Local e-commerce needs support to take on bigger foreign players

July 24, 2021 - 09:12
Policies were needed to promote the development of domestic online markets which were facing increasingly harsh competition from foreign rivals to ensure a healthy and sustainable development for the e-commerce market.


The e-commerce market of Việt Nam is seeing the rapid expansion of foreign-invested platforms while domestic online markets find it difficult to compete. — Photo ictnews.vietnamnet.vn

HÀ NỘI — Policies are needed to support local e-commerce platforms and counter the might of cashed-up international e-commerce giants entering the Vietnamese e-commerce market, says chairman of Nextech, Nguyễn Hòa Bình, who owned chodientu.vn.

“When foreign enterprises with huge resources flood in, it is difficult for domestic enterprises to compete and domestic enterprises can soon run out of steam,” he said. 

Domestic online market chodientu.vn which pioneered in online shopping in Việt Nam must now be closed for an upgrade.

“Domestic enterprises do not need support but rather a runway long enough that they can gain enough momentum to compete [with foreign companies],” he went on.

Bình said that foreign enterprises had huge economic resources and when they expanded to a certain size that they could control the market, there would be problems for smaller competitors.

He stressed that promoting the development of domestic platforms was important to ensure the healthy and sustainable development of the e-commerce market.

He added that Việt Nam should introduce policies to balance the development of both the sharing economy and traditional economy and create a fair business environment.

According to Vũ Hoàng Linh from the Việt Nam Institute of Economics, the competition in Việt Nam’s e-commerce market could be much more robust. Alibaba, Tencent and JD.com were foreign giants which had invested significantly in Shopee and Tiki to establish their presence in Việt Nam. The world’s largest e-commerce company, Amazon, has also officially entered Việt Nam giving Vietnamese sellers access to foreign markets through their platform.

Of late, a new generation of free trade agreements has made Việt Nam an attractive market to global retailers.

Lại Việt Anh, Deputy Director of the Việt Nam E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that the Vietnamese Government aimed to promote the development of e-commerce, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that e-commerce was regarded as an important part of economic and trade growth.

She said it was necessary to develop appropriate tax policies to ensure healthy market development. 

Connecting with tax management agencies

The General Department of Taxation has recently proposed electronically connecting e-commerce platforms to tax management agencies aiming to better collect taxes from sellers operating on the platforms.

It is currently soliciting opinions that must be sent to the tax watchdog before July 27.

Under Circular No 40/2021/TT-BTC issued on June 1, value-added tax, personal income tax and tax management of individual sellers would be the responsibility of e-commerce platforms.

E-commerce platforms must also provide information on sellers, including revenue, bank accounts and products, via a database to tax management agencies.

The electronic connection between e-commerce platforms and tax management agencies was expected to start at the beginning of next year. — VNS