When Vietnam comes up in the conversation, what do you expect to hear?
Contrary to popular beliefs, Vietnam is now far from its day as a war-torn & underdeveloped nation. Nowadays, with a population of over 90 million people, a literacy rate of 94%, and an Internet penetration of over 37 million people, this small Southeast Asian country is quickly on its way to become one of the most significant countries in the region.
Vietnam’s Tech Ecosystem
Despite a huge amount of tech articles and news about tech developments in Vietnam in English, the tech ecosystem of Vietnam is not yet a heated topic for most foreign investors. Nevertheless, the fact is that the tech ecosystem of Vietnam has been growing and expanding rapidly over the last few years. At the moment, the country is full of startups focusing on e-commerce & technology. Every year, there is a galore of conferences & events, along with hackathons, aiming to improve the tech scene in Vietnam by introducing & sharing invaluable ideas and knowledge on programming, coding, mobile, web & education technologies.
The progress of the Vietnam’s tech ecosystem has been closely linked with the surge of tech startups of the country, which started almost ten years ago with the first wave of startups comprised of (but not limited to) now-large tech companies such as VNG, VG Corp, Vat Gia[i]. In 2008, the second wave of startups arose, with most of them focused on being e-commerce related such as Tiki.vn. The rise and fall of Nhom Mua in 2012, with its company being investigated by Vietnamese authorities for embezzlement, has “sent shockwaves throughout the [Vietnamese] startup community”[ii], creating a halt in Vietnam’s tech startup scene. However, according to Do (2014), the tech ecosystem in Vietnam at the moment is finally back to its glory days, marked by the worldwide virality of Flappy Bird & Vingroup’s massive investment of over $30 million into e-commerce.
The potential of Vietnam’s tech ecosystem is ginormous. The country already has a vibrant innovation community for tech development, and the Vietnamese government is showing great support to technology startups in Vietnam. “Silicon Valley Ecosystem in Vietnam” is an initiative of the Ministry of Science and Technology, combining the Vietnamese entrepreneurial spirit with the U.S.’s most successful practices in startup development & mentoring, accelerators, and venture capital funding and investing[iii], aiming to stimulate the growth of the country’s tech ecosystem of innovations & technology commercialization.
Plus, every year, there are tons of tech events being held to enrich Vietnamese youth and tech enthusiasts to provide more information on the market & the tech country’s tech ecosystem, all the while facilitate & boost investment for Vietnamese tech startups.
Long gone are the days when Vietnam was an underdeveloped country with limited access to Internet and little tech developments. The tech ecosystem of Vietnam has been growing especially fast lately and has shown no sign of stopping. The country is definitely on its way to a brighter future of becoming one of the major players in Asia’s tech scene.
[i] Do, M 2014, “A comprehensive look at Vietnam’s startup ecosystem in 2014: 6 investors, 10 incubators, and lots more”, Tech in Asia, viewed on 29 May 2015, <https://www.techinasia.com/comprehensive-on-vietnam-incubator-ecosystem/>
[ii] Do, M 2012, “The Impact of Vietnam’s Fallen Group Buying Star”, Tech in Asia, viewed 29 May 2015, <https://www.techinasia.com/impact-vietnams-fallen-group-buying-star/>