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Mapping the creative industry


The Farming Kindergarten in Dong Nai Province, designed by architect Vo Trong Nghia,

won second prize at the BCI FuturArc Prize 2013. (Credit: NDO/Quynh Hoa)

An entrepreneur might immediately equate the concept of the “creative industry” with innovative activities in businesses, but the concept is still quite vague for many

From identifying to creating attractiveness for the creative industry

Worldwide, creative industries contribute up to 10% of the global GDP and create a commercial value of about US$592 billion dollars. But in Vietnam, according to unofficial statistics, this percentage figure stops at 3-5%—an extremely small number—but overall there are many bright spots.

Monkey Juniors, a learning software for children; Bold Design, a design software for enterprises; and the rise of Flappy Bird few years ago are applications created by young startups in Vietnam that have become popular software in global application stores.

In a major commercial centre in Ho Chi Minh City, visitors can be impressed by a booth selling Vietnamese agricultural products with beautiful, well-designed packaging. The involvement in the packaging designing industry and media and branding campaigns has helped add a great deal of value to agricultural products.

However, the question is how to make these bright spots more common in creative industries, especially when Vietnam has great potential not only in the gaming and software industry, but also in many other fields, such as architecture and handicrafts.

First of all, we should clearly identify what creative industries is and consistently map out appropriate policies to activate promising industries that might create added value for the positive growth of the economy.

As defined by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in Vietnam the following fifteen professions have are considered creative industries: designing and prototyping; graphic design; advertising and marketing; communications; newspapers and publishing; digital content; handicrafts; fashion design; art performance; music; game and software design; cinema and television; architecture; culinary arts; and creative consulting.


The 3A Station creative space in Ho Chi Minh City.

And, more importantly, who will invest in creative industries? Answering this question, Phan Tat Thu, Chairman and Chief expert at KNV Expert Group, who is very enthusiastic about introducing the concept of creative industries to Vietnam, said that creative industries are relatively new, bringing along significant challenges and changes. Consequently, State-owned enterprises still do not choose to follow this industry. Large-scale private enterprises have also found no appeal in these industries, as they remain small; and the rest—small businesses—are aware of their potential and are quite interested in creative industries, but they face difficulties due to their limited resources.

From all these things, it can be understood why the contribution of these industries to Vietnam’s GDP is still so small.

Creative ecosystem—Why not?

From the perspective of developing these industries, it is clear that support from the State has not reached them. Experience from countries with creative industries shows that a specialised agency to manage it is needed. Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for the management and planning of creative industries’ development.

With the presence of such a specialised agency, difficult issues in the sector’s planning, incubating policies and intellectual property rights issues will also be resolved. This is a vital point, because in creative industries, the biggest asset bringing about surplus value is brainpower and creativity.

After all the above, the remaining issue is how to connect all the pieces for the development of creative industries. Only then can passionate and creative entrepreneurs have more confidence to engage in creative industries.

To create the impetus for the development of Vietnam’s creative industries, it is necessary to build a general map for the sector’s development, starting with the fifteen basic creative industries mentioned above, and connecting them to other industries to build an ecosystem.


Source: Baonhandan