This week finds Peter Carlisle in Ho Chi Minh City. As VP of Global Sales for Entrust’s data protection solutions, Peter racks up the miles while navigating a host of divergent cultures and gaining insight about global customer challenges..
Entrust: Peter, where in the world are you?
PC: Ho Chi Minh City – or – as it used to be called, and, indeed, still is by many locals, Saigon.
Entrust: What do you enjoy the most about visiting Saigon?
PC: Ho Chi Minh City is an exciting city to visit. 10 million motor scooters on the roads of the city create an interesting traffic pattern. Indeed, taking a tour on the back of a scooter is a great way to see the city and is highly recommended. The Presidential Palace, built in 1965, is a must see, definitely makes me think of Sean Connery’s years as James Bond! The Mekong River flows through the city and there are trips available on the river to see the delta and some of the sights connected with the Vietnam War. There is a young population demographic in Vietnam with over 70% of the population being under 35. This helps to create a dynamic and fun environment with a lively nightlife. There is a lot of live music on offer of all types and the food is excellent – although more of that later!
Entrust: What are some localized challenges customers are facing?
PC: Vietnam has been growing fast over the last 30 years. In fact, it remains one of the world’s fastest growing economies with a forecast of around 7% growth for 2019. During this time, it has transformed from one of the world’s poorer countries to one that is well positioned in the middle income bracket. The population has increased greatly from around 60 million in 1986 to almost 100 million today. Basic services have improved with access to healthcare and education much more widely available. As recently as 1993 only 14% of the population were able to say that electricity was their primary source of lighting – that figure is now over 99%. Foreign investment has been significant, with, for example, Korea’s Samsung, building a major presence in the country over recent years. The overall business climate can best be described as entrepreneurial with many keen to build businesses and create a legacy. Unlike some more established economies there is a classless element to Vietnam driven, at least in part, by the youthful demographic.
Entrust: Can you tell us a little more about some of the regional compliance regulations affecting customers?
PC: Like many countries, the data security compliance landscape is changing. New regulations were announced last year that came into effect in January 2019 under the banner of “Vietnam’s Law on Cyber Security”. There are some similarities with Europe’s GDPR and California’s CCPA but the Vietnamese legislation also mirrors the Chinese approach with much of the content being focused on government powers in relation to data rather than individual rights. There is also a requirement that any business which holds data on Vietnamese citizens needs to have a branch office in the country as well as requiring relevant data to be stored in country too. Businesses, especially those headquartered outside of Vietnam are still fine tuning their positions with regards to these new rules.
Entrust: What type of advice have you given local customers?
PC: New data protection laws bring new responsibilities and learnings. Entrust’s experience with GDPR, CCPA and others gives us a strong platform to help customers in Vietnam. The country is an important one to us. The high growth economy and central location in our APAC region really helps to cement that. In fact, we will be hosting our 2019 channel partner conference in Ho Chi Minh City in October which will be a great opportunity for local partners and businesses to get know more about how we can help them with their data protection requirements.
Entrust: When visiting Ho Chi Minh City, is there a specific food or beverage you always seek out?
PC: There is a lot of great food to enjoy in Vietnam! Wonderful noodle soups or “Pho” are a must. There are spring rolls and dumplings with lots of different fillings as well as delicious traditional Vietnamese pancakes which are light and fresh and come in many varieties. Seafood is very popular and there are wonderful seafood soups to enjoy in many restaurants. Overall, food is fresh, healthy and flavourful and I recommend that visitors should jump right in and try as many things as possible!
Vietnamese coffee is also a “must”. Locally grown coffee is brewed very strong and served iced with a touch of very thick condensed milk. Delightful!
Entrust: If you wrote about song about Ho Chi Minh City for your blues band, what would you call it?
Well, as a lover of some of the early, atmospheric blues from the Mississippi Delta I’d love to take that boat trip down the Mekong and get myself some “Mekong Delta Blues”. The greenery, the heat and the water definitely provide plenty to fire the imagination.
If you’d like to learn even more about Peter, please visit his LinkedIn page.