Vietnamese shun Chinese mobile devices because of security reasons

VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnamese users are buying fewer Chinese phones after a series of recent discoveries about the security problems of Chinese-made products.


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Vietnamese users are buying fewer Chinese phones after a series of recent discoveries about the security problems of Chinese-made products.

Many problems with Chinese phones have been discovered recently. Lenovo computers were found with Lenovo Service Engine (LSE) which can steal users’ personal information. Meanwhile, in two cases discovered in Vietnam, users’ information and money was stolen from their accounts.

On July 19, 2014, Ocworkbench.com unexpectedly released a report of Hong Kong’s IMA Mobile which said it discovered security problems with Redmi Note made by Chinese Xiaomi. 

The phone is installed with spyware which can automatically back up the data in smartphones, including SMS, images and multimedia content and send information to servers in China. The information can be sent when the smartphones have a wifi connection, but cannot be sent if the devices are in 3G mode.

Hai Phong City and Quang Ninh province authorities have recommended agencies, businesses and people not to use Lenovo products to avoid spyware.

The information then triggered big concerns among Vietnamese users. Redmi Note and dozens of other smartphone models made by Xiaomi were displayed at nearly all smartphone shops in Vietnam. They were brought to Vietnam by travelers or traders via the border gates.

At that moment, Xiaomi Redmi Note was sold in Vietnam at VND4.7-4.9 million, a ‘very reasonable price’, and therefore, was very attractive to Vietnamese users. The product had a large 5.5 inch screen, 8-core microprocessor MediaTek 1.7GHz, RAM 2GB, 8GB memory, 13MP camera and 3,200 mAh battery. 

Meanwhile, Xiaomi Redmi 1S was even cheaper with the selling price of VND3.2 million.

Hai Phong City and Quang Ninh province authorities have recommended agencies, businesses and people not to use Lenovo products to avoid spyware.

In October 2015, the Hanoi Information and Communication Department discovered that Vinamob, an investment company where Lian Kwok Keong, Singaporean citizen, is CEO, colluded with three China-based companies to provide content services by installing the messaging command codes to 8x61 on phones sourced from China, such as “Nokia” 2700 C-2, ZES Z10.

Vinamob and the three Chinese companies Global Wireless Consulting (GWC), Bei Jing Chang Yuan Hong Da Technology (HK Canal) and Phone Me Technology (Shiny Mobi) set up a server system in China which connected with Vinamob’s equipment system in Vietnam to run the illegal operation.

Users’ mobile devices would automatically send messages to 8x61, while the systems would automatically ‘steal’ money from users’ accounts.

By the time the behavior was discovered, the companies had successfully stolen VND2.6 billion.

Vinamob has been fined VND50 million, forced to pay back the amount of VND2.6 billion, and it has to stop providing content service via 8x61 for two months.

Analysts noted that many Vietnamese have ‘boycotted’ Chinese phones because they have lost confidence in Chinese products.
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