There are 1.4 mobiles for every person in Vietnam, so there’s obviously a thirst for mobile. And in the status-hungry country, the smartphone market is growing strongly. So it makes sense that one of the country’s biggest technology companies, FPT, has set the goal of manufacturing and selling 600,000 smartphones in Vietnam in 2013.
This will be a shift from what FPT was shipping last year, which was centered on feature phones. It will mean that smartphones make up 70 percent of its mobile output.
The newest phone in FPT’s own-brand lineup is the FPT IV, a smartphone that costs 4.45 million VND (US$212), ships with Android 4.1, and is directed at the lower end of the price spectrum, targeting customers that can’t afford iPhones and big-screen Samsungs. Interestingly, it’s Vietnam’s first-ever homegrown quad-core phone.
FPT is also a telco, and does software outsourcing, education, hardware manufacturing, and more. It’s also closely affiliated with the government. It’s a clear indication that the government views the growth of smartphones as essential to Vietnamese economic growth. Also, given the aggressive nature of Vietnamese telecoms into global markets, it’s foreseeable that this could transition into smartphones built for the global market in 2014.
In other news, in addition to the FPT IV and its homegrown Android smartphones, the company is also planning to sell the premium Vertu TI smartphone, which runs Android 4.0. The phone costs 200 million VND – that’s over $9,500. Why anyone would pay that much for a phone with an outdated mobile operating system beats me. Oh wait, it’s Vietnam, where people buy $1.4 million cars just because they can.