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Unikey creator joins technology unicorn MoMo

Recruiting and using talents is a policy being pursued by MoMo, a new Vietnamese unicorn (a privately held startup company valued at over $1 billion).


Unikey creator Pham Kim Long


Following the successful call for $200 million, MoMo is taking action to cement its position in the market and increase the technological content in its products.

Most recently, the company gathered a group of leading scientists in data and AI in its AI Committee. The working group is set up to realize MoMo’s AI utilization strategy. It is in charge of seeking and developing products and technologies.

Established in June 2021, MoMo’s AI Committee now has seven members, including experts who have worked for the world’s leading technology giants.

Dang Hoang Vu, who has a doctorate from Cambridge University, for example, was an expert at Hewlett Packard. Before returning to Vietnam, he worked in the user protection division at Facebook. Since May 2021, Vu has been in charge of the development of platforms using data and AI in MoMo’s business fields.

Another expert for MoMo is Tran Thi Lac Thanh. She is a PhD in computing science from UMass University. She spent many years working in the data science division at Twitter and LinkedIn in Silicon Valley.

Another member of the AI Committee is Pham Kim Long, well known as the author of UniKey, the software for typing Vietnamese characters used by most Vietnamese.

After resigning from the post of Zalo AI director, Long is now AI R&D Director at MoMo. He leads the teams researching natural language processing technology and computer vision.

Asked why he joined MoMo’s staff at a recent workshop about AI development, Long said he felt that he needed to change to have new challenges.

“MoMo has a long-term vision in AI and it sets specific goals. The important thing is that it doesn’t require results immediately. Tuong (MoMo’s CEO) has raised a problem for me – using AI to solve the question of using chatbots for customer care,” Long said.

The creator of Unikey said his goal in the time to come is finding a solution with AI to offer more user-friendly experiences.

His ambition is to use face identification technology for payment and voice chatbots on the app.

MoMo began making heavy investments in AI/Data in 2019. It has used AI for many components of the MoMo app, such as eKYC (electronic Know Your Customer), product recommendation systems, preferential distribution and user protection.

The technology unicorn now employs 600 technology engineers, while AI experts account for 20 percent of the total staff. 

Trong Dat

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