A new social networking app, Gapo, sought to take on Facebook in Vietnam, with the aim of attracting 20 million users by the start of 2021, Reuters reported.
The app closely mimics Facebook’s appearance and features, letting users create individual profiles and posts, view activity on a news feed and chat privately via a messaging tab. It will also feature music content via a partnership with Sony Music Entertainment.
The effort is backed by a $21.5 million investment from Vietnamese technology company G-Group, and comes as part of a government push to create domestic versions of popular US apps such as Facebook and YouTube.
In a statement, G-Group chief Ha Trung Kien said consumers and businesses in the country rely “too much on Facebook as there are not so many social networks for them to choose from”. But Gapo wants to change that, aiming to reach 3 million subscribers by the end of 2019 and grow to 20 million by January 2021, Reuters said.
Both Facebook and YouTube faced pressure in the country since a restrictive new cybersecurity law, which prohibits internet users from organising against the government and spreading “negative and toxic” information, took effect in January.
Facebook was accused of running afoul of the law less than two weeks after its implementation, and in June, officials in Vietnam called on companies to stop advertising on YouTube channels which air anti-government content.