Plingpay was invited by the Government of Vietnam, the Swedish Embassy and Business Sweden as one of a very select list of mostly larger companies and very few startups to join the Swedish Business delegation and participate the 50 year celebrations of Sweden as the first Western country recognizing Vietnam. At the time standing up for Vietnam, in the middle of the American war, came at a considerable diplomatic price, but today this special relation opens many doors for companies like ours building bridges between countries.
This has been a golden opportunity for Plingpay to meet with leading members of industry, high ranking officials, our partners and users, as well as get a genuine feel for the pulse and workings of the fastest growing market in the ASEAN region.
We also had the honor of personally meeting their royal highnesses the Crown Princess Viktoria- and Prince Daniel of Sweden as well as the chairman of the communist party in Hanoi who welcomed the business delegation to a state dinner at the beautiful gardens of the Palace of Litterature in Hanoi.
Momentous change for the Plingpay platform´s growth plans
In the course of the trip to Vietnam we entered discussions with a really important global player about a joint project and discussions are continuing in Stockholm. Joining forces with them could entirely change the scope of our operations and our global ambitions, there are a lot of synergies. More information will be revealed when appropriate.
Travelling Vietnam from Hanoi in the north to Ho Chi Minh City/ Saigon in the south we have met with business leaders, Fintech hubs, participated in conferences and been interviewed by national TV.
We also finally got the chance to meet in person both some of our customers and pictured below with our partner, the leading Bitcoin Exchange in Vietnam, VBTC, with founders Dominique and Phuong over some amazing giant Vietnamese pancakes and wearing casual clothes (finally).
One thing that we really take with us is the feeling of the country. Much of the Vietnam I had an opportunity to see during the trip, reminds of the China I knew as a student almost 20 years ago. The feeling of a country in rapid economic transition. With a 6% plus economic growth per year (fastest in ASEAN), new small and medium businesses popping up everywhere and an optimism for a better future as foreign businesses and production move in taking advantage of a business friendly environment with free trade agreements. Urbanization is rapid coupled with both the increasing living standards and the environmental problems that follow that when a large number of people can afford to replace their bikes with cars and motorbikes.
The present economic system is modelled after China´s approach to State Capitalism and the government´s hand remains strong even in the face of market reforms and many free trade agreements with foreign countries. Allthough Vietnam is considerably smaller then its large northern neighbor, its 100 million strong population is still sizable, and in the absence of a one child policy the population is quite young and birth rates remain high to the present day meaning that the problems with an aging population plaguing modern day Japan and which are at China´s horizon are very far away in Vietnam.
The e-commerce sector in Vietnam is somewhat underdeveloped. Though both new local companies like Momopay, Chinese giants like Alipay and Wechat and traditional Western card companies like Visa (there are only 6 million active Visa card in Vietnam including singlue usage digital ones) try, and that with the active help of banks who try to push for bank account ownership to go up from the present 30%, Vietnam remains strongly cash dependent. For savings it is even cash and physical gold and many digital payment platforms use cash as a deliverable.
Nonetheless the market is changing especially with the younger generation, and e-commerce is gaining ground. This transformative stage is a strong opportunity to grow with the domestic platforms as well and not least the distrtust of banks and traditional credit cards is something that could bode well for blockchain based solutions if there core functionalities could be explained to the general public.
Whether it is blockchain based or more traditional, the transformation of the Vietnamese Economy into electronic platforms is happening. Plingpay, which has been testing this market since 2017 is in an excellent position to take advantage of this shift and connecting it to the broader world.