Enterprises are making the shift to online marketing and advertising, according to chairman of the Vietnam Internet Association (VIA), Vu Hoang Lien.

Speaking at a recent conference on the occasion of this year's Internet Day in Hanoi , Lien said that online marketing is having an increasingly significant impact on internet users, adding that advertising on traditional media remains dominant at this time.

"Each Vietnamese customer spends around 120 USD per year on average for online shopping. Compared with other Asian countries, the number is still small but there is tremendous potential to develop e-commerce," he said.

"In Vietnam , 48 percent of e-commerce websites have payment tools but the weak payment tools limit transactions. Domestic e-commerce does not yet have a reputation to attract foreign users."

According to VIA, 36 percent of the population is using the internet. Users can access the internet in various ways, including through fixed broadband, Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Lines (ADSL), fibre optics and TV cables.

Currently, Vietnam ranks 15th among countries with high-speed internet, with the VIA forecasting that Vietnam would have 35 million users by 2017.

Also at the Dec. 4 conference in Hanoi, Le Thi Ngoc Mo, deputy director of the Ministry of Information and Communication's Telecommunications Department, said total revenues of internet service providers (ISP) in Vietnam reached 15 trillion VND (more than 714 million USD) last year, with 5 trillion VND (238 million USD) coming from 3G network services.

Despite dramatic growth occurring in the sector, the number of ISP licences declined by 30 with only 55 licences being granted.

Trinh Quang Chung, business solutions manager at Google Asia Pacific, said that eight out of ten users said they had searched product information on the web before deciding to buy them and 41 percent believed that the search results were useful.

He said that some small-sized and medium enterprises only built their own websites yet did not create their mobile versions. "It is regretful that they cannot approach customers on mobile phones and do not take care of a strategy of turning website visitors into loyal customers," he said.

Le Hong Minh, chief executive officer of VNG Corporation, said his company, which conducts operations across all internet service areas, has noticed businesses in a wide range of fields moving online.

"Between 2009 and 2013, the number of internet users increased by 1.7 times but broadband capacities have climbed 7.5 times compared with the previous period (2005-09). It shows that the growth of service revenue has been on the rise because users have utilised different devices to access the internet," he said.

Minh expects that the number of internet users will reach 60 million and total revenues of internet services and content will be 100 trillion VND (4.7 billion USD) by 2018.-VNA