How to Localize Your App for Vietnam

Justin Duckersby 
App Growth Consultant at AppTweak

11 min read

With an estimated GDP of $362.64 billion in 2021 and an expected GDP growth rate of around 7% in 2022, Vietnam is the fastest-growing major economy in Southeast Asia. Localizing your apps and games in Vietnam is, therefore, essential to succeed in this market. So, what do you need to consider when localizing your app or game for Vietnam? We have gathered all the information and tips you need to know to localize your app/game successfully.

Mobile landscape in Vietnam

iOS vs Google Play

According to Statcounter (October 2022), Android occupies almost 70% of the market share in Vietnam. Since the average income in Vietnam is not high, many people opt for affordable smartphones with Android running on them rather than iPhone.

Nevertheless, iOS still occupies a little more than 30% of the Vietnam market share. So the App Store shouldn’t be overlooked in Vietnam. If you intend to launch your app in Vietnam, we recommend you to make it available for both Android and iOS, but keep Android as your priority.

Percentage of Android vs iOS users in Vietnam

Source: Statcounter – GlobalStats, 2022

Top apps in Vietnam

The top charts for apps in Vietnam are shared between local and non-local developers, with a majority of apps localizing their metadata and creatives for the Vietnamese market.

In terms of app preferences, the Vietnamese lean more toward video players, social, communication, shopping, and tools apps. On iOS, the Entertainment category is also very popular. These categories currently generate the most downloads for app developers. Most of the top 10 free apps on the Play Store belong to one of these categories (Communication, Tools, Communication, and Shopping).

Top 10 apps and games in the Vietnamese mobile market
Top 10 apps and games in the Vietnamese mobile market.

Mobile gaming landscape in Vietnam

Mobile games are very popular in Vietnam. The country generates the most game downloads worldwide (#10). With an estimated game revenue of USD 61.6M, Vietnam is a more profitable game market than the United Kingdom.

Action, Arcade, Casual, and Puzzle games are the most popular game genres in Vietnam.

Similarly to the apps’ top charts, the games’ top charts in Vietnam are shared between local and non-local developers with a slightly stronger presence of one or the other depending on the category. Metadata and creatives are very often localized, and only a few leading worldwide games rank in the top 10 charts without doing so.

To penetrate the Vietnamese mobile game market, multiple foreign game developers rely on Vietnamese game publishers to publish and promote their games in Vietnam. Several big names stand out among these Vietnamese game publishers, including VNG Corporation (published the popular Chinese MOBA from Moonton Mobile Legends: Bang Bang), and Gamota (published the Chinese real-time strategy game from Lilith Games Rise of Kingdom).

Learn the basics of localization with this simple step-by-step guide.

Mobile developers should not miss this huge opportunity to tap into the Vietnamese app market. To help you, we have listed the different elements to keep in mind when localizing your app/game into Vietnamese.


  • Vietnamese, with its unique 29-character Roman-influenced alphabet, lacks the characters F, J, W, and Z. When you’re translating from English to Vietnamese, expect a 30-35% increase in space requirements. This expansion means your metadata will have less room for vital keywords, so choose them carefully.

Example of Zalo app showing the difference in character length between English and Vietnamese
While English can use the short phrase “easy-to-use,” Vietnamese has to resort to a longer phrase, “giao tiếp dễ dàng,” which could be translated as “easy communication.”

  • Vietnamese is influenced by both Chinese and French. Between 30% and 50% of Vietnamese’s current vocabulary is derived from Chinese – its influence is pervasive in the fields of religion, politics, and medicine. French’s influence is more visible in fashion, food, and infrastructure vocabulary. Finally, English, as in many other countries, is also regularly used in business and to describe modern technologies. Vietnamese remains the norm, nonetheless.
  • Vietnam is separated geographically into three main regions – Northern (Hanoi), Central (Huế), and Southern (Saigon). Therefore, Vietnamese spelling and vocabulary might change from one region to another. Northern Vietnam spelling is considered the standard and is used in official texts, schools, media, etc. However, the vocabulary varies greatly by area and might cause misinterpretations between native speakers. We highly recommend you to work with a native speaker to translate your app metadata to Vietnamese. A professional translator will help you match the cultural specifics of Vietnam and select the right font and size.


1. Title

  • Foreign brand names are well received in Vietnam. Many Western apps and games keep their brand names unchanged on the App Store, and some Vietnamese games even write their title in English. This is the case for Gangster Crime, Mafia City by Zego Global Publishing and for Play Together by VNG Corporation. However, certain categories such as Dating, Cards, and Casino tend to prefer Vietnamese to English.
  • Descriptive Vietnamese keywords are often added as an extension to the title after the brand name to better describe what the app or game is about. For instance, both Tinder and Discord keep their brand names unchanged but have added descriptive keywords in their title: Tinder – kết bạn và hẹn hò (Tinder – date and make friends) and Discord – Tán Gẫu & Tụ Tập (Discord – chat & gather).

Discord and Tinder app titles in the Vietnamese App Store
Discord and Tinder app titles in the Vietnamese App Store.

2. Short description/subtitle

In Vietnam app stores, the vast majority of short descriptions and subtitles are written in Vietnamese. As such, it’s a best practice to translate your short description or subtitle into Vietnamese if you want to launch your app or game in Vietnam. Use the allocated space to explain in more detail the purpose, features, and benefits of your app.

3. Keyword field

On iOS, the keyword field gives you the opportunity to add unaccented keywords without them being visible to store visitors. While such a strategy can be very useful in some countries, where certain unaccented keywords have a higher search volume than accented ones, this strategy can prove dangerous in Vietnam.

This is because many Vietnamese words take on a completely different meaning when their accent is changed. For instance, the word “bạn” means friend and is often used in social & dating apps. On the other hand, “bắn” means shoot and is used for shooter games.

Top search results for two variations of a Vietnamese keyword on Google Play
Top search results on Google Play in Vietnam for the keywords “bắn” (friend) and “bắn” (shoot).

Therefore, we recommend to always use the correct spelling of the keywords that you place in your keyword field. If you decide, nonetheless, to place an unaccented keyword because it has a higher search volume, triple check that its meaning doesn’t change. Also, make sure it’s still relevant to your app and that it appears in the top search results for that keyword.

4. Long description

As far as your app’s long description in Vietnamese app stores is concerned, we recommend translating the long description to ensure good understanding and create (linguistic) proximity with store visitors.

By translating the long description, you can strategically increase the density of high-volume Vietnamese keywords relevant to your app. This helps improve your discoverability on the store.

Remember, not all English keywords need translation. Some have found their way into the Vietnamese language, and their usage might resonate with your audience. For instance, the word “chat” is more popular than its Vietnamese equivalent “tán gẫu” and has a higher search volume than the latter. Communication and dating apps are, thus, better off placing “chat” in their metadata.


1. Optimizing app creatives

  • Vietnam apps often use a minimalist style in their creatives, somewhat closer to the one we know in the West. Developers and marketers frequently employ a device frame, setting it against a colored background. The background can vary from a simple solid color to a more elaborate illustration.

Example of app screenshots with minimalist style in Vietnam, Google Play
Adopt a minimalist style for app creatives in Vietnam and keep your screenshots legible for your store visitors.

  • The Vietnamese prefer bright colors for store creatives. While designers do incorporate dark colors into their palette, the use of black as a background color is quite rare. Moreover, many apps actively feature cute, anime-style characters in their screenshots.

Example of Lemo using cute anime style characters in Vietnamese store listing
Follow Vietnamese creatives trends and feature cute anime-style characters in your app creatives.

  • Since many apps feature “people” in their creatives, it’s important to choose Vietnamese models. This helps store visitors to easily identify with these models and picture themselves using your app. For example, Bigo Live took this process one step further by having their models wear traditional Vietnamese accessories and clothing, while keeping a modern look.

Comparison of Bigo store listings in the US vs Vietnam, Google Play
Optimize app creative localization efforts in Vietnam by including cultural elements in your screenshots.

Learn how to leverage AppTweak to optimize and localize your creatives.

2. Optimizing game creatives


Games creatives in Vietnam tend to be more crowded and to use more complex designs than those of apps.

Illustrations typically serve as the background for game screenshots. These graphics play a crucial role in attracting potential users and enhancing their understanding of the gameplay.

Examples of elaborate backgrounds in games screenshots, Vietnam Google PlayPanoramic and elaborate backgrounds are very popular in Vietnam app stores.

In Vietnamese game creatives, characters play a significant role. Even in categories like Music and Card, where Western games typically don’t feature characters prominently, Vietnamese games break the norm.

Take the Music and Card categories as examples. In these Vietnamese games, characters often take center stage in the screenshots, positioned alongside a display of gameplay and in-game elements. This unique approach underscores the importance of character representation in engaging the players and enhancing their gaming experience.

Examples of game creatives with characters in the foreground in Vietnam, Google Play Including characters in music game creatives in Vietnamese app stores helps create a proximity to the idol phenomenon.

Historical elements

Numerous top-performing mobile games in Vietnam leverage elements that echo the nation’s history, intricately intertwined with China’s past.

For instance, a popular setting for many of these games is the Three Kingdoms period (222 – 280 AD). This era marked a time of political strain and warfare among three Chinese dynasties, one encompassing present-day North Vietnam. Vietnamese mobile games capitalize on this backdrop to showcase the era’s legendary generals in traditional warrior attire.

Additionally, they frequently draw inspiration from the renowned Chinese literary classic, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and its fictitious characters. This historical and cultural integration resonates deeply with the local audience, contributing significantly to the games’ success.


Vietnamese mobile games creatives often incorporate mythology. Elements of Asian fantastical lore, such as the phoenix, dragon, and monkey king, frequently make appearances. You can find an abundance of these historical and mythological elements across various game categories like Action, Role Playing, Strategy, Card, etc. in Vietnamese games creatives. For these mytho-historical games, developers typically prefer thick stylized captions that prominently stand out from the image. This not only enhances visual appeal but also reinforces thematic consistency, contributing to a distinct gaming experience.

Examples of Vietnam mobile game creatives featuring historical and mythological elements on Google Play
Mobile games in Vietnam app stores mix history and mythology in their creatives.

Celebrity collaborations

Finally, collaborations with Vietnamese celebrities, displayed in the creatives of mobile games, are also popular in Vietnam. Not only do these collaborations create interest in the game, they’re also a good way to connect with store visitors. Such collaborations actively demonstrate the game’s deep-rooted understanding of Vietnamese culture, distinguishing it from a mere Western import.

Mobile games screenshots featuring Vietnamese celebrities in Vietnam, Google PlayCollaborate with Vietnamese celebrities and show them in your mobile game creatives.


Vietnam is a fast-growing market and an early implementation of your app/game is important to ensure success. However, the Vietnam mobile market can be a challenge if you are not familiar with it. Here are a few tips you can follow to successfully localize your app/game in Vietnam:

  • In Vietnam, foreign brand names enjoy a favorable reception. However, we recommend optimizing your app title with generic Vietnamese keywords. This strategy can significantly boost traffic to your app or game.
  • We advise translating your metadata in Vietnamese app market, but doing it well is necessary. That’s because the meaning of a word can vary depending on whether it is accentuated. Work with a professional, native-speaking translator to take into account the many geographical and cultural variations of Vietnamese.
  • Vietnamese people prefer cute, anime-style characters in app/game creatives. Similarly, people identify more easily with Vietnamese models. Use these two best practices in your mobile app/game creatives to increase your conversions.
  • For apps, keep your screenshots minimalist and legible. For games, a more busy style with elaborate illustrations and characters placed in the foreground works well in screenshots.

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Justin Duckers
by , App Growth Consultant at AppTweak
Justin is an App Growth Consultant at AppTweak, helping apps boost their visibility and downloads. Passionate about sci-fi and fantasy, he spends his free time walking, reading and bouldering.