Partnership formed: MobiFone Vietnam and Yahoo Vietnam


Just a quick news since Yahoo is making some big steps to gain solid grounds in Vietnam market:

According to Thanhnien and VnExpress, Mobifone, the number 1 mobile phone operator in Vietnam, partners with Yahoo to provide oneSearch search engine on all Mobifone subscribers.

This can be a very rewarding partnership for Yahoo since it can greatly enhance its brand equity in local market. Even though i doubt that Yahoo can find a model to make money from providing this service for Vietnam market, it’s still a big win for them.
One thing about the Vietnam market i’ve noticed is that people change their phones very frequently. In Vietnam, you can find most of the latest phones including latest iphones, Nokia, Samsung etc…
PDAs are very popular amongst vietnamese professional as well. Latest phones normally come with great internet capabilities so there is no challenge in terms of infrastructure for Yahoo and the like to provide online mobile phone services.

Nevertheless, from a practical standpoint, i don’t see how end-users will greatly benefit from this service. Well, that’s the case at least for the time being because:

  • The stock market is loosing its heat and i haven’t seen Yahoo Finance is able to provide stock information for Vietnamese.
  • It costs quite a bit to use internet for your mobile phones, PDAs in Vietnam (relatively compared to the living cost). Please correct me if i am wrong here
  • Yahoo’s never been a strong search engine so i am not sure how good local search for Vietnam can be
  • I am not sure if users can check flights from Vietnam Airlines or Pacific Airlines (the two local carriers) yet using oneSearch
  • If i am not wrong, Yahoo Answer’s yet to reached the critical mass in Vietnam so the benefit of having access to Yahoo Answer from your mobile phone is quite limited.

One critical thing that i see missing from the report by both Thanhnien and VnExpress is whether or not this is an exclusive deal. I doubt that is the case since Yahoo is going to partner with as many operators as they could.

In short, while Google’s focusing on other SEA markets, it’s clear that Vietnam is one of the top priorities for Yahoo SEA.
With this partnership, Yahoo sets foot into the potentially lucrative mobile advertising in Vietnam. Yahoo Messenger for Mobile’s already gained solid foundation from the broad YM users in Vietnam.
I see this step as one stepping stone to fulfill Yahoo’s new vision to become the starting poinfor anything and everything users need online

P.S: I am trying to find the actual number of subscribers for different mobile phone networks in Vietnam. For now, it looks like there are any reliable numbers yet. The ministry of Information and Communications is going to conduct an audit in May 2008 regarding the actual number of subscribers for different network. Hopefully, we are going to see some concrete numbers after that.

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