E-commerce in Vietnam is on the rise. This makes the Vietnam e-commerce sector appealing to both local and foreign investors. Gam Le believes that the e-commerce sector in Vietnam is opening up a great potential investment opportunity for investors. In general, foreign investors can enter the Vietnamese e-commerce market, but they must be aware of the regulations and obtain a sub-license to conduct e-commerce services in Vietnam.
Governing legislation/ framework
The use of E-commerce in Vietnam is regulated by multiple laws and regulations including but not limited to:
- Law No.51/2005/QH11 on E-transaction
- Law No.36/2005/QH11 on Commercial
Law No.61/2020/QH14 on Investment (“Law on Investment”)
- Decree 52/2013/ND-CP on E-commerce (“Decree 52”)
Decree 09/2018/ND-CP (“Decree 09”)
The Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam is the main governmental body that is responsible for E-commerce matters.
Licensing & market entry requirements
Under the Law on Investment, foreign investors need to obtain investment registration certification from provincial Department of Planning and Investment.
Under Decree 09, a foreign-invested business entity shall be required to obtain a business license from the provincial Department of Industry and Trade to provide E-commerce services.
Foreign equity restrictions
Generally, there are no restrictions for foreign entities to set up companies in Vietnam to provide E-commerce services. However, several conditions must be satisfied by the foreign entity such as obtaining the necessary licenses/approval prior to conducting E-commerce services in Vietnam.
Payment solutions, foreign exchange administration and merchant acquiring services
- Payment solutions: There is a wide range of options for payment on an E-commerce platform, which includes cash, cashless payment, credit card, e-wallets.
- Merchant acquiring services: Merchant acquiring services is mainly regulated by Circular No.39/2014/TT-NHNN issued by the State Bank of Vietnam on 11 December 2014 providing guidelines for the intermediary payment services.
The Law No.59/2010/QH12 on protection of consumer’s rights is the main law that provides protection for consumers in general. This Law regulates the rights and obligations of consumers, the liability of organisations or individuals trading goods and/or services to consumers, the liability of social organisations in protecting the interests of consumers; resolving disputes between consumers and organisations or individuals trading goods and/or services, the liability of the State on the protection of consumers’ interests.
- Pursuant to Decree 52, trading conditions that shall be published on E-commerce website include:
- conditions or restrictions on the provision of goods or services, such as limits on time or geographic scope (if any);
- return policies, including return term and method, or exchange of goods purchased, method of getting refunds and cost of this return;
- product warranty policy (if any);
- service standards, service provision process, charge tariff and other terms related to the provision of services, including conditions and restrictions (if any); and
- the seller’s obligations and customer’s obligations in transactions.
Further, traders and organisations that collect and use personal information of consumers on their E-commerce websites must obtain prior consent of consumers having such information (except in several cases in which prior consent is not required by law).
- Information collected on E-commerce websites can be used for purposes and within scopes already notified. Thus E-commerce platforms can use data to conduct data analytics for marketing and advertisement if such purposes have been notified to consumers.
E-commerce websites must fully display the following information to protect purchasers:
- website ownership: number, date and place of issuance of the business registration certificate of the trader or the number, date of issuance and issuer of the organisation’s establishment decision or individual’s personal tax identification number, telephone number or another online contact method;
- goods or services: information of goods and services need to be provided so that customers can correctly identify features of goods or services in order to avoid misunderstanding when deciding to make a proposal for conclusion of contract;
- general trading conditions;
- shipment and delivery: method of delivery of goods or provision of services, estimated time limit for the delivery of goods or provision of services, geographical limits of the delivery of goods or provision of services (if any); and
- payment methods: Traders, organisations or individuals shall disclose all payment methods applicable to goods or services introduced on the website, together with clear and accurate explanations so that customers can understand and choose the appropriate payment method.
For more information about e-commerce across ASEAN, download the comparative guide, ASEAN Insiders: Electronic Commerce in ASEAN.