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Making apps: easily done, difficult to sell

The number of Vietnamese apps on Google Play, Appstore and Apple Store has been increasing in accordance with the number of mobile devices in use. Tens of thousands of apps have been made, but only 2 percent of them can bring money.

VietNamNet Bridge – The number of Vietnamese apps on Google Play, Appstore and Apple Store has been increasing in accordance with the number of mobile devices in use. Tens of thousands of apps have been made, but only 2 percent of them can bring money.

The information has been provided by Do Tuan Anh, Director of Appota, the firm specializing in supporting to put apps to app stores.

Anh said in 2012, Appota put some 3,000 apps into stores, while the figure was 2,000 in the first six months of 2013.

The production cost of apps depends on the quality and scale. Hoang Quoc Tuan, Deputy Business Director of Mecorp, said the firm’s app division has 30 workers who can write 3-4 apps a month.

Tuan estimates that an app costs VND120 million after considering the salaries paid to the workers.

“Mecorp’s apps are mostly the games for mobile phones and tablets, which sets high requirements during the production process. Meanwhile, other apps would have lower costs,” Tuan explained.

Nguyen Long, a first year student of RMIT University, says it costs some VND50 million to write an app like the one allowing to identify a voice, which he has just written for BlackBerry mobile phones.

“The sum of VND50 million would be spent from the day of beginning to the completion, which does not include the time needed to write the updates later. It takes me 3-4 months on average to write an app,” Long said.

Also according to Long, app writers don’t have to spend money on business premises, while they only have to pay for computers. Therefore, the salaries for the programmers are the main expenses of apps.

In some cases, it costs only VND5 million, which is equal to the monthly basic salary of an engineer, to write a simple app. However, Viet Phuong from CMN Online noted that one cannot earn big money if he only writes simple apps.

It’s not easy to make money

Tran Tuan Anh, Director of mLab in the HCM City High Tech Park, said that an app can bring money only if it has at least tens of thousands of downloads. Only by that time, production enterprises or goods trade companies would spend money to book ads.

“I know some ads which can earn $200 per day just from the ad pieces,” Anh said.

Of the 500 apps which can bring money to the writers, the majority are games. Insiders have whispered in each others’ ears that Minh Chau Company can earn VND3 billion a month from Minh Chau Tam Quoc game.

Meanwhile, according to Tuan, some of Mecorp’s games can also make money, but no more than VND2 billion.

Regarding the income from writing apps, Long from RMIT said since early 2013, he can earn some VND100 million from the two apps of recognizing voice and reading mails, messages on mobile devices running on BlackBerry operation system.

There are numerous Vietnamese apps for mobile devices, according to experts, about tens of thousands. However, most of the apps available at the app stores are free of charge, while only 2 percent of them can bring money.

Analysts have noted that app writers find it difficult to ear money from their products, and that Google does not allow Vietnamese to sell apps on Google Play, if the owners don’t have foreign accounts.



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