State launches Vietnamese social website

Minister of Information and Communications, Le Doan Hop, gave the order on May 19 to open www.goonline.vn, the first State-created website for social networking. 

Minister Hop expressed his hope that Goonline.vn, designed by the state-owned Vietnam Multimedia Corporation, will become an online university: an internet site that provides visitors with useful information about Vietnam’s history, traditions, life-style and culture.  Moreover, he envisions Goonline.vn as the new home for the Vietnamese internet community.

The concept known as “social networking” has become a worldwide phenomena and is hardly unknown among Vietnamese internet users. 

However, after Yahoo announced in July 2009, that it was shutting down Yahoo! 360°, a personal communication portal that included blogging and photo sharing services, the Vietnamese market grew somewhat indifferent to social networking .

To take advantage of the situation and satisfy user demand, private Vietnamese companies began constructing their own social networking websites, including, ZingMe, Yume, Tamtay, and Yobanbe. Therefore, a manager of the Ministry of Information and Communications asserted the government should create a social networking website that provides a sound venue for the Vietnamese internet community.

Luu Vu Hai, Director General of the Directorate of Broadcasting and Electronic Information under the Ministry of Information and Communications, said when Vietnam agreed to receive international services such as internet, after the country joined World Trade Organization, both positive and negative impacts would occur. 

Managing the dissemination of information available on foreign websites has been a massive challenge for the government, Hai said. Hence, the government decided the country needed a homemade social networking website to compete with its foreign counterparts and attract community attention to the educational potential of the internet.

Nguyen Lam Thanh, deputy head of VTC, said Goonline.vn focuses on the nexus between entertainment and education and aims to serve approximately four million users. However, in 2009, the Associated Press said around one million Vietnamese users joined Facebook, a foreign social networking website. ZingMe, a Vietnamese-made website, also attracted a large number of people.

Considering these numbers, Goonline.vn faces a challenge in fulfilling its vision of achieving four million users. Although it receives the government’s support, the potential of the project remains uncertain.

By Tran Luu - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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