Chinese phone invasion raises concerns about information security

Experts have voiced their concern about Chinese phone products in the domestic market, warning that there are latent risks about information insecurity.

Reports by phone distribution chains all show that Chinese smartphone market share in Vietnam has been increasing significantly.

Chinese companies have been taking full advantage of the influence of Vietnamese celebrities, whom they hire as brand ambassadors, to step by step penetrate the Vietnamese market. 

They also have been following an effective business strategy by focusing on models with designs attractive to young people, with high configuration and low prices. With prices of between VND4 million and VND10 million.

Oppo, the Chinese brand, was an ‘unknown rookie’ three years ago in the market, which was dominated by big names like Samsung, HTC or Nokia (before it was sold to Microsoft).

Oppo now holds 22% of the Vietnamese smartphone market share, according to GfK.

Not only Oppo, but other Chinese brands, from Huawei, Vivo to ZTE, Elephone, Gionee, Lenovo, TCL, Xiaomi, Oukitel and Coolpad also have expanded their market share in Vietnam.

A source said the Chinese manufacturer Huawei is considering employing and training 800 Product Girls who will work at Huawei’s shops and sale points in five large cities throughout the country.

Vivo, another Chinese name, which entered Vietnam in mid-2016, seems to have even more ambitious plan than Huawei -- aiming for 15-20% of market share by 2017.

In mid-2017, Vivo signed a contract with Tran Thanh, a Vietnamese MC and artist on the artist’s role as the brand ambassador. 

Nguyen Ai Viet, head of the Information Technology Institute, an arm of the Hanoi National University, said in fact, the risks from Chinese technologies and telecom devices have been repeatedly warned about for a long time.

“The US has given warnings about the danger of Chinese telecom devices to the country’s security,” Viet said, adding that Huawei and ZTE Corporation have the highest risk.

Chinese telcos can win the bids for telecom equipment thanks to the Chinese policy which gives support to companies which win contracts in some countries.

Nguyen Truong Thang from the Vietnam Academy of Science & Technology commented that the technology reliance is the highest risk in modern times, especially technologies related to the nation’s infrastructure such as information, telecommunication, finance & banking, energy and transport.

Minister of Information and Communication Truong Minh Tuan at a recent government press conference confirmed that Vietnamese telecom networks mostly use equipment from China.

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