NZTech chair, FinTechNZ chair and Augen Software cofounder Mitchell Pham has been recognised in Ho Chi Minh City as one of the city's star participants in its hi-tech sector.
Pham, who is also co-chair of the NZ-ASEAN Business Alliance and an honorary advisor to the Asia New Zealand Foundation, is building New Zealand's innovation and hi-tech status within Asia.
Pham escaped Vietnam during the 1980s and spent years in refugee camps. He also encountered near-death experiences crossing the South China Sea, has created a name for himself in New Zealand.
As cofounder of Augen Software, he has helped New Zealand businesses speed up custom development of software and digital products locally, and internationally.
“Companies like Augen are pioneers in this space, not just in taking the New Zealand hi-tech and innovation brand into Asia, but also in establishing and building Kiwi reputation over time in ways that are specifically relevant to the local and regional economy,” says Pham.
Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City is a major tech hub in Asia – and it also has one of the fastest-growing digital economies.
Pham has been recognised for his work in establishing Augen's subsidiary in Vietnam, alongside New Zealand business partner Peter Vile.
“Within the equivalent distance between Auckland and Sydney, all of the main centres of commerce, industry and government are more or less in the same time zone and can be easily reached from Ho Chi Minh City," says Vile.
"It is also a relatively low-cost location for a tech business to operate from, with direct access to the large and rapidly-growing, young and tech-savvy local talent pool.
NZTech and the New Zealand Story Group are crucial to building and promoting the world-class tech brand for NZ Inc globally, but especially in Asia where few know about the brand, says Pham.
Augen has worked with New Zealand Trade - Enterprise and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Trade for two years to develop the working model and then established the Kiwi Connection Tech Hub in Ho Chi Minh City in 2016.
“This is an example of how the New Zealand tech industry can execute on being good for the world,” concludes Pham.