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Vietnam's Coc Coc Could Give Google a Run for Its Money

Google owns the world of search engines. When it comes to random online queries, the company's user base is so ubiquitous that its name has become a verb in the English language and attempted to enter the lexicon in other nations.

But one search engine may be giving the giant a run for its money, at least in Vietnam, reports Nikkei Asian Review. At just two years old, Coc Coc is fasting rising through the ranks of web browsers, soaring past larger international outfits like Microsoft and Mozilla to become Vietnam's second most widely used web browser and search engine after Chrome and Google, respectively.

Headed up by Russian startup guru Victor Lavrenko, the idea for the company was hatched by three Vietnamese programmers – Nguyen Thanh Binh, Le Van Thanh and Nguyen Duc Ngoc – who studied in Russia and later tapped Lavrenko's skills to create the popular search engine.

While Google is a window to the world beyond Vietnam, Coc Coc's strength is in its ability to cater to local content, incorporating a Vietnamese-to-English dictionary for local users visiting English-language sites, as well as a predictive type function which has 90% accuracy, according to the company. Coc Coc also claims it downloads faster than Google and users can save streamed content for offline viewing.

Bells and whistles like these have paid off. Between February and July of this year, Coc Coc's searches jumped from 34 million to 51 million, while Google's slumped from 334 million to 221 million. Though the international search engine still holds significant sway over Vietnamese internet users – the country became one of YouTube's top 10 foreign markets earlier this year – Coc Coc aims to attract local users with its Vietnam-focused services before Google's presence grows in Vietnam.

“Our strategy is not to compete in areas where we face competitive disadvantages,” Lavrenko told Nikkei Asian Reiew.

As the company works to develop a mobile browser in effort to tap the country's 23 million smartphone users, the local search engine could make a formidable opponent for the international giant.

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