Vietnam’s social media crowd swells with new entrant to take on Facebook, Google

There are 58 million Facebook users and 62 million Google accounts in Vietnam as of August, government data show. (AFP)
Updated 17 September 2019

Vietnam’s social media crowd swells with new entrant to take on Facebook, Google

  • Lotus received 700 billion dong ($30.14 million) in funding from tech corporation VCCorp
  • ‘Lotus was born not to compete with Facebook or any other social networks’

HANOI: A new social network has entered the already crowded field in Vietnam as the communist party squeezes US tech giants Facebook and Google with a new cybersecurity law.
Lotus, a social network that allows users to create content and share posts to a home page, had received 700 billion dong ($30.14 million) in funding from tech corporation VCCorp. and hoped to raise another 500 billion dong, company General Director Nguyen The Tan said at the launch ceremony.
“Lotus was born not to compete with Facebook or any other social networks,” Tan said late on Monday. “We will focus on content and content creation.”
Information Minister Nguyen Manh Hung, who was at the launch, has urged Vietnamese companies to create viable domestic alternatives to foreign social media platforms which are more difficult for the government to control.
Last month, a Facebook-style app, Gapo, also made its debut. Older domestic social platforms such as VietnamTa and Hahalolo have struggled to build large user bases.
Hung said he hoped that eventually the number of Vietnamese people using domestic social networks would be as high as the number using foreign platforms.
There were 58 million Facebook users and 62 million Google accounts in Vietnam as of August, government data showed. There are no comparable figures for domestic networks.
Despite economic liberalization and increasing openness to social change since the 1990s, the ruling Communist Party retains tight media censorship and does not tolerate dissent.
Several activists and dissidents have been arrested or jailed for posting online content considered to be “anti-state.”
Vietnam has tightened Internet rules over the past few years, culminating in a cybersecurity law which came into effect in January requiring foreign companies like Facebook to set up local offices and store data in the country.


Bienvenue! Arab and French-speaking world salutes the launch of Arab News en Français

Updated 16 July 2020

Bienvenue! Arab and French-speaking world salutes the launch of Arab News en Français

  • New digital edition creates a unique window of communication, Saudi Minister Adel Al-Jubeir says

LONDON: The publication of a French-language digital edition of Arab News was warmly welcomed on Wednesday across the Arab and French-speaking world.
François Gouyette, the French ambassador to Saudi Arabia, launched Arab News en Français on Tuesday — France’s National Day — at a videoconference event attended by Saudi, Arab and French officials, diplomats and journalists, and special guests.
The Arab News French-language edition created “a window of communication between an independent Arab media outlet and French speakers everywhere,” said Adel Al-Jubeir, the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs.

 

“Human beings share common human values ... and language is an important communication tool,” the minister said.
Video footage of a colorful light show at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, marking the launch and congratulating France on its national day, was shared by social media users and commentators around the world.
Ludovic Pouille, the French ambassador to the UAE, said the launch was great news for the French-speaking world.
“I hope that Arab News will become the new Francophone bridge between France and the UAE, between the Gulf and Europe and between Europe and Africa, this big francophone continent with which we have so much to share,” he said.
The publication of Arab News en Français was “a great day for us, for information and for culture, and for relations between France and the Arab world,” said France’s former Culture Minister Jack Lang.
“A French edition can help to publicize the riches and the projects of Saudi Arabia today, and highlight the multiple economic, cultural, educational and scientific projects that this country is giving birth to.”
Lebanese politician and media chief executive Nayla Tuéni said: “The launch of a digital news platform in French by Saudi media is a first. Arab News throws out challenges today against a backdrop of international turmoil and uncertainty.”