Vietnamese internet company Vietnam Communications Corporation (VC Corp) is going to launch the pilot version of its social networking platform called Lotus in September 2019. The platform aims to support content creators and allow users to interact with content creators through the usage of tokens. The tokens will be used to assess the level of credibility of users and to measure the reactions of posts, presumably similar to the ‘like’ function in other social media sites.
VC Corp is involved in online content, e-commerce, social media, ad networks and mobile value added services. The development of Lotus involved 200 in-house technical engineers with expertise in fields such as mobile applications, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data. The company has invested around VND 700 billion (USD 30 million) in the development of the platform and it is looking to mobilize an additional VND 500 billion (USD 22 million) for the social network’s long-term development.
The birth of Lotus social network is in response to the Ministry of Information and Communications’ call to build Vietnam’s own digital ecosystem and for local technology firms to challenge Google and Facebook. In January 2019, a new cybersecurity law came into effect in Vietnam which requires Internet companies to remove content the government regards as “toxic” and hand over user data if asked by the government. The government has accused Facebook of violating the new cybersecurity law in how it managed online content, advertising and taxes as well as failing to take down “slanderous content”.
Another indigenously developed social network called Gapo which allows users to build profiles and share posts was launched recently in July. The platform has been developed by local tech company G-Group, which launched the successful P2P lending platform Tima. Gapo claimed to successfully engaged 1 million users and aims to reach 20 million users by 2021.
(Sources: Vietnam News; Deal Street Asia)