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Gapo looks to change social network experience

Released at: 07:47, 15/09/2019

Gapo looks to change social network experience

Photo: Viet Tuan

Vietnamese social network Gapo promises to bring a different experience to users.

by Ngoc Lan

After a period of piquing curiosity, Gapo, a Vietnamese social network created by the Gapo Technology Company, was officially launched on July 23 in Hanoi. 

Mr. Ha Trung Kien, Co-founder and CEO of Gapo, told VET that young people have too few choices when it comes to social networks and the associated risk in terms of information security, which drove the Gapo team to develop what it believes is a better social network. “Our team regularly uses social networks, of course, so the introduction of Gapo comes from our own desire and will be to the benefit of users,” he added.

Launched after only three months of development, which began in April, Mr. Kien said the decision to go to market so soon came from understanding demand among users, with it perfecting the app by securing user feedback and constantly adding new features to support them every time and everywhere.

Gapo will not directly compete with Facebook or any other social network and merely provides an alternative for users. A common feature of Gapo and social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is connecting friends through posting, commenting, and sharing, and providing an emotional quality, but Gapo differentiates itself by personalizing the user experience. 

Each user account has different options for decorating their “house”. The personal account interface can be customized with unlimited wallpapers and colors to express their aesthetic and identity. In the next stage of the project, users will be able to access more videos, music, or other interactive images. It also allows users to identify accounts to protect and secure their interests in case of a dispute. After registering for an account, Gapo ensures matters of security and safety for users, who won’t have to be concerned about losing their account or others accessing their account. 

Gapo has already officially received an investment commitment of VND500 billion ($21.4 million) from G-Capital, which will be used in the first phase of the project, targeting 50 million users by the end of 2021. Mr. Kien acknowledges this is an extremely ambitious and challenging figure. “But we believe in our team, who have many years of experience in AI, big data, and information security and have developed social networks with tens of millions of users,” he said.

In terms of monetization in subsequent phases, he told VET that by next year it will implement an advertising system, but this will depend on the user. “We will ensure Gapo’s revenue without affecting the user experience,” he said. At the launch ceremony, Gapo also said it will share revenue with users. Users need not be a KOL (key opinion leader), but if they have a lot of views they will be paid for the content they post.

More effort needed

Two days after the launch ceremony, Gapo’s users stood at 200,000. Many, however, said they had problems accessing the web version and the mobile app on Android and iOS. 

Mr. Ha Hai Binh from Hanoi’s Ha Dong district was unhappy about the errors he encountered in registering an account and logging in. “I received a notification that my phone number was recognized, but after registering I wanted to change the password and have them send a security code to the phone, but the system notified me that the phone number is not recognized,” he said. “It took me a lot of time to create an account. This type of issue needs to be corrected to gain more users.”

Other users received a notification that Gapo was experiencing service disruptions due to overload, and Gapo then suspended the system to address the problem. The web version was unavailable on July 23 and 24, while operations remained open on Android and iOS but have been unstable and with a slow connection speed.

The volume of traffic was simply too much, and the company apologized to users for the inconvenience. Many also question the appearance of Gapa, given that other new social networks such as VietnamTa and Hahalolo have failed to make much headway.

Mr. Kien said Gapo constantly improves to meet the needs and suggestions of users. He also pointed out many factors in its favor, including government policies supporting businesses to launch new social networks and financial support flowing from investors. More than a month on, it already has more than 1 million users. Mr. Kien believes only time and numbers will reveal whether Gapo is successful.  

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