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Two Vietnamese mans creates app listed among the world’s top 20



Meeting on Facebook, the two young men developed an app, listed among the world’s top 20, in since 2015 without any call for capital.

Forbes Vietnam in February released its 30 Under 30 list of young people who have positive influences in their spheres of operation in Vietnam.

Two Vietnamese mans creates app listed among the world’s top 20

Nguyen Tuan Cuong

Nguyen Tuan Cuong, co-founder of Amanotes, is one of them.

Unlike the other names on Forbes’ list, Cuong and his company remain unfamiliar to many Vietnamese.

Amanotes, one of the major players in the mobile game music community, was established in 2015 by Cuong and Vu Tuan Binh, CEO and co-founder.

App Annie last year listed Amanotes as one of the top 20 mobile apps on all platforms, together with Facebook and Bytedance. SensorTower also listed Amanotes in the world’s top 20 applications with the highest number of downloads in 2019.

App Annie last year listed Amanotes as one of the top 20 mobile apps on all platforms, together with Facebook and Bytedance. SensorTower also listed Amanotes in the world’s top 20 applications with the highest number of downloads in 2019.

The company’s flagship is Magic Tiles 3 which simulates musical instruments such as piano, guitar and drums, allowing users to play famous songs. It has had 275 million downloads since its launch in 2016.

In 2012, the two co-founders met each other for the first time thanks to a post on Launch, a group of the Vietnamese startup community on Facebook.

Cuong then just graduated from the Foreign Trade University which was seeking a job. Binh was a co-founder of a music game startup called MusicKing, but it failed and had to shut down in 2009.

Binh, who plays piano, Vietnamese bamboo flute and guitar, wanted to develop a new project which utilizes both music and technology.

Cuong had an idea about a startup for interactive music games.

Amanotes in its first days took shape from the funding of the two co-founders. The only external funding source was from the revenue they got designing websites for other companies.

“We wany users who don’t have music background to be able to play. So we focused on making music as vividly as possible,” Cuong said about Magic Tiles 3.

The co-founders also provided best experience to players through simple operations.

Cuong thinks that the success of Amanotes stems from allowing users to experience the whole song.

Amanotes has not revealed the financial situation of the company, but Cuong said the revenue is created from ads and the sale of items in the game. Amanotes also has profit sharing agreements with developers who develop games on Amanotes’ platform.

Mai Lan 



Vietnam’s mobile money trial program to be extended till 2024

Mobile phone accounts can now be used to pay for low-value goods and services until the end of next year.



Authorities told the State Bank of Vietnam to review and report to higher ups before May 2024 the release of legal papers related to Mobile Money services. 

They were to work with the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Justice, and other relevant agencies.

To make the government work better, Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai asked these ministries and other related groups to take steps to make sure that the pilot use of the service follows the rules that are already in place.

The head of the Vietnamese government had earlier said that the Mobile Money service could be tested across the whole country for two years, starting on March 9, 2021.

Customers of this service can use their cell phone accounts to do a variety of things, like pay for low-value goods and services, send money, top up their phones, withdraw money, and more, all without a bank account, a smartphone, or an Internet link.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Information and Communications, more than 3.9 million people used Mobile Money in the first five months of the year. This is three times as many as used the service during the same time last year.


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Chinese low-cost e-commerce battle lands in Vietnam

Global online shopping activity is being disrupted by the massive “discharge” of items from Chinese factories onto e-commerce platforms.



The “online Silk Road” in China has the same high-quality goods that these Southeast Asian countries can buy, but the prices are much lower and the shipping costs are surprisingly low.


Within a week, the four phone cases that Kieu Nam (Phu Nhuan district, Ho Chi Minh City) had ordered on Shopee as cross-border goods finally arrived. Including the shipping fee, the total value of the order is VND110,000, calculating that each case costs 25,000 VND, nearly half less than if purchased at the store.
Quynh Nhu (District 2, Ho Chi Minh City) said that in the past 2 years, cross-border stores have begun to be popular on Shopee and Lazada, but most are still low-value products.

For higher-value products, such as fashion, Quynh Nhu said she would order directly through Taobao in China. The recipient of the order will be a Vietnamese living near the border gates.

Even though they charge a fee for picking up the goods, taking them across China to the border gate, and then taking them to where the order is placed, as in the case of Quynh Nhu in Ho Chi Minh City, the total cost is still less than the price of the product.

Same fabric quality, about 30% design in Vietnam. One bad thing about cross-border goods is that they take 7–10 days to deliver. “That’s not a big obstacle. I will schedule a reservation,” Ms. Quynh Nhu said.
In the future, Chinese sellers will cooperate more with e-commerce platforms in their home country. There is an incentive for Chinese traders to step up such cooperation.

Mckinsey’s research predicts that 80% of GMV will be imported from outside Southeast Asia by 2021, with China playing a significant role. Momentum Works predicts e-commerce development in Southeast Asia to reach $232 billion in 2028, with Temu, Alibaba, and TikTok contributing to the worst scenario at $175 billion.


Chinese traders plan to expand into regional markets like Vietnam to maximize profits. Directly shipping from Chinese platforms to Vietnam yields a 10% profit, but combining with popular Vietnamese e-commerce platforms can increase it by 5%. The key to this strategy lies in low delivery costs, as domestic packages in China cost less than VND10,000, despite longer transportation distances.

The Chinese government made this plan 10 years ago. Economic Information Daily says that China’s logistics costs made up 18% of its GDP in 2013, which is more than twice as much as other OECD countries.

Experts point out that the cost of transporting goods in urban areas accounts for 30% of the total logistics costs of the entire industry. This has been a consequence since 1991, when China’s average logistics cost growth rate was 14.8% while GDP increased only 10.7%.

Urban expansion in Shanghai leads to increased transportation demand, but the lack of public supply and demand information-sharing platforms hinders truck operators’ capacity. Empty trucks accounted for 37% of the city’s total trucks in 2011, three times higher than in Europe and America. High logistics costs include tolls and fines.

The Chinese government implemented policies to reduce transportation costs, standardize logistics facilities, and reduce tax rates for the logistics industry. These included standardizing pallets, replacing business tax with value-added tax, compensating road tolls, and encouraging land use. The Ministry of Trade also promoted information technology applications in the industry.


In 2016, logistics costs per GDP decreased by nearly 4 percentage points, largely due to NDRC policies reducing taxes and fees for companies, enabling easier capital access.

China aims to reduce the logistics cost/GDP ratio to 12% by 2025, saving industries over 900 billion yuan ($135 billion) annually.

China is optimizing domestic logistics costs and promoting cross-border sales in Southeast Asia. Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade plans 53 warehouses in six provinces by 2025 to 2035, covering over 1.2 million m2. With a global factory position and 2/3 of popular e-commerce platforms, China’s goods are increasing, making it easier to penetrate regional countries.

The country has long been a global exporter of many consumer products and is now expanding this influence faster and more widely through its e-commerce platforms, even shaking up shopping activities. online globally.

Chinese manufacturers are reducing prices and attempting to penetrate foreign markets due to weak domestic demand. Local governments are subsidizing overseas trips and urging banks to lend to companies expanding in countries participating in China’s “Belt and Road” initiative.

Indonesia’s government has banned e-commerce transactions on social media platforms and regulated foreign goods to have a minimum price of $100, aiming to protect domestic businesses from cross-border goods and ensure fair competition while protecting user data.

With the largest e-commerce market size in Southeast Asia (more than $50 billion in 2022, according to Momentum Works), Indonesia’s actions are intended to prevent new e-commerce platforms such as TikTok, according to comments.

According to market research company BMI, there is an opportunity for growth in this country. The competition between GoTo, a “homegrown” e-commerce platform formed from the merger between two other domestic businesses, Tokopedia and Gojek, with Shopee and Alibaba is more than enough in the current context.

The Indonesian Government proposes a domestic ban to safeguard 64 million micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, despite mixed reactions from small businesses, aiming to protect them.

TikTok business owners are profiting but need to cut human resources. Traditional traders are improving but not reaching the same level. E-commerce platforms like Tokopedia and Shopee disrupt traditional market activities due to transparent prices. 

Meanwhile, others are concerned that importing goods at competitive prices from world factories will affect the domestic manufacturing sector, which is supporting many working families. The growth in the commercial sector is there, but its consequences for the production sector are immeasurable.
A McKinsey report suggests that trade agreements like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement will boost production and supply chains, particularly in the garment, consumer electronics, and food sectors.


Southeast Asia’s e-commerce growth and lower labor costs are attracting foreign investors, prompting the Indonesian Government to create protective barriers against cross-border e-commerce. This can teach other countries, including Vietnam, to optimize operations and adapt to new business paces, as returning to pre-e-commerce times is impossible.

The low-cost e-commerce market, characterized by stagnant incomes and economic instability, is causing concern for Vietnamese businesses and small businesses, as low-cost platforms struggle to develop strongly.

Competitive prices and easy ordering are benefits that cross-border goods bring to Vietnamese consumers but put great pressure on domestic businesses. “The fashion industry is changing profoundly,” said Mr. Dao The Vinh, founder of 8-year-old fashion brand Midori.

E-commerce and cross-border goods have significantly impacted domestic fashion brands’ production capabilities and cost optimization. Midori must adapt to new trends by focusing on design teams, optimizing materials, and changing production processes to meet small but continuous orders. This allows customers to place orders on e-commerce platforms within 2 hours. 

Midori, a Vietnamese company, has reduced its retail chain size by 2/3, reducing revenue contribution from over 20 stores. The fast-changing fashion industry has put pressure on costs and efficiency. Julyhouse, a natural essential oil business, continues to optimize costs in a competitive context, despite not yet having a strong domestic customer base.

Julyhouse, a Vietnamese FMCG startup, is aiming to maintain competitive raw material costs by partnering with farm-based suppliers and supplying product bottles themselves.

The company is distributing goods through retail channels and e-commerce platforms. Julyhouse is also investing in brand retention and social commerce technology to make it easier for consumers to forget brands. The company’s revenue ratio is approaching 70% online and 30% offline.

Regardless, shoppers like Kieu Nam and Quynh Nhu are still benefiting from hunting for cheap items from anywhere. Consumption habits associated with cheap goods and the current macro environment are paving the way for a price race, which will create notable changes for shoppers as well as e-commerce platforms. representative of a Vietnamese e-commerce platform comments.


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Winning at e-commerce, TikTok enters the delivery market

It wouldn’t be surprising when TikTok entered the e-commerce delivery space.



Ms. Ngoc Phuong placed an electronic order from TikTok Shop in Ho Chi Minh City, expecting a delivery time of 4 days. However, she switched to another e-commerce platform and received the product two days later.

Mandatory delivery is always a problem for e-commerce platforms with a large number of orders, especially TikTok Shop (part of the short video social network TikTok), which has surpassed Lazada to become the e-commerce platform with the largest market share in Vietnam in the second quarter of 2023, according to Metric.

Looking at the region, according to Momentum Works, TikTok Shop could account for 13.2% of the Southeast Asia market share by the end of this year, closely following Tokopedia (forecast to account for 13.9% market share), not too far away from Lazada (estimated to be 13.9% market share). accounting for 17.7%), even though it has only been in the market for 1 year.

It can be seen that most of TikTok Shop’s competitors have invested in affiliated delivery companies such as Shopee with Shopee Express and Lazada with Lazada Logistics. Even the competitor ranked at the bottom of Vietnam’s e-commerce rankings in terms of market share, Tiki, has its delivery team, TikiNOW. Meanwhile, TikTok Shop currently only uses J&T Express as its sole delivery partner, handling up to 90% of TikTok Shop’s orders in Southeast Asia.

There are many reasons why e-commerce platforms are forced to own delivery companies because, in addition to optimizing costs, they also reduce order cancellation rates by improving service quality.

Statista reported on the reasons affecting the ability to “close orders” in Vietnam in 2021: delivery service price and delivery service quality, accounting for 40% and 30% of survey respondents’ reasons, respectively. The report also shows that the return rate as a percentage of online orders in Vietnam in 2023 will be 6.4%, down nearly 2 percentage points compared to 2021 and more than 3 percentage points compared to the peak of this year.

Note that this survey was taken from units that account for the majority of Vietnam’s e-commerce market share, and most of them have delivery units. The refund rate of the livestream group, the branch where TikTok Shop is leading the market, does not yet have specific statistics because it is too new and the number may not be accurate due to the influence of price subsidy policies that change buying habits. customer shopping.

But in the end, the ability to close an order still depends on delivery time and service. Therefore, investing in delivery units to improve is a predictable step for TikTok, especially when rapid growth in China and Southeast Asia is putting pressure on the company’s shipping process. Responding to Tech In Asia, Mr. Roshan Raj, partner at Redseer Strategy Consultants, said: “Any serious e-commerce effort needs in-house logistics capabilities.”

Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, has invested in Jisuda since 2020 to offer delivery within and outside the city in two days. This move is due to the company’s logistics services being far behind those of and Alibaba. The rapid growth rate in a short period is a strength but also a weakness for TikTok Shop, as the time to invest in large delivery units is limited. Strategic investments could provide an advantage.

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has invested $40 million in iMile Delivery in 2021 to serve the Middle East delivery market. Rumors suggest TikTok may invest in a struggling food delivery unit in the Vietnamese market. The Chinese market is concentrated with clear potential and pressure, with Douyin’s food delivery revenue reaching 13.8 billion USD in the first six months of 2023. However, this is less than half that of Meituan, which owns 6.4 million food delivery people and 9.3 million sellers on its platform as of April 2023.

Meituan is expanding into livestream sales to compete with Douyin and protect its market share in the Chinese market. To compete with Southeast Asian competitors like Lazada and Shopee, TikTok needs a regional-scale commercial delivery unit to compete with companies serving the fragmented food delivery market, which is less attractive than China.

Looking back over the past 3 years, the Southeast Asian market has witnessed delivery companies that always aim to expand into the region, such as Best, Ninja Van, and J&T Express. 

In 2021, J&T Express acquired Best’s operations in China to expand its influence in this market. In addition, among them, only J&T Express has expanded its services to the US market since the end of last year. 

Citing Reuters, TikTok also started a sales program for Chinese merchants in the US market a few months ago. Therefore, it is not surprising if one day TikTok announces its entry into the delivery market. But a representative from TikTok Vietnam refused to say anything about this.


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