduce financial incentives to grow the industry, the policies mentioned thus far appear to be  on track to provide the industry with the structural and institutional support it needs to continue developing.

(*the Nhan Dan article makes no mention of this growth rate being annual or over a 4 year period. Articles from VNA indicate that this is annual growth. This extraordinarily high growth rate can be explained from the very small starting point of the industry.)