What to do to develop Vietnam's creative economy?

VCN - According to MSc. Nguyen Anh Duong (photo), Director of the Department for General Economic Issues and Integration Studies under the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), to develop the creative economy in Vietnam, it is necessary to first improve the institutional framework and policies to create a legal framework suitable for the development of the creative economy, creative industries and culture, and creative cultural markets.
What to do to develop Vietnam's creative economy?
MSc. Nguyen Anh Duong

How do you assess the current situation and potential of the creative economy in Vietnam in recent years?

The creative economy is defined as an economy based on cycles of idea generation, development, production, distribution, and consumption (including exports) of creative goods and services, coupled with the establishment, respect, and protection of intellectual property. This definition emphasizes two factors: commercialization of creative goods and services; establishment, respect, and protection of intellectual property.

In recent years, global exports of creative goods have increased significantly due to many countries around the world implementing measures to support cultural and creative industries. According to CIEM's research, global exports of creative goods increased from US$208 billion (2002) to US$524 billion (2020). Since 2007, Asia has remained the largest export region. China alone achieved US$169 billion and accounted for 32% of global creative goods exports. Following are countries and territories: the US, Italy, Germany, France, Hong Kong, France, the UK, Vietnam, South Korea, and India.

Over the past nearly 20 years, the structure of creative goods exports has shifted significantly, with a decrease in traditional forms of storing information such as CDs, DVDs, tapes, newspapers, and printed materials, while there has been a strong increase in audiovisual media and electronic games. In terms of main export products, design items have the advantage (reaching 62.9% in 2020). Developed countries dominate exports of publishing, visual and audio-visual arts, while developing countries dominate exports of design and handicrafts.

Vietnam has the advantage of a young population, technological literacy, favorable state policies, rich cultural heritage, rapid digitization, and enhanced integration with the global economy.

Can you provide some experiences in developing the creative economy of other countries that Vietnam can apply?

Many new manufacturing industries in the creative industry supply chain have been formed and developed strongly (in the fields of fashion/textiles, electronics, and information technology). A diverse economy with strong growth in the tourism industry (including cultural tourism), high-level manufacturing industries, some knowledge-intensive industries (such as information technology) also provide good conditions for the development of the creative industry in Vietnam.

However, starting from a relatively low base, Vietnam needs to learn from many countries' experiences. Most countries today attach great importance to the creative economy. For example, in the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), China considered the creative economy as a new industry by incorporating it with information technology, biotechnology, and low-carbon technology, accounting for 15% of GDP in 2020.

In South Korea, the creative economy has been made a national agenda and major policy since 2013. According to the definition of the South Korean government, the creative economy is a new economic strategy that creates new industries and markets by integrating and adjusting imagination and creativity into science, information technology, and communication, creating sustainable employment by promoting traditional industries. Some creative industries in South Korea have high export values, such as games (US$2.9 billion in 2014); the Korean Wave (Hallyu) through film and music (Kpop) has now spread globally.

In Indonesia, a country similar to Vietnam in Southeast Asia, the creative economy contributed US$82 billion to the country's GDP (7.5%) and US$23.9 billion to exports (about 10%) in 2021, employing about 19 million workers. Indonesia established a specialized department to manage the creative economy, called the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy (MoTCE). Simultaneously, Indonesia has a relatively comprehensive legal system for creative industries, including Industrial Design Law; Trademark Law, Copyright Law, and National Industrial Policy.

In the US, 4.01% of total businesses and 2.04% of the workforce are engaged in various creative industries. Cultural and artistic economic activities account for 4.4% of GDP, equivalent to US$1.02 trillion in 2021. To support workers and businesses in the creative industry, in 2022, the US Senate and House of Representatives enacted the Promoting Local Arts and Creative Economy (PLACE) Act. Accordingly, it increases federal resources and expands federal benefits for users of creativity and skills in work; empowers creative workers to promote growth in new and existing businesses, while also promoting US cultural exports abroad; and establishes an inter-agency council to encourage the development of the creative economy.

Singapore has issued strategies to promote the creative economy in a top-down direction with the orientation of the government and the coordination of management agencies. This country develops a measurement system for the creative economy through strengthening statistical work, serving the effective guidance of the government. At the same time, it builds a comprehensive plan to coordinate and implement various policy and strategy groups.

What does Vietnam need to do to accelerate the development of the creative economy, sir?

As the creative economy is still relatively new, Vietnam faces a shortage of updated, regular, and detailed data to analyze related content. In fact, the Party and the State have many policies for the creative economy. The government has issued Decree No. 144/2020/NĐ-CP regulating performing arts activities; the Development Strategy for the online gaming industry (online games) in the period 2022 - 2027; and Decision No. 801/QD-TTg in 2022 approving the Program for Conservation and Development of Vietnamese Craft Villages for the period 2021 - 2030. However, policies and incentives still face implementation challenges. Surveys in some localities such as Phu Tho, Son La, and Phu Yen showed that the creative economy was still a new and inconsistently understood content.

From the above situation, to develop the creative economy in Vietnam, it is necessary to first improve the institutional framework and policies to create a legal framework suitable for the development of the creative economy, creative industries, and cultural markets. In my opinion, there needs to be an integrated approach to the creative economy in economic development policy planning, commodity and service export policies. Establish mechanisms of support (tax, finance, space, connections, and industry linkages) for the development of the creative economy. Promote digital transformation to support this rapidly growing economy more effectively.

Thank you, sir!

By Xuan Thao (recorded)/ Ha Thanh

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