Understanding E-commerce Asia : Vietnam

Hoi An, Vietnam

I visited Vietnam a few times and I really like the country. It is amazing how this country is developing. You can feel the vibes when you are walking in the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam's internet usage grows very rapidly especially compared to the region. Vietnam has experienced the fastest growth in internet penetration in the region. Vietnam has or will very soon catch up with China and Thailand in terms of internet use. Vietnam has a population of 90,549,390 and has 28,625,393 internet users (may 2011). This is 31.6 % penetration.

Facebook access is still sometimes difficult in Vietnam, when I was in Vietnam late june this year, I could still not have access to Facebook everywhere. But the amount of users, using Facebook is increasing extremely rapidly. So I guess the limitations are getting less and less.The last three months there was a 50%!! increase of Vietnamese Facebook users! This ranks Vietnam at number 4 of the increase of Facebook users the last three months with now 3 607 220 users (figures from the 17th of december). Details can be found here. By the way socialbakers.com is a great website for social statistics around the globe.

Online activities:

The most important thing at this moment in Vietnam at the internet is information gathering.
News websites are very popular. This are news sites as Dan Tri, VnExpress, 24h and Tuoitre.
Entertainment, like listening to music, watching movies etc is getting increasingly popular.
Also increasing, like mentioned above is social media , chatting and emailing, but not yet as popular as information gathering. Users are more passive, meaning reading and watching but less engaging. Important to know if you are going to plan some social media activities in Vietnam.
Online shopping is not yet so popular, but a strong growth is expected. Local social networks are preparing for this trend.

Most young people use their mobile phone to access the internet. Around 40% of the internet users. Also internet cafe's are popular. If you want to have more details, download this report.

Social Networking:

Next to Facebook, in Vietnam also ZingYume and TamTay are popular.

As this article states, social commerce can be very promising in Vietnam. People tend to buy via social networks more easily then in already "mature" markets, like Europe and the USA. Probably because of the fact that when people start using the internet, they will start with a facebook, Zing or Yume account, in stead of the markets in Europe and the USA where people started with a dial up connection and a hotmail adress.

TamTay, big social network in Vietnam with over 4 million users is very strong in providing games and educating users how "social networking" works. People are still very passive. Important to know if you are starting a social campaign in Vietnam.
There is also a state owned social media network called go.vn. Here an article about go.vn

Watching saigon's rapid growth from the skytower in ho chi minh city
Alex is watching the rapid growth of Ho Chi Minh City from Saigon's skydeck
Some (running) online campaigns I found that are running in Vietnam

Alibaba is also active in Vietnam:

Linksys Vietnam is doing a nice campaign where people need to sent in pictures of their workplace.

Some kind of blog contest from Unilever in Vietnam (as far as I understand). However I do not see any social sharing links, but maybe that's because of the language.

Update: I just got back from a Vietnam trip and I discovered, accessing facebook is more restriced then a few months ago, when I was there for the last time. However this tool , called ultrasurf is working perfectly to access facebook in Vietnam. Unfortunately there is no mobile app that does the same..


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