Foreign players attracted to Vietnam’s mobile-app market
VietNamNet Bridge – While Vietnamese internet companies and independent programmers continue to seek opportunities abroad, many foreign technology groups see the country as a lucrative.
Since early July, travelers have been using the Hong Kong-made app HotelQuickly, which allows customers to book 3-5 star hotel rooms at “very reasonable rates”. The app also is offering $31 off to new users until the end of August.
The app is available in seven languages, including Vietnamese, and it runs on three operating systems, iOS, Android and Blackberry 10.
Beginning operation in March 2013, HotelQuickly has attracted 150,000 registered clients and 300,000 downloads, becoming a popular last-minute hotel room booking app in regional countries, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.
It is estimated that 60,000 hotels worldwide have joined the network, including 330 in Vietnam.
Vietnamese have also been using In2nite, a similar Singaporean-sourced hotel room booking app.
Other foreign-mobile apps are well known in Vietnam. In February, Grabtaxi from Malaysia and Easy Taxi from Brazil, apps for taxi services, both jumped into the Vietnamese market at the same time, followed by the US’s Uber Taxi which arrived in June.
Christian Mischler, the co-founder of HotelQuickly, believes Vietnam is a promising market thanks to an increasingly high number of mobile device users.
It is estimated that 30 percent of Vietnamese mobile-device users download 16-21 apps every month.
Thieu Phuong Nam, general director of Qualcomm Indochina, noted that it was understandable why foreign-app developers had flocked to Vietnam. The country is a potential market for foreign apps, with 30 percent of mobile device users using them.
According to Nam, high technology-based apps will spur development of service industries. In order to grow, businesses will be forced to use modern business models.
In2nite and HotelQuickly both are online travel agents (known as OTAs) like Agoda, iViVu.com or mytour.vn, which are familiar to Vietnamese. However, with an advantage in technology, the foreign-sourced apps allow users to book hotel rooms within a short time and at better prices.
According to Mischler from HotelQuickly, hotels offer many a variety of discount rates to different groups of guests. In principle, the websites which allow customers to book rooms online usually enjoy the most preferential hotel room rates, because they provide the most clients to hotels.
However, the next-generation OTAs like In2nite and HotelQuickly can offer even better discount rates than the websites, because they allow hotels to quickly fill idle rooms.
An analyst noted that foreign apps are getting more and more popular in Vietnam because the apps are useful in daily life.
Meanwhile, foreign-app developers, who are striving to bring the new business model to Vietnam, are willing to spend a lot of money to familiarize Vietnamese with the apps. This is within their reach because they are backed by venture funds and big internet companies.