Vietnam’s digital media industry will receive the equivalent of $80 million in public subsidies over the next three years as the national government looks to grow the industry by 35 to 40 percent annually by 2010. A “digital content development programme” approved by prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung last week aims to create 10 to 20 powerhouse companies that will post combined revenues of $400 million. For that, the government will allocate 1.3 trillion dong ($80 million), Xinhua reports. The money will go toward search, digital entertainment, online education and e-learning, digital libraries, museums and content development for broadband and mobile 3G. The government had previously decided to make similar awards to its software industry so that it could grow its $300 million 2006 revenues to more than $800 million by 2010, with 40 percent of that targeted to come from exports. Vietnam’s software sector grew 30 percent last year.
By means of some context, Vietnam’s internet population grew 22 percent to 15.1 million in Q1 2007 against the same quarter last year, while Microsoft is due to roll-out MSN Vietnam in Q2, including a range of messenger, e-mail and news services plus web TV. RealNetworks subsidiary WiderThan also has a stake in the country, providing the infrastructure for S-Telecom Vietnam’s ringtone services.