News / Asia

Apple's Sales Boom in Communist Vietnam

A fruit vendor walks past an Apple store in Hanoi, Vietnam, April 24, 2014.
A fruit vendor walks past an Apple store in Hanoi, Vietnam, April 24, 2014.
Reuters
Communist Vietnam is suddenly Apple Inc.'s hottest market after its sales growth tripled in the first three months of the year, a rate five times faster than in India where it is spending heavily in a battle for market share.
 
Vietnam has barely received a mention from Apple executives in their regular briefings for financial analysts. But in a quarterly conference call on Wednesday, they were talking up the potential of the country.
 
Quarterly iPhone sales more than doubled and the strong growth appears likely to continue given Vietnam's predominantly young, tech-savvy population, rapid growth in internet and mobile phone use and a projected doubling of the middle class by 2020.
 
Vietnamese tech firms are fast cropping up, churning out apps such as Flappy Bird, which rose from obscurity to become one of the world's most downloaded mobile games.
 
Young Vietnamese thronging stores to buy iPhones worth up to half of their country's 2012 gross per-capita income say it's worth it.
 
“This cost more than two months' worth of my salary,” said officer worker Pham My Linh, 23, moments after agreeing a payment plan for an iPhone 5. “But I need it, to feel more confident when hanging out with friends and colleagues.”
 
The surge in demand comes against a backdrop of sluggish economic growth exacerbated by high levels of bad loans and business closures.
 
The economy grew 5.4 percent last year, a rate economists see as underwhelming given Vietnam's fast population growth and its retail and manufacturing potential.
 
But Vietnamese smartphone sellers say a hunger for higher social status is driving Apple's sales, helped by price cuts and payment plans that make it easier to digest handset prices that exceed the monthly income of most urbanites.

Trendier smartphones
 
The growing thirst for slick technology is not just benefiting Apple, but most firms offering tablets and smartphones, among them HTC and Samsung. Slower growth for standard mobile phones shows local appetite for upgrades to trendier handsets, industry experts say.
 
“I've seen no signs of an economic recession in this shop,” said the manager of a Hanoi branch of FPT, Vietnam's biggest listed tech company. “People buy $1,000 items with ease and a family buying three iPads isn't uncommon.”
 
According to data released in January by market research firm GfK, smartphones accounted for 77 percent of mobile sales in Vietnam last year and the number of units sold grew nearly 135 percent from a year earlier. Tablet sales soared 250 percent in 2013 as prices fell by close to 27 percent.
 
Many companies are looking closely at Vietnam, where 15 million people live in two main cities, only 30 million use the internet among a 90 million population and two thirds are under 30 years of age.
 
Apple isn't the only beneficiary of its own brand appeal.
 
Fake iPhones with a near-flawless appearance are on sale for just 2 million dong ($95).
 
“There are a lot of people out there who can't afford an iPhone but still want to look rich, which is why shops like mine can do well,” said shop owner Nguyen Duc Hai, 33.
 
“Why pay 10 times more for a real iPhone just to build a luxury image and show off?”

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More