Rajah & Tann Regional Round-Up
your snapshot of key legal developments in Asia
Issue 3 - Jul/Aug/Sep 2021

Amending Decree on E-commerce

On 25 September 2021, the Government passed Decree 85/2021/ND-CP ("Decree 85") to amend the existing Decree 52/2013/ND-CP on e-commerce ("Decree 52"). As a result of Decree 85, foreign organisations will now be regulated by Vietnam's e-commerce regulations – previously, those regulations were only applicable to entities in Vietnam or foreign entities with a local establishment presence (e.g., a representative office). 

For foreign companies in particular, Decree 85 specifically targets foreign companies that have websites providing e-commerce services in Vietnam, operating in one of the following forms:

  1. having an e-commerce website operating under Vietnamese domain names;
  2. having an e-commerce website with a Vietnamese language display; or
  3. having an e-commerce website that has more than 100,000 transactions from Vietnam in a year.

These foreign companies are required to either establish a representative office or appoint an authorised representative in Vietnam to perform certain responsibilities. These include coordinating with the State in preventing transactions that violate the law, performing obligations to protect consumer interests and ensure quality of products and goods, and performing reporting obligations. As Decree 85 now enables foreign companies to be regulated by Decree 52, this means these companies will also be subject to the various obligations set forth under Decree 52, including those concerning personal data protection.

Decree 85 will come into effect from 1 January 2022. Foreign companies which fall into the above categories have a 12-month period from the effective date to comply with the obligations. 

New Decree on Cross-Border Advertising Activities

On 30 July 2021, the Government issued Decree 70/2021/ND-CP ("Decree 70") to amend and supplement certain provisions of Decree 181/2013/ND-CP ("Decree 181"), most notably concerning cross-border advertising activities. The decree came into effect from 15 September 2021.

Under Decree 181, Vietnamese companies that wished to advertise their goods and services on overseas websites were required to do so through advertising service providers registered in Vietnam. Decree 70 removes this requirement, thereby allowing overseas service providers to directly contract with Vietnamese companies for these services.

However, foreign companies that wish to provide cross-border advertising services in Vietnam are now required to send a notice containing their contact information to the Ministry of Information and Communications. They are also subject to general requirements to comply with the laws on advertising, cybersecurity management, and the provision and use of Internet services and online information, as well as pay tax in accordance with Vietnam's tax laws.

Please note that whilst the information in this Update is correct to the best of our knowledge and belief at the time of writing, it is only intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and should not be treated as a substitute for specific professional advice.


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Vu Thi Que
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Lim Wee Hann
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