An illustration picture shows the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone. Photo: Reuters
Mobile applications for cab hailing services such as GrabTaxi and Uber have been named Vietnam's biggest consumer hit last year by the Nikkei.
The ranking, part of the Japanese newspaper's annual list of Asia's biggest consumer successes, was based on its resident reporters' interviews and reports, its English publication Nikkei Asian Review said on Thursday.
Taxi-hailing apps became trendy in Vietnam following the arrival of the US-based service Uber in 2014, it said. Soon after that the Malaysia-based startup GrabTaxi entered the country, where taxis are so prevalent that they have been more than once blamed for worsening traffic congestion.
Riding on the popularity of smartphones, the services quickly became popular here. It forced many local taxi companies such as Vinasun to launch their own apps. Even the transport ministry planned to create its own Uber-like service.
Appota Corp. in March last year reported that the country had 22 million smartphone users.
Condominiums, organic veggies
Ranked second on the Nikkei's list were condominiums which saw strong sales increases in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, as Vietnam's property market started recovering.
A recent report by real estate market research company CBRE Vietnam said 36,160 units were sold in Ho Chi Minh City last year, a record increase of 98 percent from the previous year.
Savills Vietnam, another research company, reported early this week that a record number of more than 30,000 apartments were put up for sales in Hanoi last year, nearly 80 percent of which were sold.
As more and more Vietnamese have grown anxious about the safety of vegetables imported from China, organic produce became the third biggest hit among local consumers last year, according to the Nikkei.
Dozens of online sellers of organic produce have been popular among middle-incomers long before authorities in Ho Chi Minh City moved to collaborate with local producers to open hundreds of outlets around the city at the end of last year, making safely grown products more accessible to consumers.