Chinese smartphones locked in Vietnam
Minh Khoi in Hanoi’s Cau Giay District said he had bought a Realme GT Neo 5 via an unofficial channel (smartphones carried to Vietnam by individuals, not by official distributors), but most of its functions had been disabled.
He said the store that sold the phone to him was also surprised by the system lock and had to stop selling the model.
The GT Neo 5 is currently only officially available in China, but its low price has attracted users in Vietnam.
Two other Chinese phone models, the Realme 10 Pro + and OnePlus 11, have also been displaying a network lock when activated in Vietnam recently. However, with OnePlus 11, users have been able to fix the problem by resetting the phone.
Khoi contacted Realme customer service in China, but they asked for a genuine purchase receipt. Therefore, he had to pay a service to unlock the phone for VND500,000 ($21).
“The device is currently usable, but I’m still worried about whether it will get locked again in the near future,” he said.
Realme Vietnam has not yet responded to the incident.
According to technology expert Tuan Ngoc, Chinese phone makers such as Oppo, Realme and OnePlus can use the network lock feature to protect their products in a specific country.
The price of a smartphone carried home from abroad by travelers can be 20-30% lower than the price offered by authorized resellers, he noted.
Viet Nam’s fintech reaches new heights
The country’s fintech market is forecast to reach a staggering US$18 billion mark by 2024, according to an article on asiaone.com of Singapore.
Housing close to 200 fintech organizations, now 66 percent of adults have payment accounts as listed by the Ministry of Planning and Investment. The perfect medley of 91.3 million smartphone subscribers and an internet penetration rate of 73.2 percent have made the situation more conducive for the industry’s growth.
The success of these promising fintech organizations has been linked with their close ties with the banking sector that has created invaluable synergies.
The Viet Nam Banks Association (VNBA) has always been upfront in bringing favorable changes to the country’s financial services industry, be it for lowering SMS charges for banking services or urging Visa and Mastercard to reduce several types of fees on Vietnamese banks during COVID-19.
Its most recent move got a lot of attention when it stepped forward as the official supporting partner for World Financial Innovation Series (WFIS) that’s shaping to be the country’s premier fintech event.
The National Digital Transformation Program by 2025, with an orientation towards 2030, which was approved in September 2021, sets the goal that 50 percent of banking operations by customers to be fully online.
In addition, half of the population have a digital checking account while 70 percent of customer transactions made through digital channels.
Besides, half of decisions on lending, small and consumer loans of individual customers made digitally and are automated whilst 70 percent of work and service records at credit institutions to be processed and stored digitally.
Digital banks attract significant numbers of customers
After only six months of launching MyVIB 2.0 digital banking application – which uses multi-cloud computing technology to process 60-70 per cent of the input data to help banks realise ideas, bring products and services to the market faster and respond sooner to customer requests, VIB has doubled the number of customers compared to the previous year and reach the target of 4 million customers nearly a year earlier than expected.
Not only VIB, the wave of “cloudisation” of digital banking applications to expand modes and storage capacity, and increase integrated processing and user data security capacity has been invested in and implemented by many commercial banks.
Currently, VietABank, PVcomBank, VietinBank, Techcombank, SeABank, ABBank and OCB have all integrated cloud computing technologies to launch new digital banking platforms serving the sales of retail products and services, attracting millions of users.
The business results by the end of 2022 of banks showed a sharp increase in the number of new customers attracted by banks thanks to their digital applications. For example, MB last year added 7 million customers in the wake of developing Biz MBBank and Charity app while Techcombank with E-Banking apps (using AWS cloud computing technology) attracted an additional 1.2 million users in 2022. ACB and TPBank also said they recorded an annual growth of 30 per cent in the number of customers using digital applications in the 2019-22 period.
Along with the increase in the number of customers, the investment in new technologies and digitalisation of business activities have helped many banks attain significant achievements. For VIB and ACB, the proportion of revenue from retail activities was around 90 per cent in 2022. Retail activities at other banks such as MB, Techcombank and Sacombank currently account for more than 50 per cent of their business portfolio.
Recent research by Gimigo Vietnam showed 2023 will continue to witness fierce competition between banks in developing retail digital banking applications to gain market share.
According to Gimigo, the group of large State-owned banks such as Vietcombank, BIDV, Agribank, VietinBank and MB was leading in the retail segment thanks to being trusted by users and having a widespread network by the end of 2022. However, the group of private banks such as Techcombank, Sacombank, ACB, VPBank and TPBank have significantly improved their awareness level and attracted a large number of users in recent months.
Gimigo’s survey in Ha Noi, HCM City and some other big cities showed the digital applications of Techcombank, ACB and Sacombank are currently competing strongly with large-sized State-owned banks. Other private banks such as TPBank and VPBank also have high net promoter scores (NPS). Thus, the group of banks has many opportunities to expand the customer base thanks to the existing group of loyal customers and the new customers.
According to experts, developing the networks of branches, transaction offices, POS and ATMs is no longer the banks’ top priority. Instead, they focus on digitisation of products and services. To maintain the number of customers, banks need to pay more attention to transaction costs, quality of products and services, staff attitude, customer service, and continuous improvement of online procedures.
Regarding the development trend of digital application generations this year, Gimigo said besides investment in cloud computing technologies and applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning to develop applications to support retail sales of products and services, banks will tend to pour in an integrated open banking ecosystem.
Some banks, which have so far invested in purely digital banking models such as Cake, Timo, Tnex, Octo and Ubank, have attracted users. For example, VPBank’s Cake app currently has 1 million users.
Experts forecast banks will invest more in developing completely new digital banking brands in the near future. In which, micro products and services will be integrated into personal financial management tools to attract customers to use banks’ retail products and services.
Source: Việt Nam News
Over 57,000 ransomware attacks hit Vietnam in 2022
Vietnam suffered 57,389 ransomware attacks in 2022, the third-highest in Southeast Asia following Indonesia and Thailand.
The region recorded a total of 340,904 ransomware attacks targeting businesses last year, General Manager of Kaspersky for Southeast Asia Yeo Siang Tiong told a press briefing in Ho Chi Minh City on March 14.
Ransomware is a type of malware that locks a computer and mobile device or encrypts electronic files. To obtain the “decryption” key or retrieve data, a ransom is sought by the cybercriminals behind the attack.
Digital kidnappers are targeting enterprises in Southeast Asia, Mr. Yeo said, and the trend is forecast to continue increasing this year and see more complicated attacks.
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