On a drizzly afternoon at AcademyEX, a diverse crowd of edtech founders gathered in-person while others joined online, to explore the rapidly emerging Vietnamese EdTech market. The event, “EdTech Market Deep Dive: Vietnam”, presented by EdTechNZ and VietTechNZ, was a rich exploration of the opportunities and challenges inherent in penetrating this dynamic market, fuelled by a youthful, tech-savvy populace.
A Land of Opportunity
The opening dialogue of the session started off by panelists remarking on the strong cultural foundation of education in Vietnam. Despite being a developing country, education holds a special place in the country’s social fabric.
Madelize Bekker (EduMaxi) enlightened the audience on the second language learning market, highlighting the potential of using artificial intelligence to make language learning fun and engaging. She drew attention to the demand for high-quality English language learning, particularly at the early learning stage.
Peter Dong (ByteEd) pointed out the urgent need to upskill or reskill Vietnam’s human capital, indicating a significant opportunity for EdTech solutions targeting fundamentals of computing science and other tech fields. He mentioned the potential of AI to scale and create bespoke programmes to match the country’s unique cultural needs.
Additional opportunities discussed included the wide range of potential students across early childhood, K12, and higher education. The panelists also pointed to the potential for export of homegrown EdTech solutions and the opportunity to enter both B2B and B2C markets.
One unique prospect mentioned was the Vietnamese government’s launch of a new curriculum in 2023, offering additional avenues for enrichment opportunities in the EdTech space. However, it was pointed out that regulations might pose roadblocks, especially for younger learners.
Tackling the Challenges
True to the entrepreneurial spirit, it was emphasised that every challenge presents an opportunity to solve a problem.
One of the biggest challenges discussed was the size of the Vietnamese market. Building trust and strong relationships can be difficult in such a large and diverse country. Hence, showing genuine value and quality, not just selling a product, was advised.
The panelists also touched on the political dimension of tech in Vietnam. They recommended working province by province, due to differing local cultural and political contexts.
Other challenges included the digital divide between urban and rural areas, resistance to change in traditional learning institutions, and the lack of a robust payment infrastructure. The importance of having feet on the ground, forming strategic partnerships, and understanding the cultural nuances were emphasised.
As the event wrapped up, it was clear that the Vietnamese EdTech market offers tremendous opportunities. However, penetrating it successfully requires deep understanding, strategic planning, and a respect for the unique cultural, political, and economic landscape of the country. It was an enlightening deep dive into an exciting new frontier for EdTech.
The optimistic atmosphere that surrounded the discussion resonated well with the panel’s concluding remark: “If you have a challenge, you have an opportunity to solve it.” As the participants left the room or logged off, it was with a sense of understanding and eagerness to explore this burgeoning market in the heart of Southeast Asia.
Darcy Vo (AcademyEX), Madelize Bekker (EduMaxi), Peter Dong (ByteEd)
Taylor Tran, Alison Mackie, Jessie Le