Updates on non-bank e-Payment services

By , December 7, 2011 3:31 pm
  • With over 50% transaction value on MuaChung.vn going through e-payment, Soha Pay now ranks second in the market in transaction value.
  • Soha Pay rebrands to MuaChungPay for, pragmatically, sales purpose.
  • From the e-commerce websites I have visited, I see NganLuong has been more efficient in building its merchant network compared to BaoKim. This comes as a surprise since BaoKim insists on being free to merchant and charging customers for guaranteed payment instead.
  • Payoo is expected to launch its cash-based offline payment solution with the technological and financial support from NTT Data

Also, one can use NganLuong & BaoKim to perform interbank transfer free of charge. This is how they are doing it

nganluong baokim bank

What are not "non-bank"?

The active solutions not included in this update include OnePay, Smartlink, VNBC and Banknetvn.

Being backed by banks is a tremendous advantage, putting these giants beside independent players would only dwarf the later so I am temporarily refrain from doing so.

Book reviews: The Black Swan, Fooled by Randomness, Leadership is an Art

By , December 6, 2011 10:14 am
The Black Swan - Nassim N. Taleb

The Black Swan – Nassim N. Taleb

Amazon Kindle link

Tiki link

Rome wasn’t built in a day. But, gasp, it can be destroyed in a day. One disaster can eradicate a growing civilization. One pandemic disease can wipe out a developing continent. One adverse move in the market can destroy your accumulated wealth. Those are examples of Black Swans, rare events that possess tremendous effects on people’s lives.

This book looks deep into such narrow topic, relevant stories surrounding the topic and the thinking behind it. It opens the mind of the readers to issues our brains are not naturally wired to process.

While the author is a financial trader, this book is more about thinking and handling information than about trading techniques. In fact, the only portfolio recommendation is one with highly speculative instruments in combination with hyper-conservative bonds. Nevertheless, an awareness of Black Swans assists one in forming his or her trading strategies.

After reading the book I am more comfortable and, as I hope I am, tolerant to sudden disruptions (e.g. Black Swans) in this turbulent environment we are going through.

I give this book a full five-star.

Fooled by Randomness – Nassim N. Taleb

Amazon Kindle link

Tiki link

Conjure in your head the image of a glorious, victorious, succeeding person. We usually attribute one’s success to skills, traits, behaviors. We like stories about success.

Now. What if it comes from luck ergo luck plays more important role in events than we think?

What we are today are consequences of googols of particles in the universe and, is it impartial to attribute realization of events to a few explanations each?

What if we are mistaken about our understanding of relationship and consequences?

This book swamps me with that many questions about the world.

Written in dry humorous, autobiographical, and poetic while no less pragmatic style, the book delivers one of the most thought-provoking challenges to the mind.

This skepticism piece of work is not an easy read, especially for those determined in different school of thought. But as for me, I enjoy the experience of going through the mind-changing stories, scenarios and arguments from the book.

Leadership is an Art - Max DePree

Leadership is an Art – Max DePree

Amazon Kindle link

Tiki link

This is one of the most inspirational and original book on leadership.

The small book consists of chapters. Each chapter is short and precise, and tells the stories of different aspects of leadership during the time the author led his firm. The language employed is simple, straight-forward, honest and yet powerful.

This is one of the cases where we don’t see advices on quick fixes to problems, or irrelevant buzzwords and jargons. We see the mind and heart of the leader.

The chapter I happen to like most is “Pink ice in the urinals”. It is both authoritative and entertaining.

This is the book for anyone who seeks inspiration, and/or to be inspired.

How many Twitter clones in Vietnam have perished? What next?

By , December 3, 2011 6:41 am

Since 2008, the following

  1. qblog.vn
  2. hola.vn
  3. tiutit.com
  4. nhangui.com
  5. lamgi.com
  6. kucku.vn
  7. tictac.vn

A veteran from the Twitter clone craze in 2008 is mimo.vn and they did implement the SMS mass messaging feature that I had hinted. Another one is also left is saigonica.com

In 2011, these new local micro-blogging products were launched:

  1. ming.vn from VCCorp
  2. live.zing.vn from VNG
  3. pega.vn from VCCorp [slightly different in that it works on "add friend" mechanism instead of follow]
  4. vsao.vn

The wave of Weibo cloning will be observable in 2012.

Meanwhile, Tumblr is growing rapidly. Vietnamese users like right-brain products.

Check these out: new product launch November 2011

By , November 27, 2011 3:01 am


An e-commerce website with some unique offerings: lottery, groceries. Phone recharge codes and game cards are also offered.

Payment can be done via

online payment

I prefer paying via NganLuong.

Free shipping to central districts in HCMC for orders over VND300,000 (US$15).

I have recurring demands for Patritti and Berri juice.


The second dedicated online penny bid service in Vietnam after 1bid.vn

You win the item when your bid is lowest and unique.


qbata logo

After the mobile apps from NhomMua and MuaChung, QBata launches a mobile-only Groupon service.

You browse the deals and pay the "reservation fee" of the deal via SMS and pay the full amount when consuming the service/product when visiting the merchant. This product serves the need of impulse and immediate purchase of vouchers.

CungMuaSam Zing Me app


CungMuaSam.net integrates its service to Zing Me by launching an application on Zing Me platform.


dealcuatui logo

An groupbuy aggregator site with market statistics. The information is sourced from figures published from respective groupbuy sites.

Trends to watch in Vietnam in 2012

By , November 27, 2011 2:13 am
  1. Web games
  2. Mobile apps
  3. Consolidation of groupbuy market
  4. Flash sale
  5. Technology-backed offline payment e.g. payment devices
  6. Digital content payment
  7. Cross-border transaction


Nicky Fei has a two additions

Social apps

The shift to HTML 5 following the Adobe gave up Flash

How social networking in Vietnam is different from other countries in the region

By , November 20, 2011 4:12 pm

10 years ago the first thing Vietnamese learn about communicating through the Internet is chatting. There were some services targeting Vietnam market before Yahoo! Messenger came to dominate all communication channels.

Yahoo! Messenger’s domination in Vietnam opened up the way for Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! 360. In recent years, the email market share is largely chipped by Gmail. Yahoo! Messenger, while the top IM client, faces competition from Skype. Hotmail, Live Messenger and Gtalk are not widely popular in the country.

A growing trend is, however, that people start to learn about social networking and Facebook. Many sign up for the Internet to, first thing first, communicating via social networks. The same is happening in other South East Asian countries.

The social network battle in Vietnam in 2011 boils down to the dual-horse race between the two leaders Zing Me and Facebook. While Twitter and Plurk gain traction in other countries in the region, micro-blogging in Vietnam has never taken off. Even technology-enthusiasts use Facebook for live reporting (which Twitter is logically most suitable for) and viralling current events.

Why? My attempt to answer the question:

  1. Vietnamese language comes with diacritics thus requires a lot more than 140 characters to express a full sentence
  2. Vietnamese users are more familiar with “Add Friend” relationship than “Follow” mechanism
  3. Most importantly, Twitter doesn’t satisfy the gamification demand crazed by Vietnamese users. Vietnamese teenagers go on Zing Me mostly to play webgames. Many also go on Facebook sheerly for games rather than for connecting. Foursquare has received lots of attention probably thanks to the rewards and Mayor competition.

The next question pops into my mind: if gamification is so important, why hasn’t Plurk known in Vietnam while it is very popular in Taiwan and the Philippines? Again, my attempt

  1. Plurk hasn’t been covered by local media which is crucial in the growth of services. Facebook received local media coverage.
  2. Many influencers don’t know what Plurk is. As for me, I deactivated my Plurk account after collecting many medals.

Thanks @salsabeela and @kounila for sharing the information on social networking in your countries.


Tumblr is growing rapidly in Vietnam.

Ngoc Hieu has an explanation on the adaption Twitter: Vietnamese users like colors and emotions, neither of which Twitter offers.

What’s next after Groupon? Flash sale

By , November 17, 2011 10:53 am

Flash sale is the next trend that follows Groupon cloning in Vietnam.

Till now I have the information of 3 services.

  1. Brandsfavor.com, founded by the same owner as the online T-shirt service Fakoon.com
  2. Rumor of one by MJ Group
  3. A confirmation of one by Ngan Sau

What other services do you know of?

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: WebSieuThi.vn (the link is different from what it is shown, so just click on the link)

Pay via NganLuong.vn

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: MobiVi.vn

Pay via MobiVi’ account.

3. Click here: PayCode.com.vn

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

Pay via Payoo account.

4. Click here: PayGate.vtc.vn

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: PinCode.vn

Supports NganLuong and BaoKim.vn.

Conclusion: I’ll just use whoever supports NganLuong.

Groupon Clones in Vietnam

By , November 12, 2011 11:00 am

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