Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Local digital content firms are claiming of unfair treatment compared to their foreign peers, with Vietnamese companies saying they face many regulations while firms like Google, Facebook and YouTube don’t pay taxes and are unhindered by regulations and policies.
Leaders of digital content businesses made the gripes at a forum about the law on information and technology and development orientation held in Hà Nội on Tuesday.
Nguyễn Thanh Hưng, director of VTC Intecom was reported by online newspaper vneconomy.vn as saying that 10 years ago, revenue of digital content from added value services reached VNĐ3 to 4 trillion (US$133-177 million). The revenue has risen due to the development of television, online services and the shift from traditional advertising to online ads and content on social networks.
Nguyễn Thế Tân, VCCorp’s general director said total revenue of digital content firms in was about VNĐ 8 to 10 trillion a year. The revenue could hit VNĐ15 to 20 trillion a year including foreign companies in Việt Nam.
Tân told the newspaper that the scale of the digital content market in the next five years could reach $1 billion and $5 billion in the next 20 years.
However, he said $1 billion in revenue for the digital content sector was different than for the garment and textile industry. The garment and textile sector could earn only 10 per cent or $500 million for export revenue of $5 billion while the digital content could yield $500 million for exporting $1 billion to foreign markets.
This means $1 billion exports of the digital content sector could be equal to $5 billion in exports of the garment and textile sector, he said.
He forecast that the digital content sector could bring benefits for Việt Nam in tourism in the next five or 10 years, surpassing garment and textile and petroleum sectors while providing a million jobs.
Hưng from VTC Intecom said there were some restrictions on domestic digital content development, as the Government imposed tight regulations on the sector.
He said his company was inspected by many management agencies when they made information websites. However, there was no one checking their company’s information which was posted on Facebook.
In addition, Vietnamese online game producers have to complete many administrative procedures.
Digital content has also shifted from PC to mobile, meaning management policies are no longer suitable with reality. Digital content on mobile is subject to both Vietnamese and foreign regulations, he said.
He added that this was why local digital content firms have not paid much attention to investment.
Agreeeing, Nhan Thế Luân, representative of Nhaccuatui said Vietnamese businesses have faced competition from foreign firms while being restricted by regulations.
Luân said that total traffic of 300 licensed websites in Việt Nam accounted for only 20 per cent compared with foreign firms which have not been locally licensed.
Tân from VCCorp also said Vietnamese companies had to follow regulations and could be punished for violations while these are not applied on foreign firms.
He added that Vietnamese enterprises have to pay all kinds of taxes such as VAT, individual income tax and corporate income tax.
Tân said taxes should be imposed on both Vietnamese and foreign firms.
In addition, he asked the Ministry of Information and Communications to ask the Government to consider the digital content sector a key economic sector to not only maintain State budget collection but also attract foreign investment.
The ministry should also study policies to make foreign companies follow Vietnamese laws and regulations as they earn billions đồng from Việt Nam without paying taxes and duties, he said.
He asked for administrative procedure simplification to reduce the burden on local companies.
Nguyễn Xuân Cường, vice chairman of Việt Nam Digital Communications Association said laws and regulations should be adjusted to ensure fairness for both domestic and foreign businesses. — VNS