return icon

Foreign investors penetrate deep into Vietnam’s e-commerce market

The few e-commerce players which survive the stiff competition in the market are all backed by big foreign firms in the region.

2019 witnessed the departure of a series of shopping websites, including, and Prior to that, The Gioi Di Dong closed, the website that its manager once put high expectations on.



After, and gave up the game, the Vietnamese e-commerce market has four best-known names –,, and

The common thing of all the ‘big four’ is that they are backed by the ‘big guys’ in the region, mostly from China, which have experience and huge capital.

In April 2016, China's Alibaba spent $1 billion to acquire 51 percent of Lazada’s shares, which was called Southeast Asia’s Amazon. In June 2018, it poured another $1 billion to raise its ownership ratio to 83 percent in the startup valued at $3.15 billion. of China came to Vietnam in 2018, pouring capital into Tiki.

2019 witnessed the departure of a series of shopping websites, including, and Prior to that, The Gioi Di Dong closed, the website that its manager once put high expectations on.

Shopee is also considered a Chinese invested firm. It is a subsidiary of SEA.

In October 2018, the Singapore-based company became the first technology firm in Southeast Asia made IPO on NYSE and collected $884 million. SEA has a big shareholder – Tencent, a powerful Chinese technology group.

As for Sendo, it had nine foreign shareholders by the end of 2019, including Econtext Asia Ltd from China, which is the second biggest shareholder, just to E-Vietnam (Singapore).

The presence of Chinese technology and e-commerce firms in the Vietnamese market raised concern that the Vietnamese market is being controlled by foreign investors.

Through M&A deals, Chinese investors can easily penetrate the Vietnamese market without having to spend time on seeking licenses and branding.

Vu Vinh Phu, a retail expert, former deputy director of the Hanoi Trade Department, repeatedly warned of the dominance of foreign players in the e-commerce market.

He also expressed concern that the Vietnamese market would be flooded with Chinese goods brought to Vietnam by Chinese-invested e-commerce firms. If so, Vietnam’s production will be seriously affected.

Pham Tat Thang, a senior researcher of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), doesn’t think this is a big problem. He said in a market economy, any enterprise, Vietnamese or foreign, should be welcomed if they do business honestly, bring benefits to consumers, and comply with the laws.

Vietnamese and foreign businesses all want to enter the e-commerce market as they are attracted by then popularity of internet and smartphones in Vietnam, as well as the rapid familiarization of Vietnamese youth with new services. However, as Thang said, it is not easy to exist in a market with cutthroat competition.

Kim Chi 


Shopee is top-ranked e-commerce platform in Buzz Rankings

Shopee is top-ranked e-commerce platform in Buzz Rankings

Shopee, a leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, has come out on top as the most positively discussed e-commerce platform in Vietnam.

2019: prosperous year for Vietnam’s e-commerce, fintech firms

2019: prosperous year for Vietnam’s e-commerce, fintech firms

Start-up activities are growing fast despite the slowdown of the global economy. The gap between Vietnam and the two regional leading countries, Indonesia and Singapore, has narrowed.


Achilles heel in tourism

Vietnam’s tourism industry has made only meager strides in diversifying its products despite years of growth.

The most addictive dish on Ha Giang plateau

Ha Giang attracts tourists not only for its majestic natural landscape and honest ethnic people but also for its bold, regional specialties that cannot be found anywhere else.

Liquidity needs to be ensured: Central bank

The Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) sent important messages about monetary policies at a meeting with businesses held by SBV and HCM City People’s Committee late last week.

Firms hesitate to access loans due to weak consumption demand

The State Bank of Vietnam last week cut its policy rates for the third time this year to prop up economic growth.

Banks experience significant increases in non-performing loans

Given the challenging economic environment, the performance of numerous banks is rather bleak, particularly due to the mounting bad debt levels.


Work on Cat Bi Airport’s Terminal T2 to start in Q4

Vietnam should consider announcing the end of COVID-19: NA deputy

At the ongoing fifth session of the 15th National Assembly (NA) held on May 29, Nguyen Lan Hieu of the NA Delegation of Binh Dinh province suggested that the end of COVID-19 should be announced.

Cut on automobile registration fees to facilitate auto industry

The Ministry of Industry and Trade supporting the reduction of automobile registration fees is considered a positive effect to the auto industry in the context of the automobile market facing many difficulties.


Vietnam leaves good impressions at multi-ethnic festival in Czech Republic

Vietnam to build center for search and rescue in Spratly Islands

Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang has approved a project to improve the capacity of incident and natural disaster response and search and rescue to 2030, with a vision to 2045.

Male model finishes as third runner-up at World Fitness Supermodel

Ngo Hoang Linh, the Vietnamese representative at World Fitness Supermodel 2023, was awarded the third runner-up title during the male pageant’s grand final held on May 27 in Thailand.

Old Vietnamese publications in romanised script on display in Paris

An exhibition showcasing old Vietnamese publications in Chu Quoc ngu (romanised Vietnamese script) is underway in Paris, France.

HCMC police raze black-credit companies with illicit profits of over US$176mln

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Public Security yesterday prosecuted nine people for usury in civil transactions.

Entertainment and cultural events of the week (May 29-June 4/2023)

Upcoming entertainment and cultural events in Vietnam's major cities on May 29-June 4.

More cooperation needed to develop rare earth industry in Vietnam

The applications for rare-earth element products have developed strongly in recent decades, especially in the field of agriculture in which they are used to create clean, safe, and effective agricultural products.