Made in Vietnam networks needed to bring Google, Facebook to heel

By Nguyen Ha   September 9, 2018 | 07:44 am GMT+7
Made in Vietnam networks needed to bring Google, Facebook to heel
Vietnamese are online seven hours a day and spend a daily average of 2.5 hours on social networks. Photo by Cuong Tran

Vietnam needs its own networks to force Facebook, Google to comply with Vietnamese laws, a meeting heard Saturday.

Nguyen Manh Hung, acting Minister of Information and Communications, noted that Vietnam aims to become a software giant and boost fields like communications, information technology and security.

To do so, Vietnam needs to create its own networks to compete with other tech giants like Google and Facebook, Hung said at a meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

While the total ad revenues generated on social networks in Vietnam is $370 million, $135 million is taken by Google with 35 million users, and $235 million by Facebook with 60 million users, Hung said.

However, these social networks do not comply with Vietnamese laws on taxation, transaction processes or security, he added.

As such, the information ministry is proposing that new policies are developed to facilitate the creation and growth of homegrown social networks, aiming to garner at least 60 million accounts and 60-70 percent of the social network market’s pie in Vietnam by 2022.

The Saturday meeting was the first time Hung, former CEO of military-run telecom giant Viettel, shared his vision about Vietnam's telecom development since he took his role as the information ministry leader in July, replacing his predecessor Truong Minh Tuan who was caught in a TV acquisition scandal.

Vietnams acting Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung. Photo courtesy of the ministry

Vietnam's acting Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung. Photo courtesy of the ministry

Hung also proposed “economic, technical solutions” to manage foreign social networks.

The information ministry wants to spearhead the development of Vietnam’s very own digital ecosystem, with particular focus on social networks and search engines, Hung said, adding that resources needed to realize that vision must come from Vietnamese businesses.

“Without our own digital ecosystems or social networks, we simply cannot negotiate with Facebook or Google. They will continue to disobey our laws, while we are unable to cut business ties,” Hung said.

The number of Facebook users in Vietnam is the seventh highest in the world with over 58 million people this year, an increase of 16 percent from the same period last year, said an April report by social media marketing and advertising agency We Are Social.

Ho Chi Minh City is ranked 6th among the list of cities with the highest number of Facebook users, the report said.

It also said that Vietnamese are online seven hours a day and spend a daily average of 2.5 hours on social networks. Facebook and Google's YouTube are the most accessed sites with user ratios of 61 percent and 59 percent, respectively.

 
 
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