- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Russia is hoping to topple Google as the search engine of choice in Vietnam with its rival “Coc Coc,” called “Knock Knock” in English.

The pluses for the start-up: Vietnam’s Internet market is booming, The Associated Press reported. The market is comprised of youthful users looking for next fresh technology. The country’s Internet infrastructure is solid, and Google does not have on-scene office staff in the country.

The minuses: Other search engine hopefuls trying to compete with Google in Vietnam have failed.

But Coc Coc promises to be faster than Google, AP reported. On top of that, it’s heavily funded. So far, the company — a partnership between Russia and Vietnam — has invested $10 million in the market and hired more than 300. It’s taken over a four-story office building in the country’s capital city, and the $10 million is just a drop in the bucket.

Investors plan to spend $100 million in five years, with the aim at taking 97 percent of Vietnam’s Google users and shifting them to Coc Coc, AP said.

“When I came here, I had some understanding why Vietnam was a good market to beat Google,” said Mikhail Kostin, one of the company’s executives, in the AP report. “But after living here for one year, I understand the language and market much more deeply. I’m sure it’s right.”