Move aims at managing products sold via social networks.
Overseas social networks must register with the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) if they have a representative office in Vietnam, as do social networks with a “.vn” domain name, according to the Vietnam E-commerce and Information Technology Agency (Vecita).
“Doing business on a social network is the same as doing business on e-commerce trading floors,” Vecita explained. Social networks must therefore register for e-commerce trading before opening for business, at www.online.gov.vn, pursuant to Circular No.47.
From January 20, 2015 the owners of trading websites not registered with MoIT will be fined between VND40 million ($1,880) and VND60 million ($2,820), under Decree No.185. Under Circular No.47, owners of the e-commerce trading floors must manage the products sold.
Owners, however, complain that vendors can create an online shop without them being able to manage it. Vecita said the e-commerce trading floor owners have a responsibility to guarantee their service and correct any wrong or illegal information. Nevertheless, the owners of e-commerce trading floors and vendors are both responsible for poor or illegal products.
Some have complained that it is difficult to apply Circular No.47 to foreign companies such as Facebook because it uses host computers in overseas countries. And many social networks don’t have a representative office in Vietnam.
“The Circular will not have much of an influence on me,” said Ms. Lan Anh, a 23-year-old businesswoman who has sold clothes on Facebook for two years. Likewise, Ms. Hue, who has begun to sell cosmetics on Facebook, said that if she sells quality products and has loyal customers then the Circular can’t affect her.
Ms. Hue is optimistic that the legal framework will be simplified to encourage business people. Ms. Lan Anh, however, is concerned about high taxes and the complexity of the legal framework. “I need to consider whether I will continue with the online business when the Circular takes effect,” she said.
E-commerce consumer numbers are expected to increase next year, especially regarding business conducted on social networks, according to Vecita. Official figures for 2013 show that 73 per cent of internet users accessed social networks and 45 per cent of internet users bought products via social networks. Therefore, Vecita said, Circular No.47 has been introduced to clarify Decree No.52 on business in social networks as well as e-commerce trading.