Smartphone use has dramatically increased Internet penetration and growth in online services in Vietnam.
Internet penetration has grown to 44 per cent of Vietnam’s 90 million people from 12 per cent a decade ago, and much of that is driven by smartphones, which are used by more than one-third of the population, according to the Wall Street Journal.
This mobile-first expansion is powering a range of online services, many of which are showing their first signs of serious growth, such as mobile e-commerce.
Motorcycle couriers wearing brightly colored uniforms of e-commerce companies zip through traffic to deliver anything from women’s shoes to men’s fashion to kitchen equipment, much of it sent to offices where some workers pass the time on their smartphones buying from websites such as Lazada.com and Hotdeal.vn.
These kinds of businesses couldn’t thrive before because fixed-line web services were difficult and time-consuming to install, especially in outlying areas.
Telecommunications companies such as Viettel Mobile, Vietnam’s largest operator by subscribers, and MobiFone, owned by the Vietnam Mobile Telecom Services Co., have rolled out third-generation signals to cover much of the country.
Vietnamese are now among the world’s most voracious watchers of videos on their smartphones, according to a Nielsen survey. Active mobile social media accounts, meanwhile, rose 41 per cent from January 2014 to January this year, according to UK-based consultancy We Are Social.