Lingo.vn unexpectedly shuts down as investors pull out
VietNamNet Bridge - Foreign investor MAJ Invest has closed Lingo.vn, an e-commerce website, leaving 265 workers jobless. The owner has been criticized for disregarding the needs of Vietnamese workers.

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On August 2, 2016, Lingo.vn’s members were called to an urgent meeting by the representative of MAJ Invest, which announced the dissolution of the firm.

The representative said the investor would not give any allowances to workers, including expectant mothers. He said MAJ Invest ‘strictly observed Vietnamese laws’ and if it had not, it had no other choice because the money had run out.

However, a worker told the press that the firm’s staff only received a verbal notice from the representative that morning. Only in the afternoon did the staff receive a resolution on the dissolution through email, with no stamp and no signature. No date was given. 

An official document with a stamp reached the firm’s staff two days later.

As written in a letter believed to be from Lingo.vn’s members, all the workers of the firm, who had confidence in the investor’s reputation and commitments, had been working hard in the last 11 months, devoting themselves to Lingo’s development. Tens of workers spent sleepless nights and had no free weekends for many months.

Foreign investor MAJ Invest has closed Lingo.vn, an e-commerce website, leaving 265 workers jobless. The owner has been criticized for disregarding the needs of Vietnamese workers.
MAJ Invest committed to pour $3 million into the website until the end of 2016. However, by the time it was dissolved, Lingo had received only half of the committed amount.

Lingo.vn made its debut in August 2011, under the management of VMG. In March 2014, VMG set up Lingo Co Ltd by splitting Lingo center from the holding company VMG, in charge of developing e-commerce services for VMG, with charter capital of VND100 billion.

Nurturing an ambitious plan of becoming the No 1 e-commerce website in Vietnam, Lingo.vn had been taking losses. 

MAJ Invest is a large investment fund from Denmark. It once injected money into Golden Gate, Bianfishco and VIBI. Now it has investment capital in the Vietnam-Australia Education Company, AA Interior JSC and VMG Media.

Lingo’s workers said they were surprised about the explanation from the investor that the website must be shut down because of losses. 

In fact, this was anticipated by the investor when it opened the website and it was expected that the firm would only begin making profits from 2018.

Just two months before, Lingo’s CEO flew to Hanoi and talked to the staff about the new development strategy.

Kyle Pham An Tuan, the CEO, said he was informed about the dissolution five days before the information was released.


Kim Chi

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