Back in 1996, I remember going to one of the few Internet cafes in Hanoi, which featured exorbitant fees and very sluggish service. In 2000, there were an estimated 200,000 Internet users in Vietnam. As of December 2010, 26,784,035 people were online, according to the Vietnam Internet Network Information Center. That’s 30% of the population (!).
The estimated “reach” of Facebook (FB) in Vietnam is just over 1.8 million users, which is extraordinary given the recent unofficial block of FB by some ISPs.
According to a 2010 report from Cimigo Vietnam, an independent team of marketing and brand research specialists, “Vietnam has experienced rapid growth in internet penetration, outweighing its neighbors like Thailand or Philippines. Over the last years, Vietnam has been one of the countries with highest internet growth rates in the world. Since 2000, the number of internet users in Vietnam has multiplied by about 100.” In addition, Hanoi has the highest rate of penetration, where more than 60% of the population has accessed the Internet already. The estimate for HCMC is 50% and 40% for other cities, including Haiphong, Danang, Nha Trang and Can Tho.
The report goes on to say that “nearly 90% of internet users access the internet more than once a week and about 70% use it daily. Not only has the internet penetration increased, but users are also spending more and more of their time online. Currently, an average internet is online for more than two hours every day.” In spite of the proliferation of Internet cafes, home access is becoming the norm (75%).
The Cimigo report also notes that Internet users are “younger, come from higher social classes and they are slightly more likely to be male. Among the age group 15-24, virtually everybody has been online already.” (65% of all Vietnamese are under the age of 35 with a median age of 27.4 years.)
So what are Vietnamese doing online (in no particular order)?
- Searching for information and knowledge
- Reading news
- Checking e-mail
- Buying & selling
- Developing professional skills
- Viewing/uploading videos
- Playing games
- Listening to music
- Seeking entertainment
- Sharing files
- Creating and maintaining blogs
- Discussing issues
Below is an up-to-date list of the top 20 sites in Vietnam, according to Alexa.com. The sites, which reflect the varied interest of the users, are ordered by their 1 month Alexa traffic rank. The 1 month rank is calculated using a combination of average daily visitors and pageviews over the past month. The site with the highest combination of visitors and pageviews is ranked #1.
1: Google Vietnam
8: Bao Khuyen hoc & Dan tri Online
17: LauXanh Entertainment Network (A sex site registered in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.)
18: VN-Zoom (vn-zoom.com)
19: 5 giây
Cimigo’s Netcitizens Reports can be downloaded in English and Vietnamese.