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Vietnamese Tech News Sites, Give Us More Vietnam and Less Silicon Valley

Anh-Minh Do
Anh-Minh Do
6:30 pm on Jan 4, 2013

In Vietnam, if you want to read information about the technology industry, there are tons of sources. News has been on the frontlines of Vietnam’s Internet boom since the very start. A quick look at Alexa’s rankings for Vietnam will reveal that 11 of the top 20 websites are news sites. Unfortunately, when you drill down to technology news, you immediately see that most of these websites don’t cover technology in Vietnam. They’re all talking about news from Silicon Valley. It’s not easy for the layman to get news about new technology companies, new products, or cutting edge trends in Vietnam. It’s still mostly word of mouth.

If you work in the Vietnamese entertainment or events industry, you already know why this is the case. You have to pay newspapers in Vietnam to give you press. And it’s the same in the tech sector here. Startups that want their products to be known typically have to pay the press in order to get coverage. At the same time, these newspapers are giving free press to companies from Korea, Silicon Valley, Japan, and China. It’s a catch–22. Everybody knows about the latest iPhone, nobody knows about Setech Viet. Free press for foreigners, costly and dodgy paid coverage for local startups.

This presents a significant barrier for startups that want to bring their products to market in Vietnam. The big news sites like VN Express, Vietnamnet, Tuoi Tre, Zing News, and BaoMoi.com report on local news in culture, entertainment, sports and etc. But when you check the tech news, it’s rare that you’ll find local technology news. Where is the news about Kleii, Vietnam’s first entrance into cloud storage? Or Foody.vn, Vietnam’s Yelp? Or Appstore.vn, the mobile app distributor? These are the kinds of startups I think need more press and we’ve been featuring them here in the last few weeks.

Luckily, a few new Vietnamese websites have emerged over the years to focus specifically on technology news. These include:

  • V Camp – General technology news with a hint of Vietnamese tech.
  • TheBox.vn – General Vietnamese news with some technology.
  • Pandora.vn – Worldwide technology news, with a little about Vietnam.
  • Gik.vn – A Hanoi-based newsblog emphasizing technology startups and technology events.
  • WeStart.vn – A newsblog focusing on startup lessons for Vietnamese people.
  • TechDaily.vn – A technology news website focusing mainly on Vietnamese tech.
  • TinhTe.vn – A general technology blog that’s renowned worldwide for dissecting and leaking Apple products before they’re released.
  • Action.vn – A Ho Chi Minh city-based technology news websites focused mainly on Vietnam and also technology events in Vietnam.
  • Genk.vn – A general technology news site with a spattering of Vietnam.

Of these, only a few of them have a specific focus on Vietnamese technology news while most have 60 to 80 percent of their news focused on Silicon Valley. In my opinion, they need more focus on Vietnam.

How Vietnamese tech news sites will contribute

To me, there are two contributions that these young tech-oriented news sites could do for the technology community:

  • Give tech startups the spotlight they need – for free – to release their products to a wider audience, which (for the most part) still has not integrated technology into their lives or businesses.
  • Give technology enthusiasts and entrepreneurs the much needed self-reflection and accountability that a technology community needs to mature and develop.

Although they’re far from the level of clout and influence we see with TechCrunch, Hacker News, All Things Digital, CNet, and other Silicon Valley giants, press is always something that startups need. The question is, do Vietnamese entrepreneurs see them as a potentially credible voice and use them accordingly? And will these sites put a price on their microphone or give young Vietnamese entrepreneurs the voice they dearly need?

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Have Your Say
  • Joshy

    Haha, Vietnam press same as China? I’m quite surprised honestly. Good honest blog post but hope it doesn’t get you into trouble mate!

  • Sam

    That also gives techinasia a chance to shine. Keep it up

  • http://www.saigonist.com @tomosaigon

    To be fair to Ngan, Action.vn is doing exactly that: publishing PRs for Vietnamese startups/technology companies. Whether other tech (but not startup) news sites republish those press releases is up to them and what they think their readers want to see, just like not every US technology news site republishes TechCrunch stories.

    Where is the long tail of smaller bloggers writing about Viet tech?

  • Khanz

    Yes, this is sad indeed. Seems like press in Vietnam would like to do free marketing for other expat companies, not their own.

  • Johnny Tri Dung

    @ tomosaigon: Where is the contact person of Action.vn that Startups should contact to bro?

  • Rainmaker

    Actually, Minh is right about this point, there are still many tech (information industry) gurus and hidden companies need to be dig down. The market in Vietnam is smaller than US, but we (Vietnamese tech fan) are fed up with Silicon Valley liked-version :). Vietnamese tech news sites need to be more creative in style and direction !

  • http://www.saigonist.com @tomosaigon

    Johnny Tri Dung: Talk to Ngan aka Ngan Sau: startup@action.vn

  • Nemesysco

    Nice way of keeping your thoughts and knowledge here..that’s really appreciable and innovative for the new generation.

  • Shinichi kudo

    Give tech startups the spotlight they need – for free – to release their products to a wider audience, which (for the most part) still has not integrated technology into their lives or businesses. http://cucxu.com