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Promoting smart cities in developing countries: Policy insights from Vietnam


  • Vu, Khuong
  • Hartley, Kris


Smart city initiatives have been researched primarily in the developed country context. In developing countries, however, emerging technologies are enabling progress on urban functionality, productivity, and livability. A deeper understanding of facilitative policy conditions unique to developing countries would be useful to both theory and practice. This study presents empirically grounded insights about the policy implications of smart city development in developing countries, based on surveys of experts from the public and private sectors in 10 Vietnam cities. The study makes three contributions. First, it provides new evidence that pursuing smart city development (SCD) is not a mere alternative but a crucial strategic imperative. While facing persistent problems, Vietnam's cities exhibit significant and rapidly improving readiness for SCD. Second, the study provides new insights into related policy issues and challenges, including the positive link between e-government development and control of corruption, the risk of bias toward operational management over institutional reform, and the lack of a clear development strategy. Finally, the study proposes a model for guiding smart city initiatives in developing countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Vu, Khuong & Hartley, Kris, 2018. "Promoting smart cities in developing countries: Policy insights from Vietnam," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(10), pages 845-859.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:telpol:v:42:y:2018:i:10:p:845-859
    DOI: 10.1016/j.telpol.2017.10.005

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Harrison, Ann & Rodríguez-Clare, Andrés, 2010. "Trade, Foreign Investment, and Industrial Policy for Developing Countries," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Dani Rodrik & Mark Rosenzweig (ed.),Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 4039-4214, Elsevier.
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    6. Harrison, Ann E. & Rodriguez-Clare, Andres, 2009. "Trade, Foreign Investment, and Industrial Policy," MPRA Paper 15561, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Robert G. Hollands, 2008. "Will the real smart city please stand up?," City, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 303-320, December.
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    9. Lin, Justin Yifu, 2003. "Development Strategy, Viability, and Economic Convergence," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(2), pages 276-308, January.
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    12. Ken Warwick, 2013. "Beyond Industrial Policy: Emerging Issues and New Trends," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Policy Papers 2, OECD Publishing.
    13. Vito Albino & Umberto Berardi & Rosa Maria Dangelico, 2015. "Smart Cities: Definitions, Dimensions, Performance, and Initiatives," Journal of Urban Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 3-21, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Si Ying Tan & Araz Taeihagh, 2020. "Smart City Governance in Developing Countries: A Systematic Literature Review," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(3), pages 1-29, January.
    2. Fromhold-Eisebith, Martina & Eisebith, Günter, 2019. "What can Smart City policies in emerging economies actually achieve? Conceptual considerations and empirical insights from India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 1-1.
    3. Forge, Simon & Vu, Khuong, 2020. "Forming a 5G strategy for developing countries: A note for policy makers," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(7).


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