Rick Martin
Rick Martin
4:45 pm on Jul 4, 2012


In our daily browsing of Vietnamese news [1] we were surprised to see a report from TuoiTreNews quoting a representative of the Department of Broadcast, Television, and E-Information, Dao Kim Phu, saying that his department has not received any registration application from Baidu for its Tra Da Quan social network site. The site is currently at located at tieba.baidu.com.vn and the report says it has been operating since July 1.

We initially wondered if it might be a social Tieba forum service, and indeed that’s what Baidu is planning according to this new report. Although as we noted yesterday, TuoiTreNews points out there is still the issue of regulation to overcome:

Under current regulations, all social networking websites operating in Vietnam must obtain a license from the Ministry of Information and Communications.

But to say that the site has been ‘operating’ is more than a little imprecise, since currently the webpage is just a ‘coming soon page.’ We’re not aware of any marketing that Baidu has done to promote the site, with the exception of this Facebook page which currently has 177 likes. When we got in touch with Baidu this afternoon about its rumored intentions to do a social site in Vietnam, the company declined to comment on any of its activities in Vietnam.

We’re not aware of any schedule that Baidu may have for this Tieba site (or as it’s to be called, Baidu Ta Da Quan), but I’m sure they have no intentions of operating without a license. That really wouldn’t make any sense. Hopefully the authorities can cut them a little slack for what is only, at this point, a pre-launch placeholder.

July 6 Update: Thanks to one of our astute readers for pointing out this BBC Vietnam article which cites an anonymous source at Baidu saying that the company will work on the legal procedures, and change the domain name to .com to avoid issues.

  1. We can’t actually read Vietnamese, so we were delighted to see this English report from TuoiTreNews!  ↩

  • http://www.rachelphan.com/ Rachel Phan

    Actually Baidu already ran a small marketing activity together with putting up a countdown to July 1st earlier last week. The activity calls for submission of news and interesting topics to the designated Tieba email with prizes including 30 wireless mouses and 1 iPod Shuffle.

    Screenshot here:

    According to their Facebook fanpage, the contest already closed and winners will be announced in the next 2 weeks. I’m not sure where their countdown clock has gone, but they must have delayed the launch date since Vietnamese netizens don’t respond so positively to anything originated from China (due to the ongoing conflict over the ownership of Paracel Islands) and recent legal issues.

    I’m actually surprised their Facebook page is able to collect 177 likes since it’s flooded with hating comments. People even go as far as calling names and creating anti-Baidu Facebook fanpages.

    Source: I’m Vietnamese.

  • http://www.1rick.com Rick Martin

    Thanks Rachel, that’s really helpful. Do you have some links to the anti-Baidu fan pages? We certainly appreciate your insight here!

  • http://www.rachelphan.com/ Rachel Phan

    I know only 2 on Facebook:
    http://www.facebook.com/taychay.baidu.taukhua (the name reads “Anti group for Chinese social network Baidu Tra Da Quan”)
    It’s ironic that while Baidu Tieba fanpage has only 177 likes, the 2 fanpages already have 178 and 316 likes respectively.

    Unfortunately for Baidu there is a plethora of other anti-Baidu groups out there, everywhere from forums, Vietnam’s reddit to other social networks.
    1 hating blog: http://tradaquan.blogspot.com/

    To add insult to injury, it’s all over the news that Baidu installs adware and spyware into user’s computers through their music player program. It definitely won’t be such a smooth sailing launch for whatever Baidu is trying to introduce here.

    An example of such news [Vietnamese]: http://ictnews.vn/home/Internet/77/Baidu-co-the-can-thiep-vao-may-tinh-nguoi-dung-Viet-Nam/103452/index.ict

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