Open Consultant’s offline November 2011 on Groupon sustainability

By , November 15, 2011 5:28 pm

I gave a presentation at Open Consultant’s offline November 2011 on Groupon’s model and sustainability.

groupon vietnam sustainability

The following discussions are in Vietnamese. About Groupon, I’ll update more information in my English master slide.

You can listen to the presentation here:

Part 1/3

Part 2/3

Part 3/3

There is also the Event Live Feed


How to charge your prepaid mobile account online

By , November 14, 2011 3:04 am

Assume you already created and activated your accounts with the following 4 services, and your Internet Banking ready with your bank account.

1. Click here: (the link is different from what it is shown, so just click on the link)

Pay via

The two advantages with paying with NganLuong is: (1) condition-free instantaneous (though technically manual) (2) currently free of charge. Technically, certain manual internal processes in NganLuong are required to balance different accounts, but why should users care anyway?!

On a side note, WebSieuThi offers online lottery which is unique to Vietnam e-commerce. When the service launches I’ll update another review.

2. Click here:

Pay via MobiVi’ account.

3. Click here:

This is a service by Viet Union, the company owning Payoo.

Pay via Payoo account.

4. Click here:

I have an issue with MobiVi’, Payoo and VTC paygate. My current main bank account is with TienPhongBank. However, neither of them connects to TienPhongBank, nor do they maintain a bank account with the bank.

Here are the steps I need to perform.

Interbank transfer via Internet Banking from my TienPhongBank account to a bank account of MobiVi / Payoo which costs me transaction fee (fixed VND8,800 for TienPhongBank). This goes through the same old interbank transfer channel. The transfer is processed by the staff or MobiVi’ system (hopefully) to my respective wallet.

When I transfer money 4:30pm Friday, I need to wait till Monday for money to come in my wallet.

The problem is solved with Payoo if you have a bank account with the banks in the first list of this link. The problem is also solved with MobiVi’ if you have a bank account with the 5 banks (VIB, Techcombank, Dong A Bank, Lien Viet Bank, Nam A Bank) that MobiVi’ connects core-to-core to. In these two cases, transfer is instantaneous. I am currently not having information on VTC paygate if the transfer to these banks is instantaneous, but my wild guess is not yet.

5. Click here: VnExpress eBank

Direct topup not going through any e-wallet, on the condition that you need to have Internet Banking or SMS Banking from VCB, TCB, VIB, EIB, MB, Vietinbank, HDbank, ACB, Sacombank

6. Click here:

Supports NganLuong and

Conclusion: I’ll just use whoever supports NganLuong.

Groupon Clones in Vietnam

By , November 12, 2011 11:00 am

Vietnam rice exporter, October 2011

By , November 5, 2011 9:14 am

vietnam rice price thailand india indonesia export

  • Having secured contracts with Indonesia, Vietnam rice export price now depends on India’s exports
  • Domestic price escalation has exceeded international price escalation. Tough for rice exporters
  • Developing farming areas like Docimexco (HOSE:FDG) and Vinh Long Food (HOSE:VLF) are doing seems like the right move

Assassin in pustular Skin by teens & Phong Ronin and the nation-wide debate of evolution of language

By , October 30, 2011 4:00 pm

“Sát thủ đầu mưng mủ”, a 15+ comic book comprising of 150 illustrated young people’s idioms are invoking much debate among Vietnamese communities on language.

The idioms, mostly attributed to anonymous authors, have been viralled through online communities and forums, notably vOz (, for some time. Thanh Phong (Phong Ronin Nguyen), an acclaimed cartoonist was approached by Nha Nam publishing house to illustrate most popular idioms. His blog can be found here.

These idioms are meant to be entertaining, and were composed solely as such. Many are satiristic, others simply rhyme without intentional semantic arrangement.

Much controversy arose from the satire part. The debate is heated when Fineart Publishing House chooses to withdraw copies in circulation at retailers.

Nonetheless, attention to the book has hit mainstream media, where TV shows and linguists participate in the debate. Supporters empathize with the evolution of language which reflects changes in culture and acceptance of the less-mainstream. Critics cite orthodoxy of language, traditional values and concern of the impact of satirism on younger readers.

The best scenario for the book, and more subtle, the hope for acceptance of youngster culture in the society, would probably be continued publication with modifications from inputs of empathic communication and linguistic experts.

Good luck, Phong and his supporters.

The title “Assassin in pustular Skin” is my own attempt at translating the original title to English, aiming at retaining the meaningless-but-harmlessly-fun rhyme of the phrase. Word-by-word breakdown: sát – to kill/assassinate, thủ – a person who does something, đầu – head, mưng – abscess, mủ – pustule.

e-Payment in Vietnam: who are with whom

By , October 30, 2011 3:23 pm

Disclaimer: all information are sourced from public information.

Category Product Company Strategic Partner Financial Partner
e-Wallet NganLuong PeaceSoft PayPal



MobiVi’ Viet Phu Experian  
BaoKim Vietnam Price (VatGia)  



Payoo VietUnion NTT Data Saigon Invest
Soha Pay (MuaChung Pay) VCCorp   IDGVV
vCash VinaPay



WMV WebMoney Vietnam WebMoney Russia Viet A Bank
Mobile Payment MoMo VinaPhone    
Bank switchboard Smartlink Smartlink A syndicate of banks, led by Vietcombank
VNBC VNBC A syndicate of banks, led by Dong A Bank
Banknetvn Banknetvn State Bank of Vietnam
Payment gateway OnePay   Mastercard Vietcombank
Kiosk banking Paylink     Kosto Group
FPT Pay   FPT Online  

Yahoo! Blog 2011: too late an attempt for Vietnam

By , October 22, 2011 12:22 pm

From 2006 through mid 2009, the hottest web property in Vietnam was the blogging platform Yahoo! 360. The reason was Vietnamese were largely using Yahoo! Messenger as a default online communication tool, and 360 was directly integrated to Messenger.

Out of 4 million global users, 2.5 million were from Vietnam, and the latter were highly active.

Starting from 2008, the service has gone extremely unstable with many bugs left open. Despite being flawed and faulty, Vietnamese expressed the will that the product should be spun off and sold to a Vietnamese operator. Nevertheless, Yahoo! decided to close down the service, leaving Vietnamese netizens disarray, disappointed, discontent.

The localized Yahoo! 360plus from Hong Kong was a big flop.

Where have they gone?

  • The majority find social networks sticky. They settled down on Zing Me (now 8 million users) and Facebook (now 2 million). Apparently the numbers include the next generation of users
  • Geeks use self-hosted WordPress
  • Non-geeks who take writing seriously setup WordPress and Blogger accounts
  • Around 2 million on YuMe, a 360 clone

Yahoo! MeMe, a microblogging tool received almost no attention.

yahoo! blog logo

Yahoo! just launched its new blogging platform, Yahoo! Blog. I have the impression it was created with Korea market in mind. The product is neatly done with improved and clean design.

All it receives from Vietnamese netizens are smirks and rejection. Too late for Yahoo!. The users were left with despair and they now turn their back on the company’s attempts. Hope it’ll growth in Korea and Hong Kong.

Again, even if Yahoo! didn’t close down the faulty 360, could it have successfully monetized the community in the first place? My guess is no. Yahoo! never tried doing so.

Microblogging and social bookmarking 2011

By , October 8, 2011 3:43 pm
  • At its peak, Twitter had no more than 3000 users in Vietnam, the majority among whom are geeks. This is a rough estimation from many avid users. The number has dropped drastically since 2008.
  • Most Twitter clones in Vietnam failed. This year, I only see left. It eventually implemented SMS updates that I had hinted back in 2009.
  • 2 years after I deplurked, Plurk has been slowly gaining traction in Philippines and Taiwan. While information on the reasons Weibo dominates China is easy to find, analysis on Plurk is limited I still can’t answer why. A Taiwanese friend of mine, upon receiving my question, replied briefly “Personally I think the mechanism of Plurk is very close to Taiwanese ideology of mumbling”.
  • When Twitter clones don’t work, a new wave of products were hatched: VNG launched Zing Live, a proclaimed Weibo clone by its CEO. VCCorp launched and Pega, surprisingly, works on “add friend” rather than “follow” mechanism.
  • I would expect more Weibo clones to come.
  • Digg, reddit, Mixx, slashdot, furk are all dropping
  • Meanwhile, StumbleUpon is having a spike in traffic. What has it done right?

stumbleupon traffic

Online Monitoring in Vietnam

By , October 5, 2011 6:27 am

Best Vietnam Finance & Financial Economics blogs

By , September 26, 2011 10:30 am


This blog covers global and Vietnam news with a financial economics view, with in-depth analysis.

The author, Mr. Giang Le PhD, is working for an investment fund in Brisbane, Australia.


This blog covers economic news and is updated with high frequency.

3. and

Tuan writes and co-writes for local newspapers. His WordPress is an aggregate of his articles. His Blogspot is more like a reading archive with occasional comments. Commenting on his blog would trigger in-depth responses.

Tuan is doing his PhD in University of Manchester.


A more trader-oriented blog that mostly covers the author’s analysis on US market, with occasional view on Vietnam environment.

Tri bases in Oregon and his team in HCMC.


A collaborative blog by PG Bank’s Research Group.

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