Currently, only Zalo’s messaging feature is successful.
Despite attracting 71 million users in Vietnam, Zalo cannot plan to become a super app. This is information that Zalo COO Nguyen Cong Chinh shared with TechinAsia in a recent interview. Accordingly, Mr. Chinh shared, the company is prioritizing the messaging feature instead of integrating other additional features.
Founded in 2014, Zalo – part of VNG company has now surpassed global competitors such as Facebook Messenger and WhatApp in terms of both downloads and monthly active users.
In 2020, TechinAsia analyzed why Zalo can better integrate with products across the VNG ecosystem, especially the payment application ZaloPay. However, Chinh reconfirmed that such features are not a priority for the platform.
The most popular social networking platforms in Vietnam (Percentage of people aged 16-64 using social networks monthly).
He added that Zalo is now “profitable” and their ad revenue “has grown significantly” over the past two years. However, do not share more details. This chat application currently processes 2 billion messages per day, they recently launched End-to-End Encryption (E2EE) – an encryption method that only the sender and receiver can understand this encrypted message to compete with WhatsApp and Telegram.
Like WeChat in China, Kakao in Korea and Line in Japan, Zalo’s success is largely due to understanding the local culture. However, while WeChat and Kakao have succeeded in building an ecosystem around the chat application, Zalo has not been able to do so.
Zalo currently has dozens of features on the platform, allowing users to shop, pay bills or search for a local store. However, none of these apps have become as popular as the chat feature.
Starting on August 1, the platform says it will charge for business accounts and limit free features for individual users.
This move has analysts questioning whether Zalo will be less competitive when users can flock to other free alternative apps.