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Property developers race towards digital technology

Amid the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) many property developers in Vietnam are seeking to adopt digital technology both for enterprise management and in their projects.

The Q7 Saigon Riverside Complex project of Hung Thinh Corporation attracts many investors in HCM City.— Photo Hung Thinh Corporation

Hung Thinh Corporation is among them. The company is studying technologies available, including for smart homes and smart cities.

Smart home technologies, or home automation, involve the use of devices at home that connect via a network, usually a local LAN or the internet. It uses devices such as sensors and other appliances connected to the internet of things (IoT) that can be remotely monitored, controlled or accessed to provide services that respond to the perceived needs of users.

Smart city technology allows officials to interact directly with both the community and city infrastructure and to monitor what is happening in the city and how the city is evolving.

The company’s deputy director, Nguyen Nam Tien, said the fourth industrial revolution has not only helped enhance labour productivity and economic growth but also ushered in a new period for people-to-people connections.

Industry 4.0 has also created new industries and new modes for organisation of labour supply, he said.

“Therefore, the company wants to utilise all those advantages of the Industry 4.0”.

Sunshine Group has also become one of the pioneers in investing in technologies at property developments. The main technology platforms it has focused on are digital infrastructure, mobile applications on smart phones, sensors, artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT.

Analysts said real estate businesses’ use of Industry 4.0 technologies is expected to create drastic changes and bring sustainable value to the sector.

Pham Lam, general director of DKRA Vietnam, agreed with them, pointing out that the active application of technology in the real estate sector is flourishing in line with the growth of the domestic market.

It would efficiently support all operations of the market including investment, project development, marketing, product distribution, and leasing or buying projects, which would become a common trend and create transparency, he said.

Tran Hien Phuong, the CEO of Seaholdings, said Industry 4.0 would help project owners manage, operate and develop their projects in a smart and systematic manner and also improve the transparency of market information.

Speaking about the role of technology in finance in the real estate sector, many experts said the market is attracting five main sources of funding, namely bank loans, foreign investment, private capital, corporate bonds, and fintech services.

Fintech real estate companies use includes technology and innovation like blockchain.

Blockchain is a growing list of records called blocks that are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data.

Vietnam social networking sites continue to battle for survival

Vietnam had 455 homegrown social media apps licensed by authorised agencies as of 2019.

Those with the most users are Zalo with 60 million, Mocha with 8.7 million and Gapo with 2.62 million.

Three new networks, Lotus, Gapo and Hahalolo, were introduced within months in 2019, joining the race to attract users with networks like Zalo and Mocha as well as Facebook. The US social network has 60-65 million monthly active users.

Lotus made its debut in September with an investment of VND1.2 trillion (US$52.2 million).

With the ambition of taking on Facebook, VCCorp, its owner, co-ordinated with hundreds of content producers in various areas such as video, entertainment, newspapers, and television to supply information to users.

In July Gapo came into being with an investment of VND500 billion and the hope of attracting 50 million users by 2021.

Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung said recently that Vietnamese social networks are set to have 90 million users by the end of 2020 as the Government keeps trying hard to break the foreign monopoly in the country.

With the expectation that Vietnamese social media apps would have been able to compete with Facebook but the practical situation has turned out to be quite different.

Most homegrown social media sites had to quietly give up like their predecessors Zing Me, Yume-vn and Only a few like Zalo still have many users.

People are yet find Vietnamese sites attractive enough or different to switch to them from international sites, experts said.

Hung also said Vietnamese social networking sites should be developed with basic differences with foreign sites like Facebook since they would not be successful if they merely imitate them.
He also made it clear that Vietnam did not seek to replace foreign social media sites with homegrown ones since each app would have its own functions, space and customers.

A spokesperson for Gapo said the Government should have a legal framework in place for electronic information services to ensure fair competition between domestic and foreign social networks.

Foreign social media apps which provide cross-border services in Vietnam must comply with all conditions and complete the procedures as required of domestic ones, he said.

The existing legal regulations are not enough for authorised agencies to effectively manage international networks, he warned.

Analysts said homegrown social media apps offer a big advantage: they can ensure the security of data since their servers are situated within the country.

They said international social media sites are very strong but only distribute and do not produce content, and as a result, Vietnamese content producers are able to maintain information sovereignty, and those with a strong content strategy have the right to negotiate and prevail.

Information sovereignty refers to full legal equality with other states and the freedom from any external control with regard to the independent right to the production and use of information. VNS

Thien Ly

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