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Vietnam threatens to shut down Facebook over censorship requests

Vietnam has threatened to shut down Facebook in the country if it does not bow to government pressure to censor more local political content, an official at the social media told Reuters.



Facebook complied with a government request in April to significantly increase its censorship of “anti-state” posts for local users, but Vietnam asked the company again in August to step up its restrictions of critical posts, the official said.

“We made an agreement in April. Facebook has upheld our end of the agreement, and we expected the government of Vietnam to do the same,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity citing the sensitivity of the subject.

“They have come back to us and sought to get us to increase the volume of content that we’re restricting in Vietnam. We’ve told them no. That request came with some threats about what might happen if we didn’t.”

The official said the threats included shutting down Facebook altogether in Vietnam, a major market for the social media company where it earns revenue of nearly $1 billion, according to two sources familiar with the numbers.

Facebook has faced mounting pressure from governments over its content policies, including threats of new regulations and fines. But it has avoided a ban in all but the few places where it has never been allowed to operate, such as China.

In Vietnam, despite sweeping economic reform and increasing openness to social change, the ruling Communist Party retains tight control of media and tolerates little opposition. The country ranks fifth from bottom in a global ranking of press freedom compiled by Reporters Without Borders.

Vietnam’s foreign ministry said in response to questions from Reuters that Facebook should abide by local laws and cease “spreading information that violates traditional Vietnamese customs and infringes upon state interests”.

A spokeswoman for Facebook said it had faced additional pressure from Vietnam to censor more content in recent months.

In its biannual transparency report released on Friday, Facebook said it had restricted access to 834 items in Vietnam in the first six months of this year, following requests from the government of Vietnam to remove anti-state content.

Facebook, which serves about 60 million users in Vietnam as the main platform for both e-commerce and expressions of political dissent, is under constant government scrutiny.

Reuters exclusively reported in April that Facebook’s local servers in Vietnam were taken offline early this year until it complied with the government’s demands.

Facebook has long faced criticism from rights group for being too compliant with government censorship requests.

“However, we will do everything we can to ensure that our services remain available so people can continue to express themselves,” the spokeswoman said.

Vietnam has tried to launch home-grown social media networks to compete with Facebook, but none has reached any meaningful level of popularity. The Facebook official said the company had not seen an exodus of Vietnamese users to the local platforms.

The official said Facebook had been subject to a “14-month-long negative media campaign” in state-controlled Vietnamese press before arriving at the current impasse.

Asked about Vietnam’s threat to shut down Facebook, rights group Amnesty International said the fact it had not yet been banned after defying the Vietnamese government’s threats showed that the company could do more to resist Hanoi’s demands.

“Facebook has a clear responsibility to respect human rights wherever they operate in the world and Vietnam is no exception,” Ming Yu Hah, Amnesty’s deputy regional director for campaigns, said. “Facebook are prioritising profits in Vietnam, and failing to respect human rights”.

Source: Reuters



Rikkeisoft to invest up to $30 million in U.S. by 2026

Vietnam’s largest private tech firm, Rikkeisoft, is investing up to $30 million in the US over the next three years to help customers with digitalization and innovative solutions.



This substantial investment will support technological human resource development, infrastructure expansion, and well-planned mergers and acquisitions.

Mr. Tung Bui, Senior Executive Vice President of Rikkeisoft and CEO of RKTech (Rikkeisoft’s US subsidiary), made the pledge on September 18 (US time) during the Viet Nam and United States Business Forum – Technology and Innovation Cooperation in San Francisco. This was proclaimed in the presence of Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and both nations’ representatives.

Mr. Tung Bui claimed that RKTech will invest $10 million to $30 million over the next three years in M&A initiatives, new office expansion, and technological human resource development. The investment for 2023 is planned at $2 million and is anticipated to grow to $30 million by 2026.

This huge investment is expected to produce hundreds of technology-focused employment opportunities in the United States, driving Rikkeisoft into the ranks of billion-dollar technology corporations within the next five years.

Rikkeisoft founded RKTech in Dallas in early 2023 to deliver high-quality and comprehensive information technology solutions and services to American organizations.

RKTech has already seen early success in developing its network of US partners and forging technological partnerships in a variety of industries, including automotive and manufacturing.

The CEO of RKTech focused on the investment’s multifaceted impact and the distinct advantage that a Vietnamese technology business may provide to the United States. “This investment is more than just a cash injection. “It’s a solution to the country’s critical talent shortage in the tech industry,” he added.

“With Vietnam’s burgeoning high-skilled and low-cost tech talent, we are uniquely positioned to provide value-added services to US clients.” Rikkeisoft’s ambition isn’t merely to go public by 2028. Its goal is to substantially enrich the American IT environment by delivering a long-term solution to talent scarcity,” he continued.

Mr.Tung Ta, Chairman of Rikekisoft, stated that Rikkeisoft sees the US market as a strategic investment. “The company aspires to be a global technology services firm with a $1 billion market capitalization.” As a result, a large market like the United States may considerably help Rikkeisoft achieve this aim,” he said.

Rikkeisoft is aggressively studying and developing AI solutions for facial and speech identification in high-tech applications to improve productivity for organizations in industries like as human resources, finance, and banking. Rikkeisoft’s subsidiary, Rikkei Academy, is developing in human resource training to educate students hoping to become Vietnamese information technology engineers.

Rikkeisoft is dedicated to establishing high-impact, far-reaching collaboration initiatives. Establishing RKTech and making long-term investments in the US market would be critical in assisting Rikkeisoft in meeting its IPO aim of 2028.

Rikkeisoft, founded in 2012, is the largest private technology business in Vietnam, focusing in assisting customers with digitization and creative solutions in the United States, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Rikkeisoft has helped its clients and partners update their technical processes, build and deploy new software solutions, and accelerate their digital transformation throughout the course of its 11-year history. 

Source: VGP


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Vietnam’s VNG delays Nasdaq IPO amid challenging market

VNG is postponing a Nasdaq debut amid an uncertain market environment, less than two weeks after the Vietnamese gaming startup joined a CEO roundtable with U.S. President Joe Biden.



The app maker, which has more chat users than Facebook in Vietnam, “has every intention” of eventually completing an initial public offering in the U.S., a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Nikkei Asia. It filed for an IPO a week after the debut of Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast, which like other newly listed companies has seen volatile trading in its first weeks on the market.

“Market conditions are still very challenging,” the source said.

VNG declined to comment when contacted by Nikkei Asia.

VNG was one of several businesses cited by the White House this month as an example of Vietnamese companies tapping “U.S. capital markets to fuel growth and innovation.”

With divisions in payments, cloud computing and music, it would be one of the few Vietnamese companies to sell stock overseas and is thus seen as a test case of investor appetite for firms in the region, as well as of regulatory scrutiny.

“Elements of our corporate structure are unprecedented and have not been tested in any court in Vietnam or elsewhere,” the company previously said in a securities filing.

The filing said it would list a Cayman Islands holding company that has a stake in VNG Corp. of 49% — Vietnam’s foreign-ownership limit for certain sectors — plus a 21% indirect interest.

Source: Nikkei Asia


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Apple, Boeing, and Google encouraged to invest more in Vietnam

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh hosted separate receptions for executives of several U.S. corporations, including Apple Inc., Boeing Company, Google, Siemens Healthineers, in New York on September 21.



He hailed the successful operation of Apple in Vietnam at the meeting with Nick Ammann, Director of Apple Global Government Operations. Apple’s export value in Vietnam reached around $30 billion in 2022.

He suggested that Apple keep putting more money into Vietnam, increase the amount of local content in its products, and help U.S. companies and Apple’s partners invest in the Southeast Asian country. He also thought that Apple would make Vietnam an important part of its line of production and supply.

During a reception for Brendan Nelson AO, the senior vice president of Boeing Company and president of Boeing Global, Pham urged Boeing to expand its manufacturing and supply chain in Vietnam and soon build its maintenance facility there.

The Prime Minister also used the event to ask Boeing to help Vietnamese partners with training their employees and sharing technology so that they can play a bigger role in Boeing’s supply chain.

Pham called upon Google to support Vietnam’s national innovation center and provide digital transformation training for Vietnamese firms while receiving Karan Bhatia, the Vice President, of Government Affairs and Public Policy at Google.

He also voiced his support for Google to expand operations in Vietnam.

On the same day, Prime Minister Pham witnessed the exchange of investment agreements between firms of the two countries in industrial park development, green growth, production and distribution of pharmaceuticals, and human resources training in semiconductors.

Source: VGP


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