With the fast-growing tech industry and a young, educated workforce, Vietnam is emerging as an innovation and tech hub of Southeast Asia.
Electronics production in Vietnam has been attracting a lot of attention in recent years and the U.S.-China trade war has helped to intensify people’s interest. But as Vietnams electronics market continues to grow, so does the next generation of fearless Vietnamese engineers.
One of the attractive prospects for multinational corporations (MNCs) looking to expand their presence to the region is the young and ambitious population. Vietnam's population currently has a median age of 30yrs and a recent Youth Development Index (YDI) found that 22.5 million (25%) of Vietnam’s population were aged 15-29yrs. This young generation creates an exciting prospect for the future according to Daphne Tien, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, APAC at Mouser Electronics.
Mouser will soon open a new office in Vietnam with aspirations of tapping into the local market. Daphne told EETimes Asia that they chose Vietnam for their new office because “Ho Chi Minh City has a young population, they speak better English, they’re keen to use the internet and many startups are here."
So, what’s inspiring this new generation?
The new opportunities that are opening up for Mouser in Vietnam are not a result of the trade war, as some would expect, but due to the impact the internet has had on the new generation of engineers.
Daphne explains that in Vietnam, “traditionally engineers would wait for a salesperson to visit and tell them what’s the new technology. This is no longer needed as the younger generation will just go online”.
This is a premise that has been pervasive around the globe for many years, as innovative technologies have enabled new companies to disrupt the status quo. This trend has been slower to take hold in Vietnam as it is still struggling to connect its population to the internet. As of 2017, Vietnam had an internet penetration rate of 50% but this has increased from only 35% in 2011.
Mouser has been cooperating with Grant Imahara, previously of the TV series MythBusters, to create a series of videos which looks at new technologies from around the globe. Daphne believes that Mouser can play its part in inspiring the development of engineers in nations such as Vietnam by providing a gateway for continued learning with an array of materials in their Applications & Technologies online learning centre.
Daphne strongly believes that the young generation of engineers currently entering the market in Vietnam provide a great opportunity for online distributors. Mouser has a centralised warehouse based in Dallas, Texas with millions of components and can handle orders both big and small. Daphne explains that Mouser has found success working with startups as they don’t pressure these companies to scale up their production, as other distributors might.
“We are relatively new in Vietnam, but we see a big future and a big market for us to develop”. Last year, ASEAN accounted for 17% of Mouser’s revenue in APAC but with a growth rate of 52% it outperformed the whole of APAC.
Despite the optimism, Vietnam remains a small domestic market, but this is forecast to change. Vietnam’s growth rate has increased at an average rate of 6.3% from 2000 until 2018.
With the continued foreign direct investment from MNCs such as Samsung, LG and others, a middle class is starting to emerge and with them, opportunity.