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Competitors stake out growing market for chat software

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Competition in the free chat software market has become stronger than ever with the participation of a lot of large technology groups, both foreign and domestic.

The Republic of Korea’s Kakao software firm last month officially joined the Vietnamese market. Kakao Talk software allows free SMS messaging in all smart phone operation systems including Androit, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Bada.

Kakao Talk is available in 13 languages and has 75 millions users from 230 countries all over the world.

The free chat available market has become even more crowded since China’s Tencent launched its international version of WeChat in Vietnam last April.

Other foreign giants such as Line Facebook Messenger, Viber, Whatsapp and Yahoo Messenger are also present in the Vietnamese market.

Kakao director Hwang Sung Hwan said the Vietnamese free chat software market has real potential in Vietnam due to the growing number of smart phone users.

The senior executive said he could see competition in the market increasing, and in order to compete in Vietnam , Kakao Talk would have to pay more attention to the “localisation” of utilities to compete with its rivals.

Having realised the attractiveness of the free messaging software market, domestic internet providers are trying to get involved.

While knowing that the market has been controlled by foreign giants, VNG still “joined the game” by launching Zalo in mid 2012. To date, Zalo has been launched on iOS, Androit and Nokia S40.

As a newcomer to the market, Zalo has made a giant leap to conquer the domestic market. It has reached an agreement with Nokia to integrate the Zalo application into Nokia’s Asha 305, 306, 308, 309 and Asha 311 that will be launched this month.

Zalo is also available at the Nokia Store for S40, S60 users.

The free messaging software market has also attracted startup firms as well as IT giants.

In late 2012, Wala released the Wala Chat app to become the eighth service provider in the domestic free messaging software market.

Nguyen Thanh Hoa, the founder of Wala, said they are following an ambitious plan to develop the app into a platform for the mobile environment, which would become an ecosystem for valuable content services for enterprises and the Wala using community to exploit. -VNA