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Minister wants to develop made-in-Vietnam social media

Vietnam needs a digital ecosystem with focus on made-in-Vietnam social media instead of foreign owned players such as Facebook and Google.

Minister of Information and Communication Nguyen Manh Hung
Minister of Information and Communication Nguyen Manh Hung

The breakthrough targets in the 4.0 era were highlighted in a speech made by Minister of Information and Communication Nguyen Manh Hung at a working session with PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc on September 8.

He said Vietnam should target becoming a software development powerhouse, returning to the top 10 countries in telecommunication development as recognized in 2008-2010, and be listed in the top 30 in information technology, top 20 in information and cyber security, and top 5 in telecommunication technologies and equipment. He also hopes that Vietnam can manufacture microchips for export.

To reach these goals, Hung stressed that it is necessary to create made-in-Vietnam products which compete with world giants such as Google and Facebook.

At present, revenue from ads on social networks is estimated at $370 million. However, the biggest market share is now in the hands of foreign players, including Google, which earns $135 million and has 35 million users, and Facebook, with $235 million and 60 million users.

Hung pointed out that foreign social networks still do not observe Vietnamese laws on taxes, payments and security.

Meanwhile, the market share held by Vietnamese firms is small with 436 domestic social networks. Even the most prestigious one, with 40 million users, has revenue of only $7 million.

The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) has suggested policies to encourage the development of Vietnamese social networks, which would have as many or more Facebook accounts in VN and hold 60-70 percent of market share by 2022.

Hung suggested applying both technical and economic measures to put foreign social networks under control.

Together with the social network development, MIC’s leaders hope Vietnam will be listed among top 10 countries in digital ecosystem development, with 60-70 percent of people using a Vietnamese ecosystem.

A digital ecosystem development comprises a social network, search engine, browser, operating system and anti-virus software. Vietnam will need to mobilize all resources in the society to build up the digital ecosystem.

In terms of the software industry, Vietnam now has 9,000 businesses with total revenue of $3.8 billion. However, Vietnam still lacks leading businesses with $1billion revenue or more.

At the working session, Hung made a daring proposal that mobile network operators should be allowed to join the payment service sector. Hung said if the government approves the proposal, e-banking services would cover 100 percent of the population.