As the dust settles on the recent launch of FPT Tower -- a new Hanoi-based headquarters for a rapidly expanding giant of technology outsourcing -- FPT Corporation is kicking growth plans into gear with global domination high on the corporate agenda.
The grand opening was held in late July and sought to honour a history spanning 34 years in Vietnam, joined by an army of key partners and customers such as SC Ventures, Schaeffler, Toshiba Tec, Cox Automotive, Unifiedpost, Sysmex America and SAP.
In his opening address, Dr. Truong Gia Binh -- speaking as founder and chairman of FPT Corporation -- relayed his gratitude and renewed the company’s commitment to customers locally, regionally and globally. Within this context, the iconic entrepreneur also declared company ambitions to place Vietnam at the top of the digital world.
Such ambitions will be realised by an unwavering commitment to investing and innovating with digital technology, underpinned by embracing emerging solutions such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain among others.
Speaking to Channel Asia on the sidelines of the event in Hanoi, Chu Thi Thanh Ha -- chairman of FPT Software -- stressed the crucial role of an IT service provider in helping organisations not only digitally transform, but maximise the benefits of deploying innovative offerings.
Notably, both leaders highlighted Vietnam’s path to becoming a digital nation and the economic interest that the managed service provider (MSP) has in leading the charge to develop the country’s technological capabilities and talent.
Ms. Ha also observed that one of the biggest challenges facing by organisations in Vietnam is that the “roadmap for digital transformation is not clear yet”, outlining a commitment by FPT Software to fill such strategic gaps.
“We want to help our customers in Vietnam first to build a clear roadmap for digital transformation and how to combine business transformation, people transformation and technology transformation together,” she added.
FPT Software’s investment into internal technology and services capabilities is also evident with an expanding software complex in the form of F-Ville, located in Hoa Lac Hi-tech Park, north of Hanoi’s city centre. Currently, two buildings, F-Ville 1 and 2, are in operation and construction of a third block is underway.
At the inauguration of F-Ville 2 in early 2017, Vietnam’s deputy prime minister, Vu Duc Dam, praised the project as "a key to make Hoa Lac Hi-tech Park a true centre of innovation and technology of Vietnam. We need the support of not only FPT but also other companies to make more technology to transform the life of Vietnamese people."
Developing local and global talent
Another key value proposition that Dr. Binh defined in his opening presentation was the importance of ongoing investments in talent, both locally and globally.
So far, FPT has made significant contributions to developing local talent, especially through its FPT University which offers under-graduate and post-graduate programs such as Bachelor of Information Technology, Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Software Engineering.
Apart from investing in the future workforce, FPT has dedicated up-skilling initiatives for existing employees as well as continuous upgrades to technological innovations.
For example in June 2020, FPT joined forces with Quebec-based Mila in an attempt to bolster AI expertise and capabilities.
Mila operates as the world's largest academic lab specialising in deep learning with a community of 450 researchers dedicated to scientific excellence and innovation. The move saw FPT become the first provider in Southeast Asia to join forces with Mila, in a partner network which also includes Microsoft, Google and Facebook.
The three-year agreement -- which was signed virtually -- is centred around strengthening FPT’s AI expertise and capabilities, supported by strategic consulting and guidance.
“We dream of bringing Vietnam to become an AI centre of the world. With Mila’s consultant and experiences, we believe that this dream can become the reality, and Vietnam can become the leading AI centre in Southeast Asia,” said Dr. Binh, speaking at the time of the announcement.
Recalling the partnership, Ms. Ha elaborated that part of the collaboration with Mila involves a yearly exchange program where the “best talent in AI” is selected and offered a period of study at the Quebec campus.
“This is one good example of how we want to make a successful AI valley in Asia Pacific,” she added.
In another strategic move, FPT Software recently entered into a partnership with online education platform provider, Udacity, that aims to enhance the technology provider's up-skilling program.
The program offers FPT Software employees a fully sponsored Nanodegree, the training and mentoring course delivered by Udacity. Experts at technology giants such as Google Cloud, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and others that are collaborating with Udacity will be conducting the courses.
The three-year contract opens up to 9,000 learning opportunities for promising IT engineers who play "significant roles" in the company’s digital transformation projects, focusing on data science, AI, machine learning, IoT, cloud, blockchain and security.
Commenting on the strength of FPT Software’s expertise, Ms. Ha identified that the provider's “unique advantage is the young talent” and that there is “no other company in Vietnam that has a workforce like FPT”. With a headcount of approximately 25,000 people across 27 countries, the average age of an FPT employee is roughly 28 years old.
According to Ms. Ha, the company's ability to “supply a complete IT solution to customers” is due to the “large pool of talents across business and technology”.
“We are ready to help our customers develop an end-to-end solution, from designs and enhancements to self-service -- everything we do is in a holistic process," she explained.
Renewing customer commitment
The last tenet that Dr. Binh presented was grounded in his belief that FPT as an organisation should endeavour to “leave no customer behind”.
The chairman shared various instances where FPT has supported companies in times of crisis not just technologically or in a business sense.
In a local example, FPT played a major role in Vietnam’s COVID-19 response. The company donated its 2000-room university dormitory as a quarantine site to help fight the spread of the pandemic, backed by an investment of US$850,000 in medical supplies.
In response, hundreds of FPT employees and students vacated dormitory rooms over a weekend to help set up the quarantine facility. Forming part of the FPT University campus, the four-building complex is located in a 300,000-square metre technology park which is a 40-minute drive from the centre of Hanoi.
In addition to accommodation, FPT also donated medical supplies such as ventilators, disinfection chambers and medical protective equipment to the local government.
Billion-dollar business ambitions
Capitalising on the exponential demand for digital technology and transformation, FPT Software also announced its ambition to reach US$1 billion revenue by 2023 -- a target which they had initially planned to hit by 2021.
"We believe we can get to one billion next year,” Ms. Ha affirmed. “It is a challenge for us but we love it and we want to climb. In FPT, if we want to do something that is a little bit over our ability, it is much more interesting than doing something that is lower.”
Furthermore, the chairwoman analysed that certain markets such as the US and Asia Pacific represent “good engines” for growth amid plans to become a billion-dollar IT services company.
Most recently, FPT Software expanded market presence in North America with a new Manhattan office and aggressive plans to triple the division’s revenue and customer base over the next five years.
The specialist provider currently has employees working across 30 states in the US market and serves a clientele of over 100 organisations. FPT Americas posted a 60 per cent revenue gain during the first quarter of 2022, a growth rate which the new office is tasked to help sustain going forward.
In assessing worldwide capabilities, Ms. Ha noted that the business has “a strong team in Japan and the US” and in order to provide a “complete solution” to customers, she emphasised the need for its global teams to "combine strengths" to build out FPT Software’s expertise in the industry.
Coupled with investments into “new industry areas” such as AI, data, cloud and managed services, Ms. Ha expressed FPT Software’s intention to continue developing an industry advantage through its solutions while ensuring they remain tailored to evolving customer requirements.
Shirin Robert travelled to Hanoi as a guest of FPT Corporation.