Nov 6, 2012

Vietnam - IT firms keep indifferent to developing apps for education

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VietNamNet Bridge – Despite the high demand, information technology (IT) firms do not intend to focus on developing apps for the education sector due to the high investment costs.

Ha Than, General Director of Lac Viet Company, said at the international conference Mobile Vietnam on October 19 that the demand for content service on Internet and mobile devices would be very high by 2020.

Under the National Telecommunication Development Strategy, the rate of fixed broadband subscriber would be 6-8 subscribers per 100 people by 2015, and 15-20 subscribers by 2020. Meanwhile, the targeted figures for mobile broadband subscribers would be 20-25 and 35-40 subscribers, respectively.

The total revenue from telecom is expected to reach 10-12 billion dollars, accounting for 7-8 percent of GDP by 2015, and 15-17 billion dollars, or 6-7 percent of GDP by 2020.

A survey by Lac Viet shows that 70 percent of the apps developed so far have the content relating to violence factors, hot messages or pictures, 20 percent relate to music (60 percent is foreign music, 10 percent classical and 30 percent prevalent among the youth).

Especially, the apps with educational content remain very modest, just accounting for five percent of the total adds. Meanwhile, 70 percent of the education apps come from foreign sources.

Analysts say apps for education should be seen as a potential market for IT firms with the increasingly high demand from parents.

Nguyen Duy Hien from AppStoreVN said about 50,000 digital contents has been shared on, of which 58 percent is games, while the others are entertainment software and social network applications.

Hien went on to say that except the apps for children which attract a high number of users, other educational apps have modest downloads.

“Video cho be” (video for kids) by Dao Cong Van, “Tieng Viet cho be” (Vietnamese language for kids) by Divmov group of authors, and “Baby tellers” have seen tens of thousands of downloads.

In the digital era, Hien said, when smart phones and tablets become so popular, using the apps on smart phones to teach students has become more and more popular. Therefore, educational apps should be seen as a profitable market IT firms should target for the near future.

However, IT firms seem to keep indifferent to the potential market, while having focused on other market segments which they believe can bring bigger profit.

IT firms focus on developing entertainment apps simply because they believe that entertainment apps would be more attractive to users, thus allowing to bring more clients to them.

Surveys have found out that besides making calls, receiving calls and sending messages, the owners of smart phones or tablets use the mobile devices for the entertainment. This could be reason prompting IT firms to develop more and more entertainment apps to serve clients.

Meanwhile, analysts have pointed out that the small size screens of mobile phones or tablets would be an obstacle that makes people hesitate to use the devices for learning.

Ha Than from Lac Viet frankly said that educational apps remain very poor, because app developers strive to the apps which can bring money immediately, such as entertainment apps or games, rather than the apps which have high investment rate and take long time to recover the investment capital.

Buu Dien

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