Vietnam: New decree amending regulations on online advertising released

In brief

On 20 July 2021, the Government issued Decree No. 70/2021/ND-CP (“Decree No. 70“) amending certain articles of Decree No. 181/2013/ND-CP implementing the Advertising Law (“Decree No. 181“). In line with previous drafts, Decree No. 70 focuses on regulating cross-border advertising activities and revises the three main articles, Articles 13, 14 and 15, of Decree No. 181 accordingly. The amended Decree No. 181 will take effect on 15 September 2021.


Key takeaways

  • The requirement to have a local agency under Decree No. 181 is removed.

  • The requirement on self-censorship applicable to foreign advertising service providers operating from offshore (“Foreign Advertising Providers” or FRAP) proposed under previous drafts is removed.

  • The reporting requirement applicable to FRAPs proposed under previous drafts is removed.

In more detail

Notable definitions provided for under Articles 13.1 and 13.2 of Decree No. 181 as amended by Decree No. 70 (“amended Decree No. 181“) are as follows:

Cross-border advertising activities are now defined as the act of foreign organizations and/or individuals using websites to conduct advertising services from device systems located outside of Vietnam, for users in Vietnam, and generating revenue from Vietnam.

Websites conducting cross-border advertising services are defined as information systems using one or multiple websites in the forms of symbols, numbers, characters, images, sounds, and other forms of information with the purpose of providing to network users the services of storing; providing; using; searching; exchanging; and sharing information, images, and sounds; creating forums; and online chatting to provide advertising services.

Compared to the previous drafts and the pre-amendment version of Decree No. 181, we note the key changes as follows:

  • ​​​​​Removal of the requirement on local agency

Vietnamese organizations and individuals will no longer have to advertise their goods and services on foreign websites through a Vietnam-based advertising services provider (VASP). This also means that FRAPs can provide advertising services directly to Vietnamese-based customers without the involvement of any VASP.

  • No self-censorship

FRAPs will not be responsible for proactively monitoring and filtering out violating contents.

  • No reporting requirement

The obligation of submitting annual or ad hoc reports to the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) imposed on FRAPs under previous drafts is now removed. This obligation now lies with the VASPs if they work with FRAPs.

As a general rule, the amended Decree No. 181 requires FRAPs, onshore advertising service providers, onshore and offshore advertisement publishers and advertisers that are involved in cross-border provision of advertising services to follow Vietnamese regulations on advertising, regulations on cyber security and other regulations on management, provision and use of internet services and online information. In addition, these subjects must not cooperate in publishing advertisements with the websites of which the violations of laws have been announced publicly by the competent regulatory authorities via the MIC’s official portal.