Nguyen Trong, former president of the Ho Chi Minh City Computing Association, former deputy manager of the city’s department of science and technology and one of the co-founders of Quang Trung Software City (QTSC), talks with VIR’s Minh Thien about the QTSC’s decade of development.
Scores of high achieving IT firms have made QTSC their home
Could you share the history of QTSC’s founding?
QTSC was conceptualised by members of Ho Chi Minh City Computer Association for providing adequate facilities for the development of the software industry in the city.
In reality, QTSC’s history went back to December 14, 1999 when Truong Tan Sang, former deputy secretary of Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee, called me to learn about Ho Chi Minh City’s software industry. I picked him up and visited some big Vietnamese software companies such as Lac Viet.
Shortly thereafter, leaders of Ho Chi Minh City agreed and approved the proposal to take the Saigon Software Park at 123 Truong Dinh street, District 3 which was previously an office of Ho Chi Minh City’s People’s Committee to support the development of the software industry.
However, it was three years after we had suggested the proposal to Ho Chi Minh City’s People’s Committee when the number of software companies raised quickly by 50 from 15-20 in 1996. Therefore, Ho Chi Minh City needed a larger software park that could meet the requirements of the local software firms.
What were QTSC’s difficulties in the beginning?
In the year 2000, with a decision made by the city’s people’s committee, QTSC was established on 43 hectares, 15 kilometres from the city’s downtown.
QTSC is run by Quang Trung Software City Development Company, under the administrative management of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee.
We also had to tackle other difficulties and needed strong support from the governmental and municipal officials such as issues relating to high-speed telecoms systems and transportation network linking Quang Trung Park and the outside areas.
How did QTSC attract investors to the city which is 15km from Ho Chi Minh City’s downtown at that time?
It was really tough to convince investors coming to QTSC on its first days.
There were only 21 enterprises with 250 workers on the day of breaking ground of QTSC in 2001. But, so far, we have welcomed 110 enterprises investing in QTSC and half of them are foreign-invested companies such as IBM, Global Cybersoft and GHP.
Do you feel satisfied with QTSC’s initial development achievements?
I think QTSC would become fulfilled after 20 years and it would be able to house over 24,000 software specialists. QTSC today accommodates 22,000 students and specialists studying and working in the city.
This is a remarkable result for QTSC although we realise the fact that the number of 22,000 is for both students and specialists.
However, from my point of view, QTSC should attract more investments from big international software companies that can make QTSC’s brand spread out regionally and worldwide. Therefore, QTSC will need to do more to meet its set target on the number of software specialists.
Frankly speaking, I highly appreciate QTSC chairman Chu Tien Dung who has led QTSC to obtain today’s achievements and made it become the largest information technology park in the country.
Nguyen Huu Le - Chairman of TMA Solutions
TMA Solutions always support the development models of concentrated software and high-tech parks. Hence, when QTSC was founded 10 years ago, TMA Solutions was one of the first companies investing in QTSC. However, the infrastructure at QTSC and surroundings at that time was underdeveloped and TMA Solutions had to temporarily took our employees to a building in Phu Nhuan street. Simultaneously, we designed a plan to set up our own new office.
After getting QTSC’s nod to our investment project and raising sufficient fund, TMA Solutions started construction of TMA Solutions’ high building over a 24,000 square metre site with capacity to accommodate 3,000 specialists. This is today the office of hundreds of people and it is the place for research and development centre and TMA mobile solutions centre. With a high standard, our building can also offer offices for lease for other companies such as IBM, Viettel and Glandore.
It has been 10 years since the first day we came here. TMA Solutions sees that QTSC has had a complete infrastructure, with green atmosphere suiting with research and development’s activities and a largest information technology community in Vietnam.
Nguyen Van Sau - Chancellor of Saigon Institute of Technology (SaigonTech)
Every year, there are about 2,000 graduates in SaigonTech. Graduation rate in SaigonTech was 90 per cent last year, much higher than its mother school’s Houston Community College with under 55 per cent of graduation rate per year.
SaigonTech’s success is shown through annual graduation rate which has risen annually though we have not reached the breakeven point till now.
Also, some universities in other countries said they would send their students to SaigonTech to study if SaigonTech had a standard dormitory for their students. We are now looking for fund to do that. If this comes true, I think SaigonTech within QTSC will have more international students to study and work after that.
We are dedicated to implement green education in SaigonTech in line with the target of green development within QTSC. Information technology is proven to be the key to resolve problems such as environment, pollution, health issues and green education in information technology will help us to develop in a sustainable manner in a fast-changing economy.