In October 2012, WeAreSocial calculated that Facebook had hit 8.5 million users in Vietnam to overtake local rival Zing as the top social network. Today Facebook is at 12 million. That’s one million new users per month added in Vietnam alone. One of my sources who works closely with Facebook in Vietnam says that these numbers are actually modest, and 15 to 20 million is closer to the correct count.
If this rate of growth maintains, we’ll see over 24 million users on Facebook by the end of the year. Currently, over 30 million people are online in Vietnam, this will most likely hit 40 million by year’s end.
Currently, for social media users in Vietnam, Facebook is the de facto social network. That’s good for marketing and traction across groups. For example, if I’m an events promoter, Facebook is by far the easiest way to access people en masse. But that’s also a huge barrier to entry for different types of social media sites as they try to gain traction.
Outside of Facebook, most Vietnamese users are on forums. There’s very weak Twitter penetration. Mimo, Vietnam’s Twitter, hasn’t hit critical mass yet. Linkhay, Vietnam’s Digg, sits far below one million users. VNG, whose social media site Zing was on top until late last year, moved most of its efforts into mobile – with Zalo – and out of traditional social media. Although rumor has it, VNG will be releasing Zini.vn, a microblogging platform, by the end of this month.
But with Facebook’s consistent rise in Asia – apart from Japan and Korea, where chat apps are now stronger – it’s sucking up all the users in the country. Even if newcomers arrive into the market, it will be hard to take them away from the reigning social king. To me, this is sad because there’s less and less space for niche social media sites to build communities.