Visiting Ho Chi Minh City is one of the best adventure of my life

As a contributor to the UX industry, I seldom use the technical term “UX” or “User Experience” in conversation. To me, UX is a mindset and I like to use simple words to communicate with people and observe people’s behavior in different countries. (Yes, it may sound like a creepy person on the road or in the coffee shop.) Having traveled a lot in the last few years, my week adventure in Ho Chi Minh City has by far surpassed my expectation and drive in any other city I’ve seen. If you ask me how to describe Ho Chi Minh City in 3 words, I would say: Young, Attitude and Global.

Why Young?

According to the “Multiple challenges facing Vietnamese youth: report” released on 23rd, Nov 2017, Vietnamese youth are currently defined as those aged between 16 and 30 and account for 25.7% of the population. Especially in Ho Chi Minh City, you can easily see lots of youth in school but also in the coffee shop studying, reading, and chatting.

Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology

During my trip, I had the privilege to visit one of renowned Vietnamese IT company Sutrix Solution near the airport. The office is pretty new, well-designed and relaxed for employees. There are around 400+ developers and most of them are under 25, providing service/solutions for global enterprises. The founder is Vietnamese American and had several years of IT experiences in the US and returned to Vietnam to start his business. When I visited the office, I can feel the energy that these young Vietnamese strive for with their positive momentum towards their goals (something like that? Like goals/life).

Speaker Badge

Additionally, it’s an honor to have been invited by the UX Practitioner Vietnam to share my experiences from Asia to United States and Europe and some real cases by using UXTesting to do remote testing with their community. Most of the attendees were very young, innovative, open-minded and eager to learn. Although there were only a few local companies that understand the difference between UI and UX. Many young UI designers who attended wanted the opportunity to learn how to become real ux designers or obtain UX jobs in the company. By interacting with these young students and professionals in Vietnam I can fully understand the potential of power in this city.

Talented and Innovative UXers and Designers from VN

Attitude?

Why do I mention attitude? The youth population of Ho Chi Minh City really loves their City and Country and is proud of being HCMer (I’m not sure whether they use this word but my point is that that they respect and recognize they’re from HCM.)

Most of the youth I met can explain the history and stories of HCM and were proud and excited to teach me Vietnamese! :) I can’t say I’m a good learner, but they said my pronunciation is pretty good. I would like to point out that, if young generation can recognize their city and are willing to share with foreigners, it’s a good sign this city will be very diverse and attract foreigners to come and live here.

Coffee Apartment

When visiting HCM you can easily request a local tour through non profit organizations run by students. Saigon Free Walking Tours is one of famous choice for tourists. The student guides can all speak fluent English and fully understand the history and story of the renowned buildings.

As the Vietnamese economy continues to boom, it is vital for young Vietnamese to learn and invest in their skill sets to thrive alongside their countries growth. One important value I learned during my own startup journey is empowering or influencing a community does not take an abundance of wealth. in fact it is determination, persistence and dedication for the long haul that will allow you to make an impact not through wealth. but i think it is also important to say that wealth is an important factor too you need it to also drive things…that is the reality of society. That’s why when I share my entrepreneurship to young Vietnamese students and startup founders, I talked about thinking of long-term plan or strategy. Quick money can go as quickly as it came.

Meet VN friends at Industrial design coffee shop

Global City

It is a fact that the lower cost of labor attracts global enterprises coming to Ho Chi Minh or I should say Vietnam. I would like to continue to elaborate on the youth from here, most of young Vietnamese I met, they can speak fluent English and have received good education from famous universities in Vietnam or abroad. For instance, in District 1 of HCM, though the cost of living may be high it is a area for expats and English speakers.

Because of Vietnam’s history, HCM has had American and French influences surrounding its city. However, nowadays you can find a diverse range of nationalities within the city wall that makes this place so vibrant.With multiple cultures and languages combined with the big consumer market, there is no doubt Vietnam has great potential in the future as a global player in the market with 96M populations.

High Quality Coffee shop- The Workshop Coffee

What I see?

When I visit new cities, I like to observe what’s their popular services and to interview locals to see or analyze what’s for next or business opportunities. Hope it helps you more.

E-commerce

The e-commerce industry is pretty competitive here with key players LAZADA Vietnam™, Thegioididong.com and Tiki.vn. Alibaba to invest 1 billion dollars into Lazada to make Lazada bigger and dominate this industry with 40.82M revenue. I didn’t buy anything online here but luckily I met UX designer and interaction designer from Lazada during my trip this time.

Sharing Economy
GrabBike Servive

Grab and Uber are the key players for taxi service here. But, my observation and conversations with locals tell me that Grab has a better market share than Uber. From one of my friend’s feedback, Grab successfully attracts the user behavior to allow driver and passenger to transact by cash. Uber didn’t get this insight so that is why Grab is popular here. The most interesting part of these public transport services for me is GrabBike (Motobike) or UberBike In Vietnam you can experience the real Vietnamese lifestyle in the city by hopping on a Grabbike or Uberbike. Don’t worry, safety first, these riders will also provide you a helmet! Mai Linh Bike is the one of famous local branding for motobike services.

Online Payment

When you travel to Vietnam, you will understand the local people still relying on cash a lot. For example, Grab and Uber are popular here, and you can choose to pay cash when you arrive at your destination.For those of you who don’t know, there are a lot of zeros behind a Vietnamese Dong is pretty big, everyone can be Millionaire. So someday I believe online payment will be popular soon.

Currently, online payment in Vietnam is competitive. Momo is very active and you can use their payment service at popular area or store. GrabPay can only be used for payment fare for Grab service, it’s not like Momo which can be used at real stores. It is clear that Grab has a large share in the Vietnamese market and is waiting for the right timing to strike when Vietnamese behaviors have changed to be able to adapt to new services

Food Delivery

The key players are Vietnammm.com Eat.vn HungryPanda and Goimon.vn. This industry is not new, most of players started since 2013. Through my observations, I didn’t see many food deliverer, perhaps they weren’t wearing uniforms so I was unable to tell how often food delivery services are used.

I am starting to share my thoughts and observations of my travels in other countries or cities. I really enjoy learning about other cultures and interacting with locals to share, learn, grow and build friendships and opportunities.

Lastly, any feedback or comments you may have is greatly appreciated!