On 21 June 2012 the National Assembly passed the Law on Advertising which, among other things, contains very strict provisions on the advertising of special goods that may have an impact on human health.

To implement the provisions of the Law regarding the advertising of special goods and services, foreign websites that provide advertising to local users, and representative offices of foreign advertising companies, the government issued Decree No. 181/2013/ND-CP (Decree 181) on 4 November 2013, which came into force on 1 January 2014.

Advertising of Special Goods and Services

There are very specific requirements on the advertising of special goods such as pharmaceutical products, food, cosmetics and medical equipment, etc. The advertising of such products and services is subject to strict procedures and requirements.

Advertising on Foreign Websites

Decree 181 also provides for conditions for advertising on foreign websites that engage in advertising services to local customers. Foreign websites that are subject to the provisions of Decree 181 are those with a server located in a foreign country which provide advertising to Vietnamese users. Specifically, foreign websites must:

  • comply with Vietnam's regulations on the management, supply and use of Internet services;
  • use a local licensed advertiser to conduct advertising in case of advertising goods and services of local organisations and businesses;
  • provide in writing to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism the details regarding the local advertiser used to conduct the advertising 15 days prior to advertising; and
  • pay taxes on income generated from advertising in Vietnam.

Representative Offices of Foreign Advertising Companies

A foreign advertising company wishing to set up a representative office in Vietnam must submit an application dossier to the Provincial People’s Committee where the proposed office is located. A representative office licence will be granted within 10 working days from the date of receipt of the proper and complete dossier. As a normal practice in Vietnam this time limit is always longer.

The procedures for changes in the licence, issuance of a new licence and withdrawal of the licence are also specified by Decree 181.