The launch of the multi-channel network’s local operations follows its announcement of new milestones in Thailand, hitting 200 million YouTube views and naming a new head of sales.
The opening in Vietnam was driven by the rapid growth the company has experienced in the market.
Over the last year it has been building its network of video creators from its Los Angeles headquarters and now boasts over 450 Vietnam-based creators and influencers, delivering 130 million views last month.
Jak Severson, Thoughtful’s global CEO, called Vietnam a “cornerstone” of the company’s expansion into Southeast Asia.
“With an enormous population of young, socially wired consumers, we feel very much at home here,” he added in a statement.
Mark Ingrouille, Thoughtful’s EVP for international operations, said that the growth trajectory has lent added importance to having a strong local presence.
“Our clients demand it, we need it,” he added. “We already have five major clients both local and international retained in the market, and that’s before we opened our doors.”
Truong most recently built the digital capability for Creasia, an activation agency in Vietnam, and was formerly managing director of Golden Digital.
Speaking to Campaign Asia-Pacific, Ingrouille shared that local operations in Manila, Jakarta and Singapore are slated to be launched within the year, but declined to share what kind of monetary investment the company is making in the region.
“Under the model we use we start 'country operations' at our headquarters in Hollywood with people from the respective countries and build our local networks up until we reach a critical mass, say 250 creators,” he said. “Once that is achieved we open an office in the actual market in order to be able to liaise with clients and agencies.”
Ingrouille said the company is “pretty close to critical mass” in all the abovementioned markets but added that the actual timing will depend on how quickly the team is able to do local hiring and find good office space. It currently has 95 staff in the region.
The company has 22,750 creators in its managed network globally, with 3,800 originating from the Asia-Pacific region. Ingrouilles said China hosts the biggest network, with1,600 creators coming from ASEAN markets (Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia).
Asked what the biggest barriers for the company will be in terms of fulfiling its expansion ambitions in the region, Ingrouilles pointed to broadband/4G infrastructure rollout and local law restrictions, especially in markets such as Indonesia, as the two biggest.
“Brand education is not a problem,” he added. “Willing and able young people producing great videos is common in the region.”