Vietnam has taken a more hands-on role in the tech industry in the past few years. It’s slowly becoming one of the major suppliers for major tech companies around the world. Products, like Google’s Pixel phones, have shifted production away from China to be made in Vietnam – a small victory thanks to the ongoing trade war between America and China. This has extended to companies like Samsung which have chosen Vietnam to produce some of their smartphones due to reliable supply chains and low labour costs as China’s minimum wage increases steadily. These conditions have set the foundations for the country to take its first steps in producing its own international smartphone brand – Vsmart phone.
What is Vsmart?
Vsmart is a vietnamese brand that produces smartphones and other accessories. It has positioned itself in the budget and mid-range segment of the market.
Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest company, is the producer of these products. They will be using similar strategies to the ones used to bring other Vietnamese goods to international markets.
Vinfast has placed the company as a potential competitor to a now-dominated European car market since it presented its first production-model car at the Paris motor show.
Now: it intends to do the same with Vsmart as it continues to branch out into new markets.
It’s Vietnam’s answer to the Samsungs and Xiaomis of the world. As part of Vingroups tech division, Vsmart is the company’s first attempt to create a smartphone brand to compete domestically, as well as in international markets like Spain.
How does Vsmart compare against the competition?
Samsung and Oppo have nothing to fear just yet though. A Vsmart phone is typically targeted towards the entry and mid-level market of smartphone users. Most Vsmart phones are under 200 USD, which makes them affordable for the average person in Vietnam. Although these smartphones pack competitive specs for the price, they don’t have the speed or capabilities to compete at the upper end of the market.
The company has recently been criticised for sharing its designs with its competitors.The Vmsart Live, for example, has the same hardware as the Chinese branded Meizu 16xs. These similarities can be found in both the specs and the chassis of the devices. If it wasn’t for the logo on the rear of a Vsmart phone, and the Vietnamese text on the inside of the device, you’d hardly be able to tell the difference. This has prevented the company from carving out a meaningful identity in a saturated market. Though the company has stated that the designs of their smartphones will be solely theirs starting from March 2020.
Despite these limitations, Vsmart does have a few advantages. Most notably, its disruptive pricing. The Vmsart Live is the company’s most successful model thanks to being priced well below the competition. At 3.3 Million VND ( USD), this phone provides 6GB of Ram and a Snapdragon 675 processor with a 1080P+ display. In contrast, an equivalent Samsung phone (the Samsung A70) would set you back 6.7 million VND.
Vsmart Phone – Software experience
The software experience on a Vsmart phone is VOS – a modified version of Android. This changes certain aspects of the user experience, such as the appearance of icons and gesture navigation controls.
The camera app is also something that the team at Vsmart has engineered in-house. It includes beautifying filters and effects which are popular to the region.
Services like Vmessage and Vcall also enable free communication between devices. This is thanks to Vingroup’s relationship with local carriers. The end result is something akin to Apple’s Facetime and iMessages.
Where is it being produced?
All Vsmart phones are manufactured in Vietnam at their factory in Hai Phong city. In 2020, they expect to have all of their phone designs unique from their competitors as well. These will include more than just phones. A recent agreement with Google has enabled Vsmart to be licenced to produce Google Android Tv’s under its company name. In addition to this, a range of different smart devices like a smart speaker are in the works. This growing ecosystem of products will allow for the brand to build a loyal following, as well as incentivising itself to create products that are competitive.
Future Plans for Vsmart Phone
Like any new brand which starts with aggressive pricing to stand out, the end goal is to compete with more developed smartphone brands. VSmart is still far from being a household name, but it’s approaching a more revered status. Mid-range phones such as the Vsmart Aris Pro, are indicative of the brand gaining the confidence to compete with more expensive phones.
It might be a few years until a flagship Vsmart phone arrives to take on Samsung’s Galaxy line, but it almost seems like a certainty.
At the beginning of 2019, Vsmart’s market share started at just 2-3%. At its end, this rose to 6%. With the impressively low prices, and growing product line, Vsmart has made a sizable dent in the smartphone market here. As its role as a disrupter progresses, the opportunity to carve out an identity with its product lines will become more apparent. As of now, Vsmart is off to a promising start.
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