Mobile & smart TV wave challenges digital content firms and telcos

VietNamNet Bridge – The State has been urged to apply reasonable policies to encourage the development of the domestic digital content industry – the sector that can bring high added value to Vietnam.

Vietnam, smart phone, digital content, service, big guys

Since 2010, VNG, VTC and some other digital content firms have been designing and making digital content products for domestic use and export. They were just at the start of their career of making games on personal computers (PC) and met so many difficulties.

However, while they were still trying to cope with the big difficulties, the smart phone and smart TV wave rushed down so rapidly. All the enterprises in the digital content industry have made a quick decision of reducing the development of the services on PC and shifting to developing services for mobile and smart TV.

Phan Sao Nam, President of VTC Online, said VTC Online has decided to stop some half-finished projects on designing products for PC and begin implementing the products for mobile phones.

Meanwhile,, the social network, has begun designing the apps of listening music, watching films, and chatting on mobile phone.

Nam said that the mobile and smart TV wave is the big challenge for all digital content firms and telcos, because mobile phone users would mainly use digital content services.

“If telcos don’t become open and don’t cooperate well with digital content firms, all of us would stay hungry,” Nam said. “If we cannot join forces to develop our services, the digital content market would fall into the hands of foreign firms. If so, there would be nothing left for us to eat.”

Vietnamese VTC and VNG now have to compete fiercely with global enterprises such as Facebook, Google or Apple, already. In terms of social network, it seems that domestic firms have yielded. No Vietnamese social network can defeat Facebook, the giant with 10 million users in Vietnam.

In the market segment of digital content for mobile phones, Google, Yahoo and Facebook all have made big leaps to conquer the global market, while Vietnamese businesses are still at their early stage of development.

As such, Vietnam’s digital content industry needs a strong push to develop. The “strong push” here is understood as the encouragement by the State.

Duong The Luong, Director of VTC Intecom, the second biggest digital content firm to VNG, said digital services, especially online games, are the kind of risky business because of the short life expectancy of the products. Meanwhile, online game manufacturers have not been encouraged by the State. The current tightened policies make it very difficult for game manufacturers to develop new products. The policies include the procedures for licensing, popularizing products.

Luong admitted that VTC Intecom has gradually lost its market share in the stiff competition with foreign strong competitors, saying that it’s difficult to make new services while the production cost keeps increasing.

Nam has also noted that the State does not support the development of the digital content industry, while digital content firms do not receive assistance to both compete with foreign giants right in the home market and export their products.

In related news, local newspapers have quoted Nguyen Hong Truong, Vice President of IDG Ventures Vietnam as saying that in 2013, e-commerce, mobile apps, online services, digital content and software development would be the sectors to attract most investments in the information technology and communication industry.

Buu Dien

Vietnam, smart phone, digital content, service, big guys