Where many Vietnamese will flock to in summer: YouTubeland

By Nhung Nguyen, Minh Le   April 30, 2017 | 06:49 am PT
New data from Google confirm that the country is obsessed with online content.

If you had any doubt about Vietnam’s infatuation with the internet, latest stats and predictions from Google will put all your doubt to rest.

According to a new report from Think With Google, the research arm of the tech giant, the activities that define a Vietnamese summer are online searching and YouTube watching, apart from walking around a lake or sunbathing on the beach.

Internal data from the company shows that last summer, between May and August, the country’s online activity was “red hot,” especially on mobile. YouTube views doubled compared to spring, with more than 60 percent from mobile.

Every day during that summer, 100 million mobile searches were made on Google – that’s even more than the population. For the record, nearly 49 million people in Vietnam, or more than half of the country’s population, are online. 

What do Vietnamese watch or google?

Summer means kids have too much free time on their hands. And if you give them a screen, many will be happy to stay in and watch YouTube. The new report says the top 40 Vietnamese kids’ channels have more than 550 million views each month and that number is growing fast.

Those who are not kids also depend on YouTube and Google for their entertainment choices. According to the report, 85 percent of Vietnamese research movies online before they buy tickets.

Last summer, there were more than 400 million search queries for movies while trailers on YouTube got more than 500 million views, up a staggering 136 percent from the summer of 2015.

As many blockbusters are going to hit local theaters in the next few months, the report expects this trend to continue, naming the new “Mummy” and “Transformers” among movies that should do well.


What Vietnamese did last summer before going out for a movie. Graphic from Think With Google

Summer is also the season of game enthusiasts. But they don’t just play.

"The explosion of the online gaming industry across the nation has not only sparked a new generation of gamers; it’s also brought about a huge surge in spectators,” according to the report. 

And if you think gamers in Vietnam are just school kids who don’t know better, you are wrong.

Google data shows that one in four Vietnamese gamers are parents and that 45 percent of all gaming content watch time on YouTube in Vietnam is from users over the age of 25.

So when September comes and you meet a random Vietnamese on the street, this should be a good ice-breaker: “I know what you did last summer.”

'Toxic' content

On a more serious note, the new report can be interpreted as an attempt to consolidate YouTube's position in the digital world and reassure its clients after a few bad months. 

In March, Google Europe had to apologize for allowing ads to appear alongside offensive videos on YouTube, after big companies either pulled ads or threatened to do so. 

The same month, Vietnam's government called on all companies doing business in the country to stop advertising on YouTube, Facebook and other social media until they could find a way to end the publication of "toxic" anti-government information.

A month later, Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan told a parliamentary committee that "there are good and bad people on social media.” He confirmed that his ministry had asked Google to block and remove 2,200 videos on YouTube that contained "slanderous" and "defamatory" content against Vietnamese leaders.

Google had reportedly removed nearly 1,300 videos as of April 12.

That was quite a stormy spring. No wonder why the company seems to be looking forward to summer.

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