VIETNAM: Will Sell Site for Laughs

YVONNE EPPS WRITES — From the moment you open Tumblr, 4chan, or Reddit, you’re laughing up a storm. We’re lucky that this is all in English for the American audience, but Vietnam isn’t far behind with their own growing chuckle site.

The popular start-up site HaiVL was allegedly acquired by 24h Online Advertising JSC for about $1.5 million according to TuoiTreNews. HaiVL adopts the 9GAG model as an online platform to upload and share funny pictures, gifs, videos, memes, and geeky photos. They are currently highly successful, gaining 4.4 million followers on Facebook within their first year. Phan Minh Tam, 24h’s general director, believes that the deal was a “good marriage.” 24h owns some of the most popular media sites in the country, so it would only make sense that they would decide to join forces with HaiVL.  But will this be a match made in heaven or hell?

You can’t help but feel nervous about this news as companies merging or buying each other out can have very negative outcomes. When Google bought Youtube, for example, frequent format changes and unfair copyright strikes affected the user base.  But since Yahoo bought Tumblr back in 2013, nothing major has happened…yet.

Tech in Asia is concerned about the amount of money in the deal as the low amount of $1.5 million doesn’t seem to reflect the great demand for entertainment sites. HaiVL has amassed a great deal of followers in such a short amount of time and is considered the most popular entertainment site for the Vietnamese.  Tech in Asia also revealed that HaiVL was not acquired, but rather invested in by 24h, citing the Vietnamese only ICTNews as its source.

Vietnamese media consumers want a good laugh just like everyone else. Whether it’s a cute kitty gif  or philosophical raptor meme, HaiVL stands as an encouraging example to other potential start-ups, but also acts as a warning regarding the dangers that can affect media as it climbs the corporate ladder.


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