VNG, a leading Vietnamese gaming startup, aims to introduce an AI service for Vietnamese speakers akin to ChatGPT, diversifying its offerings for a US listing and building on its successful chat app. 

VNG, a prominent gaming startup in Vietnam, is working on launching an artificial intelligence (AI) service akin to ChatGPT tailored specifically for Vietnamese speakers. Their aim is to diversify revenue streams as they seek a listing in the US.

Backed by Tencent and Alibaba’s Ant Group, VNG’s chat app was more popular than Facebook in its home market. Recent enhancements include an added translation feature, with future plans to introduce a generative AI function capable of tasks such as email composition and answering queries.

Despite initial interest in ChatGPT among locals, its less accurate Vietnamese responses left room for a domestic contender in Vietnam’s rapidly expanding market of 100 million speakers.

VNG filed for an IPO on the Nasdaq in August but paused the launch due to challenging stock market conditions, which would have tested Vietnam’s strict capital controls.

VNG Vietnamese AI

Outlined in their August filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), VNG’s plans involved developing a Vietnamese large language model for content creation, translation, and chatbots. Analysts, however, raised concerns about potential challenges due to Vietnam’s ongoing digital censorship.

Originally a video game publisher established in 2004, VNG grew into a conglomerate with 34 subsidiaries, venturing into FinTech, data centres, Zing music service, and Zalo, a messaging app with 75 million users.

Beyond creating a ChatGPT competitor, VNG envisioned various AI applications, including a voice assistant akin to Alexa, game development, and facial recognition for campus access.

To reduce dependency on external sources for profits, VNG aimed to expand in-house game development, increase overseas sales, and convert players into ZaloPay wallet users during in-app purchases.

However, VNG has faced significant challenges this year when its widely-read outlet Zing News was suspended by local authorities in July.

VNG’s CEO Minh stressed compliance with content safety regulations, citing VNG Cloud’s adherence to Vietnam’s data storage rules. Still, VNG remained cautious, acknowledging the need for state and user consent and compliance with local privacy laws, which could potentially affect its business.

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