Global Spotlight: Silicon Valley in Hanoi
A Look Inside Hanoi’s Emerging Data Center and Technical Industry
Forty-one years after hostilities ended and the country became unified, Vietnam’s steady economic expansion is predicted to grow at nearly seven percent this year, making it one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. With nearly 94 million inhabitants, sixty percent of which are under the median age of 30 years old, the country is increasingly defined by a tech-savvy population of young coders, engineers, entrepreneurs, and students driving economic growth and technological innovation.
Not long ago, Vietnam played host to hardly any IT companies, but today there are close to 14,000 IT businesses, spanning hardware, software and digital content. Today, Google ranks Vietnam among their top 10 global growth markets and 40 percent of all apps on Microsoft’s App Store are engineered in Vietnam.
Where Flappy Bird First Took Flight
Hanoi, the capital city, is taking the lead in developing the country’s knowledge-based economy — stepping up its investments in IT, automation, biotech and advanced materials — to position itself as the Silicon Valley of Southeast Asia. While global tech firms, including LG Electronics, Panasonic, Intel and Toshiba, have long had manufacturing facilities in Vietnam, Hanoi is now emerging as the focal point of a technology startup ecosystem.
Young Vietnamese are as selfie- and Facebook-obsessed as their peers around the world, and their focus is not on the conflicts of their country’s troubled history, but on how to take advantage of a growing and increasingly global market. In a somewhat ironic measure of the country’s rapidly developing digital sophistication, two years ago, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City welcomed students, developers and technology enthusiasts to its inaugural Hackathon Vietnam. The next year, Flappy Bird, the free mobile game that was developed by Hanoi-based .GEARS, became one of the most downloaded apps in the world. Shortly thereafter, when it was reportedly earning $50,000 a day from in-app advertisements and sales, its creator, Hanoi programmer, Dong Nguyen, pulled it from the shelves of the App Store and Google Play out of concern that the app was unhealthily addictive.
Drop Out, Cash-In
Foreign private equity funds are beginning to take notice. Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered Bank recently increased their investment by $28 million in the Ho Chi Minh City-based MoMo, a mobile e-wallet developer. Meanwhile, Silicon Valley-based venture capitalist 500 Startups announced a $10 million fund focused on Vietnam. One of 500 Startups’ investments is the automated marketing service, Beeketing, based in Hanoi, whose college drop-out founder, Truong Manh Quan, estimates this year’s $2 million revenue will derive predominantly from U.S. customers.
Colocation, Connectivity and the Cloud
In a rapidly growing economy such as Vietnam, start-ups as well as the multinational companies have one thing in common: The need for secure, high-performing telecommunications infrastructure. In a country where, on average, it takes 18 days to get an electricity connection, having a reliable, world-class data center facility is critical to conducting business.
As in Silicon Valley, California, start-ups as well as multinational enterprises in Hanoi no longer require the capital intensive IT infrastructure they needed in the past. Colocation, internet connectivity and the Cloud provide the necessary data center and networking needed to launch and run a business.
Learn about how Telehouse Hanoi, located in the city’s commercial district, serves this burgeoning digital economy. The presence of this data center in one of Southeast Asia’s most promising markets just might facilitate the next biotechnological healthcare breakthrough — or, who knows, the next Flappy Bird!