In Vietnam, where research is still maturing, the publishing of white papers of any kind is a welcome surprise. The VNNIC, the center that monitors and issues domain names in the country, has released its latest research on internet growth in Vietnam. The paper coincides with 15 years of internet usage in Vietnam (by an official count), and the anniversary has also prompted research papers from other Vietnamese ministries.
Some of these statistics give an interesting picture of Vietnam’s internet population. The VNNIC’s numbers are a bit larger than those of the Ministry of Information and Technology, putting the number of netizens at 35.49 percent of the population. Thus with a population of 90 million, it’s no surprise that Vietnam is ranked 18th in the world in terms of internet users. But what is interesting is that it’s the regional leader in national website domain name registrations, or domains that end in “.vn”. Here’s the growth:
As of the third quarter of this year, the number of national registered domain names with “.vn” hit 225,970. Considering that the number of registered domains was just 14,786 in 2000, that puts the growth rate at about 172 percent per year. The total number of domains registered in the country (i.e. with .com, .com.vn, .edu, .org and so forth) is 836,173. At this rate, the number of domains will hit one million in the middle of next year.
So what does this tell us about Vietnam’s internet population? It means the country’s netizens want to produce; they want to create websites. I think this comes out of a need for connection. The young Vietnamese population is hungry for new ways to connect, and it’s no surprise that WeChat, the messaging app, has made such a strong entrance into the Vietnamese market with its “Look Around” function, a feature that allows users to talk to random new people who are also online in the neighborhood.
It’s also good for business. Young Vietnamese businesses, with this same mentality, also see websites as a means to connect with potential users or customers. Unfortunately, the practice of developing valuable content is still something that needs to mature.
[Source: VNNIC’s white paper on Vietnam’s internet - article in Vietnamese]