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Business  30, Apr 2014

Will Vietnam be Southeast Asia’s newest freelancing star?

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Youth will usher the rise of Vietnam as Southeast Asia’s freelancing star. The youth face triple the country’s domestic unemployment rate

The recent data on Freelancer’s growth in Southeast Asia revealed interesting insights in the region—while Jakarta leads the rest of the cities by number of users registering on the platform (close to 19,000 new users), Ho Chi Minh was clearly the winner by percent of increase.

Over the past year, users from the city grew by 194.1%, surprisingly trumping Jakarta (69.5%) and Manila (75.3%)–the capital cities of the top Southeast Asian countries on Freelancer.  Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, was also trailing close behind, with 130.5% user growth.

While Vietnam has a long way to go to catch up with Indonesia and the Philippines, the surge of users from the country is signaling the entry of a new freelancing star in the region—something which startups from developed countries should take note.

Fast Internet Paving the Way for E-Commerce & Online Jobs Boom
Coinciding with this, a recent Viet Nam News report highlighted an anticipated growth in e-commerce sales: the Viet Nam E-commerce and Information Technology Agency (VECITA) predicts over US$4 billion in sales by 2015, thanks to growing internet use and fast economic development.

Also Read: Want to sell your stuff in Vietnam? Get flea-market style app ChoLon++

This comes to no surprise. With the third fastest average internet speed in Southeast Asia (13.3mbps, behind Singapore’s 61 mbps and Thailand’s 17.7 mbps) and now more than 30 million internet users (34.0% of its population), Vietnam is not just paving the way for an imminent e-commerce boom, but also opportunities to professionals seeking career growth and work setups outside traditional employment structures—especially to the unemployed 72,000 who have attained at least a college level education.

Startups and small businesses from the US, Australia, and the UK are among the top employers of Vietnamese talent on Freelancer.com, getting professionals for various PHP- and WordPress-related projects, as well as web and graphic design work.

Tapping the Vietnamese youth’s potentia
Though the number of jobs in Vietnam has risen during the last quarter of 2013, the International Labor Organization (ILO) reported that Vietnamese youth’s 5.95% unemployment rate is triple of the domestic unemployment rate during the same period.

“Difficulties in obtaining jobs even for well-educated young people signal a lack of sufficient job opportunities,” ILO noted in its Global Unemployment Trends 2014 report. “Their increasingly high joblessness and more difficult transition to the labor market may act as a constraint to the economy in the medium to long term if their challenges are left unaddressed.”

Keen on our mission to create valuable partnerships among small businesses and professionals from both developed and developing countries, Freelancer has been working on making online freelancing as a viable career path for professionals, including Vietnamese youth.

Also Read: Pocket guide to Vietnam’s mobile market in 2014

In July last year,  just as we hit our 8 million users milestone (we are now nearing 11 million users today), we launched Freelancer in Vietnamese, along with 9 other languages. These and the introduction of various features and services (like the newest Freelancer Messenger Android app), we at Freelancer hope to assist more young professionals into finding professional opportunities online.

Like what we’ve said before, we know that this is a growing market with a lot of potential. If there’s one sector which will usher Vietnam’s rise as Southeast Asia’s freelancing star, we’re optimistic that it will be the Vietnamese youth.

The views are of the author and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them.

e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested to share your point of view, please send us an email to writers[at]e27[dot]co

Evan Tan

Evan Tan

Evan Tan is the Regional Director for Southeast Asia of Freelancer.com, the world’s largest outsourcing and crowdsourcing marketplace by number of users and projects. The platform connects over 9,000,000 employers and freelancers globally from over 247 countries, regions and territories. Through the marketplace, employers can hire skilled professionals from around the world to do work in a range of areas, including, software development, writing, design, engineering, the sciences, sales, marketing, accounting and legal services.

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