Vietnamese social network Gapo riddled with errors right after launch

17:45 | 05/08/2019
Much-anticipated social networking site Gapo, which was launched with the open ambition to dethrone Facebook in Vietnam, had a rough start plagued with unavailable servers and error messages.
vietnamese social network gapo riddled with errors right after launch
The Vietnamese social network Gapo was launched a few day's ago

A new social network, called Gapo, has been launched in Vietnam with an investment of $22 million from G Capital in an effort to shift users to a local platform from dominant global networks.

After launching on July 23, 2019, the Facebook-like social media app was reported to have encountered a lot of errors and being plagued with unavailable servers.

Additionally, as it is newly launched, the social media platform has only a few users, which makes it a wasteland of echoing emptiness interrupted at times by meaningless, boring status updates and comments, receiving a great number of fake likes from accounts operated by bots.

In addition to the huge investment, Gapo has not managed to truly set itself apart from other Vietnamese social networks, and might even be worse than the current market leaders – which will make it difficult for it to reach the 50 million accounts targeted.The mobile app lets users create personal profiles, upload videos, images, and share posts to a Facebook-style “news feed”. It also has functions of live streaming and blogging, and offers several features such as online payment.

G Capital and Gapo operate under G Group, which also has other assets including Mekong Capital-backed pawn shop chain F88 and Belt Road Capital Management-backed P2P lending startup Tima.

The $22 million capital injection will be used for Gapo’s first phase of development, the company said.

Gapo, the app that mimics Facebook, targets to acquire 3 million users in 2019 and 20 million by January 2021. Gapo has also teamed up with Sony Music Entertainment to feature music content by a strategic partner.

“There are not many social networks for users to choose from. A lot of startups are still trying to perfect their products without making sure they are relevant to users. Gapo will focus on personalising user experience,” said Gapo CEO Ha Trung Kien.

G Group is known to operate several other tech platforms as well as a gaming community platform. The company is understood to leverage this community as a base of users for its social network.

The launch of Gapo comes at a time when the local Ministry of Information and Communications is calling for the establishment of "Made in Vietnam" social platforms. Several apps have been built, such as VietnamTa and Hahalolo, but they have not made much headway.

Meanwhile, US giants such as Facebook and Youtube are facing several challenges related to taxation and information security while operating in the country.

Facebook and Youtube account for almost 70 per cent of advertising revenues in 2018, according to various market research reports. Of the 97 million population, 42 million Vietnamese were on Facebook every day, local media reported in 2018.

Vietnam is also tightening scrutiny and looking at ways to prevent businesses from advertising on social media content that might carry "toxic" information. In addition, the new Law on Cybersecurity requires internet companies operating in Vietnam to store user data locally.

By Nguyen Huong

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