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

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora