Just eight years ago, Vietnam had 500,000 internet users, but 2008 numbers
indicate the country has more than 20 million users. IDG Ventures
believes there will be 36 million wired users by 2010, with the number only
expected to grow as more villages get internet access.
trying to create a little Silicon Valley here," said Don Phan, who
left Silicon Valley to create his own tech company in Vietnam. "I
tell my guys they can wear flip-flops and work remotely -- the things we do in
Companies such as Yelp, Craigslist, Facebook and LinkedIn are working in
Vietnam, and more companies are expected to open up offices in Vietnam
later. Yahoo and eBay both have a big presence in the nation, but have
yet to open up their own offices in the country -- but expect to hear about
startup acquisitions or possible Vietnamese headquarters being constructed.
Yahoo remains the most popular site in the country, even though it's a
foreign-based intently. American, Japanese and Taiwanese companies are expected
to continue dumping venture capitalist funds into the growing Vietnam industry.
Canon, Sanyo, Sony, Fujitsu, Toshiba, Matsushita and other Japanese companies
are investing billions into new R&D and manufacturing plants in
Vietnam. A Canon laser printer factory will soon output almost 80 percent
of the company's laser printer units, industry insiders report.
An area of concern is online advertising in the country, which is rather flat
at the moment. Once a proper advertising infrastructure is put into
place, then more online entrepreneurs are going to be willing to roll the dice
and enter the country.
Another area concern is government involvement in the budding industry, as
government officials are still unsure and inexperienced at handling the new
generation of technology. The Vietnamese government has no problem
assisting companies like Intel, but startup companies must wade through an
unorganized bureaucracy that remains unforgiving towards them.
But the government continues to support an open door policy for foreign
companies, and sometimes offers incentives for companies to begin working in
Vietnam. Vietnam's low labor costs and low finished product cost are two
other reasons companies are willing to create new facilities in a country that
still isn't technologically advanced.