digital transformation
Google is running plenty of applications.

Logistics companies in Vietnam pay about $50 million to Google annually for its mapping services. Meanwhile, Google's services are widely in use across a myriad of sectors, fetching similar payments. In short, the US searching tool has earned hundreds of millions of US dollars to the tech giant, adding to its already significant advertising revenue, according to Nguyen Trong Duong, deputy director of the Authority of Information Security at the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) at a recent technology event.

“Why don’t we master the technology to keep the sum in Vietnam?” asked Duong. “Developing the products by ourselves could create bigger value for every business in the country.”

Money is not the biggest problem, it is the requisite database. Overseas platforms are holding tremendous amounts of data on Vietnamese consumers who have a preference for their services.

“It is necessary to unfold the 'Make in Vietnam' campaign is necessary,” Duong said.

Efforts to replace Google 

On November 6, local technology firm IOT Link officially launched its digital map named Map4D as a new mapping solution for logistics companies and other businesses. The launching ceremony was part of the MoC's string of events promoting "Make in Vietnam" digital platforms. 

According to IOT Link, Map4D allows users to interact with 3D objects in a four-dimensional space. Also, the map can be integrated with VR, AI, IoT, machine learning, and other modern software.

Map4D could be applied in plenty of sectors such as e-commerce, tourism, construction, resources and environment, agriculture, and transportation, among others. More importantly, all of its data is located in Vietnam, so users need have no worries about security.

Over the years, many local tech companies such as VNG, Socbay, and Xalo have introduced search tools to replace Google. However, catering for a tiny niche market and holding limited resources, the platforms have not managed to overtake the giant. 

 

Recognising the breakdowns, the MIC has researched and drafted many incentives to lift up Vietnam-based digital platforms.

Lack of all-in-one apps 

Despite the massive number of products aiming to replace Google, the ecosystem is extremely fragmented – which is contrary to the global trend where one firm offering plenty of seamlessly integrated services holds the upper hand. 

In Vietnam, the majority of tech companies are startups that are short on funds and have been constantly calling for capital. Meanwhile, global tech titans, with strong financial capital, have kept growing by purchasing other tech startups. 

According to CB Insights, as of the end of 2017, Apple has purchased about 20 startups, followed by Google (14 deals), and Microsoft (10 deals), among others.

In a response to VIR, a technology expert asserted that this is the inevitable trend for technology companies, no exemption to Vietnam.

He said that Vietnam currently has only a few companies operating in multiple sectors such as Vingroup and VNG. Of this, only Vingroup is truly a giant, VNG is still a startup calling for capital. It will be some time before Vietnam sees another rhome-made tech titan. 

“Google took nearly 10 years before reaching success, so local businesses may experience similar progress.” VIR

Van Anh

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