Friday, April 13, 2012

Vietnam attractive enough to retain Google and Facebook | Look At Vietnam

Vietnam attractive enough to retain Google and Facebook

April 14, 2012
LookAtVietnam – Once the two government decrees take effect, foreign
companies such as Google and Facebook will have to set up their representative
offices in Vietnam, register services and pay tax in accordance with the
Vietnamese laws. Internet experts believe that the Vietnamese market is
attractive enough and regulations are reasonable enough to retain the foreign
big guys.


Domestic and foreign businesses put on a leveling field
Under the draft decree on Internet service and Internet information content
management, foreign institutions and enterprises, which provide information
across borders to the users in the Vietnamese territory, have to fulfill their
responsibilities in accordance with the Vietnamese laws.
They have to take responsibility of protecting personal information of
Vietnamese users, informing to Vietnamese users in Vietnamese language about the
risks and responsibilities when posting and exchanging information on Internet,
and ensuring the right of Vietnamese users to allow foreign institutions to use
their personal information.
A noteworthy point of the draft decree is that the foreign enterprises which
provide information across the border and have high number of users on
Vietnamese territory, like Facebook and Google, will have to set up
representative offices in Vietnam, inform to the watchdog agencies about the
names, addresses, contact phones, fax numbers and email addresses of the
competent representatives.
The list of the enterprises subject to the regulation would be released by the
Ministry of Information and Communication.
They will also have to make written commitments that they will get ready to join
forces with the Vietnamese state management agencies to eliminate the
information banned in Vietnam.
Meanwhile, under the draft decree on information technology services,
institutions and individuals who provide cross-border services must obtain
licenses if wanting to do business in the Vietnamese market. The Ministry of
Education and Training would team up with the State Bank of Vietnam to compile
the draft regulation on how to collect tax on the across-border service
providers.
Google, Facebook would accept the new regulations?
While domestic service providers have urged the government to impose strict
control over foreign institutions to create a leveling playing field for all
enterprises, some analysts have voiced their concern that foreign service
providers would quit Vietnam to avoid such complicated procedures. If so,
Vietnamese users, who do not care if the State can collect tax from the big guys
or not, and only care about service quality, would lose high quality service
providers.
However, Phan Anh Tuan, Deputy General Director of VTC Online, Chief of the
Go.vn project, said that the regulations stipulated in the draft decree are
reasonable and necessary.
Sharing the same view with Tuan, Ha Tuan Anh, General Director of Vinalink
Media, affirmed that the drafted regulations are not so complicated and
unreasonable that foreign institutions would not accept.
He went on to say that in 2011, representatives of Google flew to Vietnam to
have working sessions with the Ministry of Information and Communication. It was
very likely that the two sides discussed the issue, and that the ministry has
set up the requirements after reaching a consensus with Google.
When asked if the big guys Google and Facebook would stop providing services in
Vietnam because of the strict control, Tuan said he personally thinks that
Vietnam is one of the top three markets in South East Asia in terms of Internet
growth, which would be attractive enough to retain the big guys.
According to Tuan Anh, the revenue from Google AdWords of Google in 2011 in
Vietnam accounted for 50 percent of the revenue from online ads in Vietnam.
Therefore, it is likely that Google would obey the reasonable requirements to be
set up by Vietnam, including the ones on information filtration, setting up
representative offices or paying contractor withholding tax.
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