Vietnam has been the fastest-growing middle class in Southeast Asia in recent years. However, the development is noticeable: the number of startups has increased — four times from 400 in 2012 to 1,800 in 2015, and nearly 3,000 in 2017. And it is also expanding geographically, with new provincial pockets of wealth beyond the important and traditional centers of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi Capital.
One bright example apart from Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi is Danang where there have been many startups and events in 2017. DNES is an Danang — based incubator that helps startups from early stage to growth and accelerates over 30 founders in 4 batches since 2016.
On June 2017, the Law on Technology Transfer was revised to promote technological advances and the commercialization of technologies such as AI, IoT, Edtech, O2O, E-commerce, FinTech, and AgriTech.
On March 6th, 2018, a VIP luncheon meeting with the theme Blockchain & E-Governance: A Gathering at Intersection of Investment, Innovation and Policy was held by the co-operation between Infinity Blockchain Labs and Vietnam Blockchain Club, aiming to provide an open discussion about blockchain among top educators, entrepreneurs and investors.
Mr. Dung Ta VIET (Tạ Việt Dũng), Chief of the State Agency of Technology Innovation, gave a short opening remark on the main theme of the event — Blockchain & E-Governance. He stated that for the past few years, the Vietnamese Government has been strongly supportive of the adoption and application of new technologies in the manufacturing industry as well as other economic and social fields. This could be proven by the fact that the Vietnamese Government has been preparing a legal framework. Moreover, on July 1, 2018, the revised Law on Technology Transfer comes into effect, and this will create easier access to new foreign technology for Vietnamese corporations, because there will be more assistance from the government in importing these technologies — and blockchain is one of them. The method used to approach blockchain technology varies from one nation to another and among different fields.
Moreover, Vietnamese startups have many big opportunities to meet with global partners from Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, US, Israel, Finland, Singapore and other countries to exchange knowledge on AI, IoT, Edtech, O2O, E-commerce, FinTech, and AgriTech. These are all areas of considerable opportunities for many industries.
Shinhan Bank Vietnam (Shinhan Bank) — one of the leading banks of South Korea, has officially taken over the retail banking segment of the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group in Vietnam (ANZ Vietnam) to expand its payment services by utilising ANZ’s resources. Moreover, we also invested in Fintech application, Shinhan Future’s lab Vietnam to accelerate the startup in Vietnam and Korean.
Start Up Campus in Pangyo Techno Valley, Korea held the Asia Startup Network, a conference that provides a platform for connecting startup accelerators, startups, venture capitals, and young entrepreneurs to present and further discuss their findings on the startup ecosystems in Asia.
In its 2017 inaugural year, the conference focused on sharing trends and successful cases in Korea, China, Malaysia, India, Singapore, Philippines, and Vietnam. They were planning to hold conference annually to build the Asia international network and synergies together. I was honor to be there and tie the partnership to set up Asia Startup Network.
The Israel Embassy is actively partnering with many programs to bring Vietnamese startups to Israel to learn and grow as well as enable Israel startups to get connected and explore Vietnam market.
Lead the Change is a competition for young startup entrepreneurs from 18 to 25 to have a chance to challenge their ideas, learn skills, find right partner and get funded initiated by UEH Connected community.
Highlights of 2017
- Many startup funds are established such as ESP Capital, Innovatube, VIISA and 500 Startups Vietnam.
- SpeedUP 2017 is the fund which founded by Ho Chi Minh City Department of Science and Technology has 11.75 billion VND (520,525 USD) invested in 14 startups in Vietnam at a minimum of 350 million VND (15,505 USD) to a maximum of 1,282 billion VND (56,792 USD).
- Hanoi People’s Committee launched Startupcity.vn — an online hub which not only stores the database of startup and investor but also publishes news to promote startups with investors, ecosystem builder and the government.
- Tiki was founded in 2010 received 54.5 million USD (series C) from China’s JD.com and Korea’s STIC Investment.
- The SEA Group (formerly Garena) from Singapore paid 64 million USD to acquire 82% Foody’s stakes.
- Vntrip, a Vietnamese online travel agency has raised 10 million USD (Series B) from Hendale Capital.
- KyberNetwork was co-founded by a Vietnamese launched its ICO on September, 2017 taking in 200,000 Ethereum, which was valued nearly 56 million USD at that time.
- The launch of reality television show named Shark Tank Vietnam
Why do we need to pay attention to Vietnam market?
Vietnam has 96 million people, 67% of which are internet user, and with 57% active social media users and 73% unique mobile users. The annual speed of growth in Vietnam is significantly fast –the percentage of internet user increases 28% (14 million people) and 20% for active social users according to a Kepios report. This actually indicates great opportunity for new product ranges focusing on this consumer segment.
The success of innovations, unfortunately, depends on the go-to market stage rather than the product itself. It is also important to pay attention to the longer-term consumer needs, and catering for these needs will present economic, social and cultural opportunities and challenges for Vietnam notably not only in basic commodities, real estate but also in healthcare, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and financial services.
Moreover, Vietnamese attitudes towards technology is very positive and with great potential, 61% of people believe that new technologies offer more opportunities than risks and 63% of preferring to complete task digitally whenever possible.