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Vietnamese developers hurt by counterfeit, pirated software in booming mobile app sector

Thursday, October 10, 2019, 15:18 GMT+7
Vietnamese developers hurt by counterfeit, pirated software in booming mobile app sector
A Tuoi Tre cartoon illustrates the popularity of mobile apps in Vietnam.

While engagement in mobile applications amongst Vietnamese continues to soar, domestic app developers are scratching their heads over how to combat counterfeiting and copyright disputes.

Over 51 million Vietnamese, or 52.5 percent of the country’s population, have daily access to the Internet, social media, and mobile apps on smartphones, according to a report released in June by Appota Corporation.

With such a massive market, it is no wonder the local app development sector has show strong growth over the last few years, both in terms of quantity and quality.

On average, Vietnamese mobile users spend three hours and 42 minutes on their mobile phones each day, the report said.

Likewise, a survey conducted by the market research company Q&Me showed that these users access 16.8 apps per week on average.

Of the 51 million mobile users in Vietnam, 33 million use mobile games, a number expected to grow to 40 million by 2020.

With so much market potential, there is great opportunity for developers. 

Unfortunately, there is also great chance for counterfeiters and software pirates, particularly as Vietnam lacks regulations to control mobile app development.

Under the current climate, it is a piece of cake for Vietnamese smartphone users to hunt down apps that meet their needs, such as watching movies or listening to music, on the App Store or Play Store.

Many of the apps on these two digital distribution platforms are free, attracting loads of downloads from users who pay little attention to whether or not the content of the program or software they have just installed is genuine or fake, reliable or fraudulent.

According to Phan Thanh Gian, managing director of the multi-platform Internet TV service provider ClipTV, counterfeit apps are rampant in Vietnam’s mobile app sector.

“ClipTV has been suffering, both in terms of business credit and revenue, from having our content illegally copied and used by other parties,” Gian told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Echoing Gian, Luong Cong Hieu, chief executive officer at Galaxy Media & Entertainment Company, said that copyright infringement pertaining to Hollywood and Asian movies is a major issue in the Southeast Asian country.

“The situation has continued for a long time and brought several difficulties to Galaxy’s online on-demand movie business,” Hieu said.

“The number of subscribers on the app has failed to grow as expected but we still need to pay for producers to maintain the service.”

Gian and Hieu agreed that content and copyright infringement is so sophisticated that it is hard to detect the issue.

The ClipTV and Galaxy representatives, together with several other mobile app insiders, believed that stricter government regulation is needed to help solve the problem.

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