How the Vietnamese Use the Internet, Including Social Media

Since most young Vietnamese, including those planning to study overseas, are online, one question to ask yourself is: how big is your digital footprint in Viet Nam?

logo-newerHere is my latest PIE News blog post.  It’s about an important topic that I discussed during my E20 webinar last week and in my recent StudyUSA Higher Education Fairs country briefing and discussion. 

Peace, MAA

Consumer Barometer with Google in Viet Nam

This is a useful resource that reveals the following information, most of it fairly up-to-date, about Vietnamese online habits. The relevant data graphics are displayed after four (4) key questions.

Keep in mind that Viet Nam currently ranks 7th in the world for Facebook users with about 64 million accounts, a 40% increase (!) this year alone. This in a population of about 96 million. (That’s 3% of the global total.) It’s clear that those are not unique accounts and that many people have more than one, which also applies to mobile phones. Ho Chi Minh City ranks among the top 10 cities globally for having the most Facebookers with 14 million users.

How do Vietnamese connect to the Internet?


Do they use the Internet for personal purposes?

internet use for personal purposes

How often do Vietnamese go online (for personal Internet usage)?

frequency of internet usage

What online activities do they do on their smartphones at least weekly?

weekly smartphone online activities

How digitally savvy are Vietnamese netizens?

digitally savvy





Vietnam: Fastest Growing Facebook Market in the World


The number of Facebook (FB) users has doubled over the past year to over 22 million, which amounts to 61% of all netizens in Vietnam.  As one post pointed out, “Global brands are definitely eyeing the Vietnamese Facebook market.”  The implications for student recruitment are also obvious.  If you want to reach out to young people, you need to need to do it online and through social media platforms such as FB, which is now the second most popular website in Vietnam.  It is an essential means of communication not only through Vietnamese language posts, updates and the like but also synchronous communication via chatting.

Age ranges for FB users in Vietnam are as follows, rounded up or down:

  • 13-15:  8%
  • 16-18:  18%
  • 19-24:  39%
  • 25-30:  21%
  • 31-40:  10%
  • Over 40 (old! :-)):    4%

This is what Vietnam’s age distribution looked like in 2013 broken down by gender:

VM_popgraph 2013
Source: CIA World Factbook

With a median age of 28.7 years the youth of the population is exemplified by the fact that 43% of all Vietnamese are between 0-24.  65% of all FB users fall in the 13-24 age range and 86% into the 13-30 range.  See you on Facebook!


P.S.:  As an aside, Vietnam’s gender imbalance problem (crisis?) jumps off of the above population pyramid.  There are more than 1.1 million boys than girls in the 0-14 age group (!).  It is estimated that with a gender ratio at birth of 112.3 boys per 100 girls, between 2.3 and 4.3 million Vietnamese men will be unable to find a partner in 2050.

My Top 15 Personal Favorites

top15-300x212Last year, I wrote a total of 84 posts, an average of 7 per month.  Below are some of my favorite posts starting with one from February and ending with one from last month.  Collectively, they cover a lot of ground – from updates and personal stories to commentaries and analyses.    

If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It! – About nouveau riche behavior in the new Vietnam. 

International Student Mobility Research Report – According to a World Education Services (WES) report from last spring, While China and India are still too big to ignore, there are other emerging countries worth paying attention to, including Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Mexico, and Brazil. Recruitment to these countries should also be cultivated not only for campus diversity purposes, but also as a de-risking strategy.

Vietnamese Online: 35% & Rising! – An update about the high level of Internet penetration in Vietnam. 

Vietnamese Students’ Love Affair with Business/Management –  There is no sending country that comes close to Vietnam in the percentage of it students who choose business/management as a major. 

Top Ten Sending Countries & GDP: Vietnam’s Story – Vietnam ranks 8th among countries sending students to the US but 43rd in GDP.  This post delves into some of the implications of this extraordinary fact. 

To Emigrate or Not to Emigrate, That is The Question (With Apologies to Mr. Shakespeare) – While everyone who applies for an F-1 (student) visa has to pay lip service to the third criterion about returning home upon completion of their studies in the US, everyone knows how easy it is to emigrate, if so desired.  This is one Vietnamese student’s story. 

Secrets of the Capitalist Class (in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam) – A quick-and-dirty analysis of capitalism in cross-cultural comparison. 

“50 percent of Vietnamese teachers regret their career decision”  A sad commentary on the state of teaching in the Vietnam of 2012. 

Lane Community College Joins Capstone’s HCMC International Academic Center – Lane Community College (Eugene, Oregon) is the second US institution of higher education to become a member of Capstone Vietnam’s International Academic Center and the first in HCMC.  (I’m managing director of Capstone VN.) 

Welcome to My Neighborhood (aka Letting in the Fresh Air and the Flies) – An overview and analysis of some of the changes in my neighborhood that reflect broader changes in Vietnamese society. 

Bigger Isn’t Always Better: The Jerry Maguire Approach to US Higher Ed Fairs – The advantages and joys of small US higher education fairs. 

“Corruption in Education Creates Serious Consequences for the Poor” – An interview I did with a well-known Vietnamese education website.  Corruption in education was just one of a number of topics discussed. 

Vietnam Among Top Emerging Markets for International Student Recruitment – WES identified four emerging international student recruitment markets, including Vietnam.  The report, entitled Beyond More of the Same: The Top Four Emerging Markets for International Student Recruitment, “aims to address the information needs of higher education institutions by systematically identifying key emerging markets and offering near-term strategies to successfully nurture them.”

Vietnam Retains 8th Place Ranking Among Sending Countries – A Vietnam-related overview of the annual Open Doors report, issued by the Institute of International Education. 

Internet Penetration, Social Media & Student Recruitment – Yet another update on Internet penetration, including social media (e.g., Facebook!) and some implications for student recruitment.