Viber closes Việt Nam office; industry insiders say its rivals are too strong

Viber, the company that operates the popular instant messaging app of the same name, has decided to close its office in Việt Nam and move the operation to its sole Southeast Asian office in the Philippines.

Nguyễn Đặng Quỳnh Anh, director of Viber Việt Nam, said the company is changing its strategies in Southeast Asia and it will set up a common office for the region, instead of having one in each country.

Anh said despite the closure, users in Việt Nam will enjoy normal services.

Viber opened its office in Việt Nam in January 2014.

It has around 23 million users in the country, the company said.

viberViber opened its office in Việt Nam in January 2014 and has around 23 million users in the country

The app, similar to other popular instant messaging apps including Zalo and Line, is not linked to traditional telecom or Internet service providers but operate atop established Internet connections, hence the name over-the-top (OTT) apps.

“We have finished our mission of setting up the foundation for Viber in Việt Nam’s OTT market.

“OTT itself is a multi-national foundation and it is not a product for an individual country.”

Anh said.

The company’s new office in the Philippines is expected to start running next month, overseeing its services there as well as in Việt Nam, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar.

Industry insiders said Viber leaving Việt Nam might be related to a rule under discussion that requires it to install servers in Việt Nam or sign commercial deals with a local telecommunication firm in order to provide chargeable services such as Viber Out.

Representative of a local telecom firm meanwhile told news website VnEconomy the reason is possibly “poor business.”

The source said that based on local figures, Viber’s active users in Việt Nam are only around five million and much lower than the company’s estimation.

Viber Việt Nam is facing strong competition from local OTT apps, it said.

Source: Thanh Niên News

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