Vietnamese turn Facebook into giant bazaar

Vietnamese turn Facebook into giant bazaar
A Facebook page selling electric vehicles.
PHOTO: Nikkei Asian Review

HANOI - Facebook is quickly gaining momentum as an online marketplace in Vietnam, with some using the social networking service to sell such big-ticket items as automobiles and even homes.

Vietnamese are generally wary of online shopping. But with Facebook, user comments and reviews let shoppers purchase with confidence.

Buy my car

In just a few days, nearly 300 people "liked" a Feb. 18 posting on a Facebook page of two-seater electric vehicles selling for 32 million dong to 50 million dong ($1,433 to $2,240). Some people left comments saying they wanted to buy them. Earlier, such commercial postings were mainly for food and cosmetics. But postings for much pricier items like cars, homes, jewelry, appliances and furniture have increased from around last year. Some sellers are individuals, while others are company employees posting on personal pages.

At least 300,000 people are estimated to sell merchandise on Facebook. The activity is allowed but is less common in other countries, including Japan.

A 34-year-old office worker sells cosmetics and apparel purchased from abroad, moving 200 million dong of items a month on average. She communicates with customers via the messaging function. She rents warehouse space to store inventories and ships merchandise via trusted couriers. "Thanks to comments from friends, many customers buy with a sense of assurance," she said. "I can't slack off, because I will get negative comments if I'm slow to ship."

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