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Vietnamese students win $80,000 sponsorship from Facebook

Update 19/08/2016 - 03:19:02 PM (GMT+7)

Four Vietnamese university students will receive US$80,000 from Facebook to perfect their product designed to write status updates automatically on the social networking site, after winning big in a national technology contest.

The group of students, majoring in information technology at the University of Science under the Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City, is eligible for the sponsorship thanks to their outstanding performance at the 2016 Facebook Vietnam Hackathon, which was held on July 30 and 31 at RMIT University Vietnam.

The four winning students include Nguyen Le Bao, La Ngoc Thuy An, Nguyen Phuc Hau, and Huynh Van Tuan.

This was the first time that Facebook had organized the competition in the Southeast Asian country, which attracted over 1,000 applicants, of whom 110 from 29 teams advanced to the final round.

Finalists were required to work nonstop in 24 hours to finish and present their products, which had to meet all criteria in terms of creativity, positive social impacts, user-friendly interfaces, and technical complexity.

According to An, the only girl in the team who was in charge of coming up with concepts and presenting their products, many of their good ideas were denied as they had already been realized by Facebook developers.

“Their knowledge is far beyond ours,” An said, adding that the group members finally thought of their award-winning idea, the ‘automatic status.’

The team’s efforts paid off as they snatched the first place for Most Innovative Product and second place for Best FB Marketing Category Product.

“I was surprised and happy to be able to convince the board of judges comprising advisors, engineers, and managers from Facebook,” Bao said.

Hau expressed his hope that their product, designed to write Facebook status updates automatically, would soon be available and widely accepted by users of the social media platform.

The four were awarded a $500 cash prize and $80,000 worth of start-up assistance to perfect their product.

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