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German firm invests in Vietnam’s Google-rivaling startup

Wednesday, February 04, 2015, 15:10 GMT+7
German firm invests in Vietnam’s Google-rivaling startup
An ad of the Coc Coc web browser is seen on its website.

One of Germany's largest media groups has invested in Coc Coc, a Vietnamese startup whose products ambitiously seek to challenge the search and browser market share of Internet giant Google in Vietnam.

>> An audio version of the story is available here

Hubert Burda Media, which is responsible for over 400 print and digital consumer brands, announced the investment in a press release on its website on Tuesday, but did not elaborate on the scale of the investment.

“We are really pleased to welcome Coc Coc to be a part of our portfolio in Asia and are expecting further development of the company in the near future,” Peter Kennedy, executive chairman with Hubert Burda Media in Asia, said in a statement.

The Hanoi-based tech company launched its main products, including the Coc Coc Browser, Coc Coc Search engine, Coc Coc advertising, and a geo location application called “Nha Nha”, in April 2013 and has acquired leading positions in the Vietnamese market, according to Hubert Burda Media.

"Coc Coc already reaches a very big audience, shows remarkable technological competitiveness and strong growth,” Kennedy said.

“We are convinced of its ability to rapidly develop and launch new features and products that are welcomed by Vietnamese users.”

Coc Coc currently employs more than 200 specialists from all around the world.

Its CEO, Victor Lavrenko, said he is “very excited” to have Hubert Burda Media as a business partner.

Lavrenko believes the German investor’s money will “help us to strengthen our position in the Vietnamese market and roll out to the rest of South-East Asia.”

Coc Coc, whose name is onomatopoeia for the sound of knocking at a door, was founded by Lavrenko and three Vietnamese co-founders.

The team has managed to acquire developers from some of the biggest Russian Internet companies, such as Yandex, Mail.ru and Parallels.

Coccoc.com has the highest daily audience in Vietnam, with eight million daily users, Hubert Burda Media said, citing data from U.S. Internet analytics company Comscore.

The Coc Coc browser, meanwhile, surpassed Firefox and Internet Explorer to become the second most popular web browser in Vietnam, only behind Google Chrome, Vietnamese-language tech website ICTNews cited data from web traffic analysis tool StatCounter.

ICTNews also quoted sources as speculating that the German firm would invest hundreds of billions of dong in Coc Coc. (VND1 billion = US$46,603).

But sides involved have refused to comment on the figure.

Le Van Thanh, one of the Vietnamese co-founders of Coc Coc, told ICTNews that the specific investment will be publicized at “a suitable time.”

Hubert Burda Media has been active in Asia since 1997 and currently manages magazine businesses in Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and India, according to the company’s profile.

The company considers Asia one of its most exciting avenues of growth for the next few years and invests in digital and media companies.

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