Making Apps: easily done, difficult to sell
Jul, 11 2013
The number of Vietnamese apps on Google Play, Appstore and Apple Store has been
increasing in accordance with the number of mobile devices in use. Tens of thousands of apps
have been made, but only 2 percent of them can bring money.
The information has been provided by Do Tuan Anh, Director of Appota, the firm specializing in
supporting to put apps to app stores.
Anh said in 2012, Appota put some 3,000 apps into stores, while the figure was 2,000 in the first
six months of 2013.
The production cost of apps depends on the quality and scale. Hoang Quoc Tuan, Deputy
Business Director of Mecorp, said the firm’s app division has 30 workers who can write 3-4 apps
Tuan estimates that an app costs VND120 million ($5.600) after considering the salaries paid to
“Mecorp’s apps are mostly the games for mobile phones and tablets, which sets high
requirements during the production process. Meanwhile, other apps would have lower costs,”
Nguyen Long, a first year student of RMIT University, says it costs some VND50 million to
write an app like the one allowing to identify a voice, which he has just written for BlackBerry
“The sum of VND50 million would be spent from the day of beginning to the completion, which
does not include the time needed to write the updates later. It takes me 3-4 months on average to
write an app,” Long said.
Also according to Long, app writers don’t have to spend money on business premises, while they
only have to pay for computers. Therefore, the salaries for the programmers are the main
expenses of apps.
In some cases, it costs only VND5 million, which is equal to the monthly basic salary of an
engineer, to write a simple app. However, Viet Phuong from CMN Online noted that one cannot
earn big money if he only writes simple apps.
It’s not easy to make money
Tran Tuan Anh, Director of mLab in the HCM City High Tech Park, said that an app can bring
money only if it has at least tens of thousands of downloads. Only by that time, production
enterprises or goods trade companies would spend money to book ads.
“I know some ads which can earn $200 per day just from the ad pieces,” Anh said.
Of the 500 apps which can bring money to the writers, the majority are games. Insiders have
whispered in each others’ ears that Minh Chau Company (MC Corp) can earn VND3 billion a
month from Minh Chau Tam Quoc game.
Meanwhile, according to Tuan, some of Mecorp’s games can also make money, but no more
than VND2 billion.
Regarding the income from writing apps, Long from RMIT said since early 2013, he can earn
some VND100 million from the two apps of recognizing voice and reading mails, messages on
mobile devices running on BlackBerry operation system.
There are numerous Vietnamese apps for mobile devices, according to experts, about tens of
thousands. However, most of the apps available at the app stores are free of charge, while only 2
percent of them can bring money.
Analysts have noted that app writers find it difficult to ear money from their products, and that
Google does not allow Vietnamese to sell apps on Google Play, if the owners don’t have foreign