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January 18, 2022, 12:25 am

Will Zalo rescue the Vietnamese OTT market?

(11:13:51 AM 01/12/2014)
( - The current OTT app market is headed by Zalo with Viber and Line at the bottom.

Will Zalo rescue the Vietnamese OTT market?


Zalo, a 100 percent Vietnamese OTT app, has 20 million users, a surprising figure to many people.

In the eyes of Vietnamese, locally made products are often seen as having an inferior quality to foreign products. However, the “principle” is not true in the case of Zalo.

The OTT market had a great war in 2012-2013, with some players dislodged from the market. These included Wala, a young player which could not survive the stiff competition.

Kakaotalk, an app from South Korea, had to leave Vietnam after spending big money on the great battle.

Vietnamese products have many times been defeated by foreign ones. Zing Me, a social network, considered the “brother” of Zalo, once grew very rapidly but later had to compete with Yahoo!360 and Facebook.

VNG might have learned a  lesson from Zing Me, analysts say, as it has been sacrificing many things, including an e-commerce project, for Zalo.

The great efforts by VNG have been well awarded. Zalo has succeeded, and has seen the hatred of Kakao Talk after it left the Vietnamese market and the bitterness of Line which failed to regain users despite the big money it spent.

And now the OTT market has two major players – Zalo and Viber, equal in strength.

However, analysts noted that the number of Viber users is at a standstill, while Zalo’s number has been increasing.

They pointed out that Zalo is the only Vietnamese OTT app capable of competing with foreign OTT apps in the future.

With 20 million users, Zalo has a number of clients equal to that of all the foreign OTT apps in Vietnam, including Viber, Line and Bee Talk.

In August 2012, when VNG launched the first Zalo version, WeChat was very familiar to Vietnamese. Meanwhile, Line and Kakaotalk, which had just arrived in Vietnam, spent millions of dollars to attract users. Viber believed that it did not have to do anything, and could still have millions of Vietnamese users.

What would have happened if Zalo had not turned up in the market? Analysts said the domestic OTT market would have been controlled by three foreign players – Viber, Line and Kakao Talk. And the market, after the failure of Wala and the quietness of Btalk, would be controlled by foreign OTT apps.

However, Zalo did not allow this. After defeating Line and Kakaotalk, it has declared war with Viber.

Lao Dong

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