Website is also considered an asset of traders and organizations, an essential element for businesses to expand their business scope, promote their brands, products, and services on the Internet platform. Not only domestic traders, foreign traders or organizations are also interested and want to own a website in Vietnam to develop their business. So the question is, can a foreign trader or organization own a website in Vietnam with a Vietnamese national domain name?
1. Some related notions:
As mentioned above, the website will provide business opportunities for traders and organizations. However, before caring about the website, we must care about the domain name. If website design is like building a house, the domain name is the home address. Customers can only access the website through a domain name.
The Vietnamese domain name is a domain name that is managed and provided by the VN Internet Center - VNNIC (Vietnam Internet Network Information Center - the national organization managing Internet resources in Vietnam). A Vietnamese domain name is a domain name with an identifier (the extension) of .vn at the end.
Domain names in Vietnam normally have two main levels:
• Domain names in the form of .vn; and
• Domain names in the form of .com.vn; .edu.vn, etc
2. Regulations on the subject that can own the website in Vietnam
According to Decree 52/2013/ND-CP of the Government on E-commerce, the subjects that are allowed to own this website in Vietnam include (i) Vietnamese traders, organizations or individuals; (ii) Foreign individuals residing in Vietnam; (iii) Foreign traders and organizations presenting in Vietnam through investment operation, the establishment of branches and representative offices or websites with the Vietnamese domain name.
Therefore, based on the above provisions, foreign traders and organizations when it adapts one of two following ways:
• Option 1: Having a presence in Vietnam through investment operation, the establishment of a subsidiary, branch, or representative office; or
• Option 2: Setting up the website(s) with the Vietnamese domain name.
With option 2, foreign traders and organizations totally own the website in Vietnam with the Vietnamese domain names.
3. Procedures for foreign traders or organizations to own websites with Vietnamese national domain names in Vietnam
There are two ways for foreign traders or organizations to own websites in Vietnam with the Vietnamese national domain names including setting up a new domain name and receiving a domain name assign from another individual or organization.
To establish a new domain name, a foreign trader or organization will (i) proceed to submit a domain name registration declaration to one of the valid domain name registrars in Vietnam - a list of recognized registrars published at www.nhadangky.vn; (ii) notify/register the website with the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
In case of receiving domain name assign from other organizations or individuals, foreign traders or organizations need to go through the following processes (i) Apply for assignment of the right to use domain names at the Domain Name Registrar (ii) Pay assignment tax (iii) The transferee re-registers the domain name (iv) The transferor terminates the website information announced/registered with the Ministry of Industry and Trade (v) The transferee re-announces/registers website with the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
However, with the experience working with Domain Name Registrars in practice, the above assignment procedure is usually made simpler and faster to save time. The Registrar will require to submit a set of documents including a written request for assignment and receiving the assignment for the right to use the domain name; documents proving the fulfillment of tax payment obligations and the transferee's domain name re-registration declaration for one-time settlement.
Note: When receiving the assignment, it is necessary to determine who is the owner of the domain name to be assigned because this will be the object that directly signs on the assignment documents as well as pays assignment tax for state agencies.
4. Other notes
Traders or organizations that set up sales e-commerce websites only have to announce the Ministry of Industry and Trade. However, if you set up a website providing e-commerce services (including an e-commerce exchange, an online auction website, a direct promotion website), you must register with the Ministry of Industry and Trade according to the provisions of Circular 47/2014/TT-BTC.
All acts of failing to announce or register when setting up the website, failing to carry out procedures for assignment and re-registration will be administratively sanctioned from VND 10,000,000 to VND 30,000,000 according to the provisions of Decree 124/2015/ND-CP of the Government.
Above is some basic information related to owning a website with a Vietnamese national domain name. Foreign traders or businesses should pay attention when carrying out procedures in accordance with Vietnamese law to avoid unnecessary legal risks.