Vietnamese eCommerce site Lingo.vn closed suddenly yesterday, without a word of goodbye to its legion of Vietnamese fans.
The closing of Lingo.vn was clearly a sudden decision, especially as it had been running a promotion on its Facebook page, which was supposed to last until today, (August 3).
According to an inside source, the company will permanently close the brand and site, and axe 160 of its 190 staff, leaving just 30 to work on another eCommerce site called Topmot.vn.
The B2C site Lingo.vn was established in August 2011 by VMG Media after the Japanese company NTT Docomo invested in the company. In 2014, Lingo.vn was separated into Lingo eCommerce, and received funds from Yellow Star Investment, with the expectation it would become the largest eCommerce website in Vietnam.
However, after two years of trying, it seemed Lingo.vn could not achieve commercial viability.
The exit of Lingo.vn illustrates the cut-throat nature of Vietnam’s eCommerce market. Last year saw the withdrawals of big names such as Deca.vn, mum and kids Beyeu.vn, with the same reason of “not enough investment”. Other sites were sold to foreign corporations: Lazada was sold to Alibaba, Zalora to Thailand’s Central Group, Foodpanda.vn was acquired by local rival Vietnammm.
From another perspective, it seems the investors of Lingo.vn were wise to stop pouring more and more money and resources into a failing business model.
Meanwhile, Central Group and Lotte Mart have announced they will ramp up their eCommerce projects in Vietnam, hopefully overcoming the barriers that have trapped smaller players.