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.


Saudi ministry signs media cooperation agreement with Russian news agency

Updated 15 October 2019

Saudi ministry signs media cooperation agreement with Russian news agency

  • It aims to implement projects designed to develop media coverage

RIYADH: Saudi Minister of Media Turki Al-Shabanah on Monday signed a media cooperation agreement with Dmitry Kiselev, the head of Russian news agency Sputnik.

The accord, inked at the King Fahd Cultural Center in Riyadh, aims to implement projects designed to develop media coverage and objective and professional handling of all events in the political, economic, social, cultural, humanitarian and sport fields, to promote convergence between the Kingdom and Russia.

It also included the establishment of official headquarters for Sputnik in the Kingdom.

The agreement was timed to coincide with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official visit to Saudi Arabia.