Sunday, December 28, 2008

Surfing Internet Vietnamese-style

16:50' 12/12/2008 (GMT+7)

VietNamNet Bridge – An Internet service investor shook his head, said: “We can’t understand Vietnamese people’s Internet surfing habits. We have invested a lot to study their habits but we can’t understand.”


This fact explains the losses suffered by many foreign networks which have invested in the online industry inVietnam.


The following four items about Vietnamese and their relationship to the Internet may be of use to some.


Yahoo! Messenger, the “king”


A survey ordered by a world-famous social network that plans to enterVietnam shows that 90% of Vietnamese people immediately log in to Yahoo Messenger when they open their computers.


Email, blog, online transactions and many other things are conducted through Yahoo! Messenger. Recently, many people have begun using Yahoo! Messenger mobile.


Talking to friends around the world, to colleagues in the same office, exchanging files, information, sharing photos, etc. and even declaring love to somebody are conducted via Yahoo! Messenger.


Yahoo! Messenger is the “king” in Vietnam, despite the presence of Skype and many other applications, thanks to one simple reason: The whole society is using Yahoo! Messenger, so nobody does differently.


Some employees have even quit their jobs when their employers banned Yahoo! Messenger at the office. “Without Yahoo! Messenger, I feel like I’ve lost an arm. For me Yahoo! Messenger is an indispensable part of life,” said Nguyen Bao Anh Huy, who left a foreign bank for a financial company for this reason.


Willing to pay unexpectedly


It is not true that Vietnamese Internet users just like free products. The evidence is that many online gamers are willing to pay a hundred US dollars to buy a pair of shoes for his/her characters while they wear real shoes costing around $10. They are also willing to pay several dollars to download a game from the Internet or to open an online shop on a website.


An official from an online entertainment service company said if a website has around 50,000 members, it can support itself with just VND3,000 ($0.17) collected from 20% of the members a day.


Kind-hearted people


It is interesting that online games are no longer considered dangerous by elderly people, who often don’t like their children or grandchildren seated behind computers the whole day. Vietnamese people have realised the real usefulness of the Internet.


Programmes for public benefit originating from the Internet are spreading in various forms, from raising funds for charity to assisting others via blogs, Yahoo! Messenger and websites on social activities.


Vu Thuyen, the owner of Dalatskill blog, confirmed: “Without the Internet, I don’t know how I could lend a hand to others so effectively. With only woolen hats and sweaters woven by myself during free time, many kids can have a warm winter.”


More time for computer than TV


More and more Vietnamese people spend more time on the Internet than watching TV because their favourite TV shows are available on the Internet. They can also submit comments about the shows.


The attractiveness of interactive services on the Internet is now a real challenge for TV show producers.