W Labs Touring Malaysia and Vietnam in the Name of WEB3

This time I spent ten days in Southeast Asia, first in Malaysia and then in Vietnam. Let me share my feelings.

The weather in Malaysia is really great. In China it’s 40 degrees, but in Penang it’s 26-30 degrees. As an advisor for Masverse, W Labs brought five colleagues with me this time, making it a total of six people including KK. We went to attend the establishment ceremony of Masverse’s web 3 hub in Penang. I went there purely for fun, while the other two colleagues arrived several days earlier and worked at the office in Kuala Lumpur before joining us. Web 3 is really popular.

Penang is the state with the highest proportion of Chinese people among the 14 states in Malaysia (over 40%). It has been governed by Chinese people for a long time. Here, speaking Mandarin is almost barrier-free, just like in Singapore where Simplified Chinese is used. Whenever we encountered Chinese faces, we could chat directly in Mandarin. Compared to Kuala Lumpur, Penang is more relaxed, has more delicious food, and the environment is better. The restaurants in the old areas of the island are really good, and they can be found on Dianping, a popular review platform.

Before Masverse, web 3 in Penang was a blank page. This time, Masverse directly established its second office in Penang and organized such a sensational opening ceremony, inviting leaders from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Energy to attend. It was indeed sensational. Many web 3 builders drove over three hours from Kuala Lumpur to learn from it, wanting to figure out why Masverse, which has only been established for a year, was able to successfully raise nearly tens of millions of dollars in funding and is now the first ecological public chain project supported by the Malaysian government. Looking back a year ago, KK and I were still eating skewers on the side of the road in Shanghai. He suddenly decided to gather a few Malaysian friends and return to Malaysia to start a business. Web 3 does give young people opportunities.

Compared to web 3, Penang is more famous for its so-called “gambling circles”. It is said that the world’s largest football gambling server center is located in Penang, so financial circles are actually quite popular in Malaysia. The general public is also more accepting of pyramid-like products. Otherwise, after Lin Ruiyang and Zhang Ting, who made a fortune by doing micro-business in China, were fined more than one billion yuan, they would not have moved their headquarters to Malaysia.

One of my colleagues had lunch with the youngest Deputy Chief Minister of Penang. He is in charge of digital economics and is very supportive of web 3 entrepreneurs coming to Penang to start their businesses. The policies, education, and living conditions here are all very good, and the cost is much lower than in Singapore. It is said that the ultimate dream of the “leeks” (slang for inexperienced investors) to own a yacht and date young models can be realized here soon. Hahaha.

Stayed in Malaysia for five days. The annoying thing is that many credit cards from domestic major banks can’t be used, whether it’s UnionPay or Visa/Mastercard. Currently, it seems that China Merchants Bank is the best option. Another thing is that the efficiency at the airport is really slow, everyone needs to be patient when going through immigration.

I used to come to Vietnam frequently in the past few years, especially after Vietnam opened up to the outside world in 2017.

The most striking points I felt in Ho Chi Minh City this time are:

  1. More and more coffee shops, fewer and fewer noodle shops. And the coffee shops are becoming more and more trendy in terms of decoration. Many girls are taking photos inside and outside the shops, and at night, everyone sits on small stools by the roadside. You can try some new types of coffee, such as the egg coffee that I like.

  2. Although infrastructure construction is slow, there is still progress, and some new roads have been opened. The subway that has been planned for five years is still not open. The efficiency of the construction by the Japanese is really incomparable to that of the infrastructure maniac.

  3. The Vietnamese economy rebounded quickly in 2022 after the pandemic, with a GDP growth rate of 8%, attracting global investment attention. However, the current round of US interest rate hikes has had a big impact on Vietnam, and many foreign investments have partially withdrawn to the United States. Therefore, the growth rate in Q1 of 2023 is only 3%, and the unemployment rate has also surged. However, the exchange rate of the Vietnamese dong against the US dollar is still acceptable, because there is still potential, and it will still be able to take advantage of some manufacturing opportunities overflowing from China in the next 5-10 years. Everyone is optimistic about the future development.

    Comparing the exchange rate between the Vietnamese dong and the Chinese yuan over the past two years, it’s really not good to say anything…

  4. In a situation of economic downturn, political struggles at the upper level are also severe, with casualties and arrests. The political situation is chaotic. Recently, the downfall of the second-in-command has implicated a Chinese female billionaire. Because the female billionaire mainly relies on real estate, it has caused stagnation in thousands of real estate projects and the need to re-examine and approve the problems from the beginning.

  5. The efficiency of public departments is as poor as ever. This time, it took four days of going back and forth to the bank to simply transfer some money at the counter. Fortunately, the tellers at the major banks are really beautiful, there are even several mixed-race beauties. When bored, I can appreciate them more, and chat more while handling business. I wonder if the return of young people to the system is a common problem in socialist countries nowadays.

This time in Ho Chi Minh City, mainly dealing with some business related to WEB 2. There wasn’t much contact with WEB 3 friends this time, but from the discussions, there are a few feelings:

First, the government’s strict control;

Second, there are many pyramid schemes and Ponzi schemes;

Third, Axie has driven many teams to develop applications in the previous cycle, and once they succeed, they all go abroad.

Personally, I feel that I haven’t really grasped the core points of Vietnam’s web 3. If anyone can recommend excellent teams or KOLs in Vietnam, I would greatly appreciate it~

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