VietNamNet Bridge – The competition in the free chat software market has become stiffer than ever with the participation of a lot of big technology groups, both foreign and domestic.


Foreign technology groups flock to Vietnam

On January 24, the South Korean Kakao software firm officially joined the Vietnamese market. Kakao said Kakao Talk software piece which allows making free SMS have been developed in all smart phones’ operation systems such as Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Bada.

Kakao Talk in 13 languages has got 75 million users from 230 countries all over the world.

As such, with the joining of Kakao, the free chat software market has become more crowded since the day Chinese Tencent launched its international version of WeChat with the interface in Vietnamese last April.

Not only the Chinese and Korean technology groups, but many other foreign giants such as Line Facebook Messenger, Viber, Whatsapp, Yahoo Messenger have also been present in Vietnam.

Hwang Sung Hwan, Director of Kakao, said the Vietnamese free chatting software market is really potential with the smart phone users in Vietnam increasing rapidly and the 3G now more popular to Vietnamese.

The senior executive said that he can see a cutthroat competition in the market segment among the service suppliers, and that in order to exist in Vietnam, Kakao Talk would have to pay more attention to the “localization” of utilities to compete with its rivals.

Vietnamese groups jump on the bandwagon

Having realized the attractiveness of the free messaging software market, domestic Internet content developers have also jumped into the field.

VNG is one of them. Le Hong Minh, General Director of VNG, said he could feel the “heat” of the market in mid 2011, and he decided to make investment in the market before it becomes too late.

Vietnamese technology groups understand that the market has been controlled by foreign giants. However, VNG still “joined the game” by launching Zalo in mid 2012. To date, Zalo has been developed fully on three platforms of iOS, Android and Nokia S40.

Being a “new comer”, Zalo has made a big leap to conquer the domestic market. It has reached an agreement with Nokia on integrating Zalo app into Nokia’s Asha 305, 306, 308, 309 and Asha 311 launched into the market this month.

Besides, Zalo has also been available on Nokia Store for S40, S60 users to download for use.

Minh has revealed that in 2013, VNG would continue making investment in Zalo and would integrate Zalo into other mobile devices. In the immediate time, Zalo would be integrated to the smart phone models of Nokia which run on Windows Phone 8, including Lumina series.

The free messaging software market is so attractive that it has attracted not only the experienced companies like VNG, but start ups as well.

In late 2012, Wala marketed Wala Chat app. With the event, Wala became the eighth service provider in the free messaging software market. Meanwhile, Nguyen Thanh Hoa, the founder of Wala, said Wala follows an ambitious plan to develop the app into a platform for the mobile environment, which would become an ecosystem for valuable content services for enterprises and Wala-using community to exploit.

Also according to Hoa, the competition among service providers is getting stiffer, and only really useful apps would be able to exist.

“At present, all remain free of charge. In the future, just two percent of users pay fee would be a great success,” Hoa said.

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