Sunday, May 21

Vietnam: The Youth of Today

It's about 32C, pretty humid and there's a woman selling vegetables wearing a connicle hat right next to me. And I'm wi-fi'd to the net. Vietnam is waking quickly from its communist slumber but still carries the charms of its past.

The driving force behind this change is an enormous young population, 70% of Vietnam's citizens are under the age of 30, that's over 60 million people. And culturally the new generation are strikingly similar to everyone else of their age around the world. Borders are beginning to matter less and less.

I walked into a gaming cafe today to see what goes on. It was 8:30am, I was surprised to find it open, but more suprised to find a dark room packed with over 100 gamers who had kept their places all night. The decor was manga style - just like any other similar cafe around the world.

In Vietnam there is almost no technology adoption curve. Children from ten upwards know Yahoo Web Chat, watching TV shows online, streaming music, playing games, taking part in forums and gaming. So if something new comes along that is good, they're completely open to try it. Compare this to the UK/USA, where the introduction of technology is often a slow education process because of the wide variety of age groups.

It's an inspiring place to be. Despite some deep routed nationalism for the UK, I can't help thinking that VN will overtake the UK in consumer internet within a five years, maybe less. All this will be driven by Vietnam's youth of today, made up of hard-core gamers and fast moving entrepreneurs.


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