Google CEO's Vietnam visit gives hope to local startups

Google CEO Sundar Pichai's visit to Vietnam gives hope to people in the local startup community that they could succeed globally.

Speaking to about 200 people in a cafe in central Hanoi on Tuesday, Pichai said he did not see any reason why Vietnam would not be successful globally, given the size of the local market, high Internet usage and the strong entrepreneurial culture.

"I think it's just a matter of time, and I think many of you are already working on something like that," he said.

Pichai said Vietnamese startups can learn from the experiences of those in India that started locally, and "once they get the strength they can take it outside."

He added Vietnamese startups may not reach a global scale at once, but they can team with entrepreneurs from other countries in the region and "can use that strength to launch something global."

Pichai said Vietnam is growing into a big market and the people who serve it will gain the confidence to think bigger, which helps them achieve global success.

Pham Huu Ngon, owner of a local transportation startup using technology, says Pichai's visit will inspire others.

"His visit inspires the startup community and engineers in Vietnam," Ngon said. "Given Vietnam's high Internet and usage, we can do good locally and then expand to the countries in the region."

Government figures show 52 percent of Vietnam's 93 million people use the Internet and the country has 128 million .

Ngon said Pichai's position as CEO of Google "gives hope to the Vietnamese community that a Vietnamese can lead a major company in the world." Pichai, born in India, was appointed Google CEO in August.

Earlier Pichai met with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, the government said.

Dung told Pichai that as Vietnam deepens its international integration, the communist government creates favorable conditions for international technology and information corporations including Google to expand business in Vietnam, the government said on its website.

It quoted Pichai as saying Google will help train about 1,400 IT engineers in Vietnam to develop the industry and Vietnam's society and economy.

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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