Made in Vietnam social networks no match for overseas giants

By Chau An, Tuan Hoang   June 9, 2018 | 09:39 pm PT
Made in Vietnam social networks no match for overseas giants
Figurines are seen in front of the Facebook logo in this illustration photo by Reuters.
Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are far beyond the reach of social networks developed in Vietnam, experts say.

Vietnam has over 360 legal and active homemade social networks, but they are dwarfed into insignificance by global giants like Facebook.

An agency under the Ministry of Information & Communications says Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are among the most used networks in Vietnam at the moment.

“The current homegrown social networks are mostly in the forum form, which are usually used only for discussions and cannot compete with the likes of foreign platform as they are more socially interactive and have a well-designed user interface,” said a representative of the National Institute of Information and Communications Strategy.

“These foreign social networks are global companies that have high localization capability, which means they can provide their service to any region and expand to multiple markets by breaking geographical and language barriers,” he said.

Independent internet experts say that among the 300 plus indigenously developed social networks in Vietnam, there are many that are poorly designed, and lack both authenticity and creativity. Some even look like a second version of Facebook, copying all its functions and designs.

They say that users have no incentive or reason to leave their usual social networks and go to new ones that cannot match the convenience they are used to, whether they are socializing and shopping on Facebook, watching videos on YouTube or sharing photos on Instagram.

When asked if he would switch to a Vietnamese social platform, Tuan Lam, a long time Facebook user, simply said, "no thanks."

An April 2018 report by We Are Social says the number of Facebook users in Vietnam is 7th highest in the world with over 58 million people. The number has increased by 16 percent from the same period last year. Ho Chi Minh City is ranked 6th among the list of cities with the highest number of Facebook users.

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

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