Digital content firms propose ‘virtual special zone’

VietNamNet Bridge - Believing that they are at a disadvantage, digital content firms have proposed establishing a special zone.


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Vietnamese digital content providers have complained about the protection policy which puts domestic companies at a disadvantage with foreign ones. 

Vietnamese companies have to follow strict regulations on management, censorship, and business conditions, and have to pay different taxes, but foreign companies don’t. 

Analysts also say that Vietnam’s policies don’t encourage development and that strict regulations will hinder the creativity of businesses.

In an effort to ease difficulties for digital content firms, some experts have suggested a so called ‘virtual special zone’, a temporary special zone with special policies which include capable digital content firms. 

The firms in the special zone would have the right to implement trial projects to launch new services under looser policies. The firms would have to commit to observe the rules of the special zone.

Vietnamese companies have to follow strict regulations on management, censorship, and business conditions, and have to pay different taxes, but foreign companies don’t. 

If the pilot virtual special zone program succeeds, it would be applied on a larger scale, to firms outside the zone as well.

The opinions about the special zone vary.

Nguyen Ngoc Bao, CEO of VTC Mobile, said digital content firms need an open policy to allow businesses to do things that are not prohibited by law. 

Nguyen Ngoc Han, CEO of Thu Do Multimedia, noted that special economic zone (SEZ) is a separate zone which enjoys special policies to facilitate economic activities. SEZs operate on the basis of preferences to attract investments to a specific zone, applied only in a limited geographical area.

Meanwhile, a ‘virtual special zone’ as suggested by experts is an area which first applies policies on a trial basis before it is expanded to other areas of the country. 

“The digital content industry, by nature, is a type of cross-border service, so ‘virtual special zone’ is not unreasonable for the IT & digital content industry,” he said.

He warned that an ‘ask-and-grant mechanism’ may take shape in the special zone. Digital content firms would have to ask for favors from management agencies to join the special zone and be eligible for preferential policies.

Han believes that to encourage digital content firms, it is necessary to strictly observe the Enterprise Law which says businesses can do what they want as long as they follow the law, and that a special zone is not necessary.


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N. Ha

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