Tech in Asia makes Vietnamese debut

May 31, 2024 | 14:44
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Tech in Asia, a Singapore- and Jakarta-based online media platform that focuses on the tech startup industry, hosted its inaugural Saigon Summit in Ho Chi Minh City on May 30.

The theme of the event was the future of tech in Vietnam and reflected the potential of the sector here, one that is growing at a rate to rival the giants of the region.

Saigon Summit saw more than 1,000 attendees, with 50 companies and 20 speakers joining the event. It brought together leaders across Southeast Asia’s tech ecosystem to discuss Vietnam’s growth and the opportunities that lie ahead. It also offered an opportunity for attendees to network with other innovators and entrepreneurs, finding new ways to collaborate and explore interests in this up-and-coming market.

Tech in Asia makes Vietnamese debut

Le Hong Minh, founder and CEO of VNG, said that startups shouldn't rush to follow the hottest trends, but rather balance them with their capabilities. "It's crucial to focus on the long-term viability of ideas, even if they're not new, as long as they have room for real adoption," Minh said.

Niraan de Silva, CEO of VNLife, discussed the opportunities he saw in Vietnam.

"The nature and entrepreneurial spirit of Vietnamese people was what drew me here. Everywhere you go, there is someone doing something to contribute to growth," said Niraan de Silva.

Nguyen Manh Tuong, executive vice-chairman and CEO at MoMo, spoke about the firm’s growth journey, saying "I told my team that I've waited 14 years to see Vietnam really become a cashless economy. We're moving there and at a very fast pace, and I'm delighted about it."

The event also featured regional profiles such as SEEK Asia, Xendit, and Razer.

"We're looking to do a lot more investment and expand our hardware business in Vietnam, primarily because we've got a massive user base here, and we see Vietnam as a kind of hotbed for esports at this time," said Min-Liang Tan, co-founder and CEO of Razer.

Most participants at Saigon Summit came from Vietnam, but some hailed from countries such as Singapore and Malaysia. It also attracted attendees from across the startup ecosystem, with around half the audience comprising startups and a little over a third were investors. Around 17 per cent were corporates.

Currently third in Southeast Asia in terms of startup ecosystem value with an economic impact of up to $5.22 billion - trailing only Singapore and Indonesia - Vietnam’s digital economy is also growing at speed, projected to reach $45 billion by 2025. Additionally, its large consumer population of around 100 million people provides significant market opportunities for startups and companies to scale.

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