ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Mobile devices drive e-commerce
The mobile phone industry is crucial for promoting e-commerce development in Viet Nam, Tran Tuan Anh, deputy minister of Industry and Trade, said the day before yesterday.
E-commerce has played an important role in businesses' activities during recent years. The total number of mobile phone subscribers using 3G services by the end of last year had reached 27.5 million, due to a boom in technology, together with cheap terminal equipment and a good network infrastructure.
Reports from the ministry's E-commerce and Information Technology Department revealed that 34 per cent of Vietnamese use internet through mobile devices and the time spent online via these devices accounted for a third of their total online activity every day.
Experts believed that Viet Nam is entering a "golden period" for e-commerce development, based on the mobile phone sector.
Anh said at a conference on e-commerce development through mobile phones held in Ha Noi yesterday that the country's e-commerce potential in general, and for mobile devices in particular, was huge.
In some developed countries, such as Japan and South Korea, the turnover from e-commerce on mobile phones accounted for more than a half of the total. The rate in China was up to 91 per cent.
"The rapid development of e-commerce in Viet Nam, especially on mobile devices, has forced policy makers to revamp their thoughts and management models to create a sustainable foundation for its growth," he said.
Anh said solutions should be developed for the use of technologies and trade practices to help users access such new technologies.
Echoing Anh's view, Tran Huu Linh, director of the department, said the e-commerce potential of Viet Nam was huge as more than 30 per cent of orders came from mobile devices during the first online shopping day organised in the country. This was much higher than expected, proving that mobile usage trends in Viet Nam had become clear.
The survey also showed that the peak time for using mobile phones is from 6pm to 11pm, with 58 per cent of users active at the time.
However, enterprises attending the event said the e-commerce turnover of US$300 million from mobile devices last year was modest in comparison with the global total of around $100 billion.
In addition, the number of customers using e-payment was limited.
Dang Bao Linh, marketing director of Intel, said Viet Nam was in the early stages of accessing e-commerce, while developed countries were already using it widely.
There are barriers that keep Vietnamese from using e-commerce. For example, 86 per cent of customers wanted to have direct consultancy before buying, while 85 per cent wanted to touch the products. Around 84 per cent were doubtful about the products' quality when purchasing online.
Nguyen Phuong Hoang, deputy director of Sen Do Company, said businesses should design products, which can fit the small screen of mobile devices.
"Mobile e-commerce is relatively new in Viet Nam. Most local enterprises are faced with difficulties in attracting mobile marketing specialists and competition from foreign rivals," Hoang said.
He said several firms were considering investing in staff specialising in operating activities on the mobile platform.
Emily, the marketing director of Grab Taxi, said customer loyalty of the Vietnamese on automated location based smartphone bookings was low. This was the reason why businesses operating in this field were facing difficulties in gaining customers' loyalty.
"Businesses should adopt solutions, including promotions and providing special products for the market," she added. — VNS
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