Think Tank (2/2023)
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Indonesia and Vietnam Between the US-China Tech Competition
24 Feb 2023

“Indonesia and Vietnam between the US-China Tech Competition” was the focus of an online workhop organised by RSIS on 24 February 2023. It brought  together experts from Indonesia and Vietnam to take stock of the US-China tech competition and its impact on the technology sector in both countries.

The seminar featured Dr Luky Yusgiantoro, member, governing board of the Purnomo Yusgiantoro Centre; Dr Trissia Wijaya, head of the Economic Opportunities Research Unit at the Centre for International Policy Studies; Professor Tran Ngoc Ca, Senior Fellow at the National Institute for Science and Technology Policy and Strategy Studies; and Mr Dinh Tuan Minh, Research Director of Market Solutions Research Center for Social and Economic Issues.

Indonesian speakers, Dr Luky and Dr Trissia highlighted that both superpowers have significant presence in Indonesia’s energy sector and digital ecosystem. Chinese companies have a significant advantage in terms of the cost effectiveness of their products, their deeper pockets, and convergence of approaches especially in the cyberspace domain, where the Indonesian government wants to police its cyberspace more intensively.

Subsequently, Professor Tran focused on the regulatory framework for technology in Vietnam and its relationship with foreign investment. Mr. Dinh discussed Vietnam’s approach to economic and diplomatic policies, including its efforts to diversify its imports and exports and balance its foreign direct investment projects among different foreign countries.

Overall, the webinar revealed that both Indonesia and Vietnam are significant recipients of US and Chinese investment. The development of the digital and energy sector are viewed as commercial rather than strategically-sensitive sectors in Indonesia, while Vietnam is pushing for technology independence in strategic areas, especially in telecommunications. The overall picture is one of multiple foreign countries competing for access and advantage. Both countries are well-positioned to benefit from this competition while carefully managing their risks.

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