Though not official, it has become clear that Facebook has been blocked in Vietnam for a good while now. Access is intermittent at best and only the tech-savvy few can circumvent the block. However, as of last week, that appears to have changed.
FPT, Vietnam’s telecom giant, signed into partnership with Facebook last week.
Yes, this is the same FPT that many accused of shutting down Facebook. With the new partnership, FPT will help promote and sell ads for Facebook. FPT will also consult in developing the Facebook application especially for the Vietnam market.
This is a huge, and surprising step for Vietnam. First, it further opens the channel for Vietnamese people to be part of the global network (Facebook is 500 million members strong). Second, it is an indicator that Vietnam has a willingness to deviate from the policies of its neighbor to the north. It is easy to be cynical and question the motives behind the partnership, but at the end of the day it is a move in the right direction that will ultimately benefit Vietnamese consumers.
We will keep a close eye to see if and when access to Facebook will be restored in Vietnam. If you currently live in Vietnam, let us know.
Source: PC World Vietnam (In Vietnamese)
Addendum: Are our 2011 predictions slowly manifesting after all? (Albeit different from how we imagined.)