Asian Legal Business, Issue Nov 2012

By Pham Thi Thanh Huyen*

On 21 June 2012 the National Assembly of Vietnam passed a new Law on Advertising No 16/2012/QH13. The Law on Advertising takes effect from 1 January 2013 and repeals the current Ordinance on Advertising No 39/2001/PL-UBTVQH10 dated 16 November 2001 ("Ordinance 2001") and the Decree of the Government providing detailed aregulations for implementation on Ordinance 2001 dated 13 March 2003.

License and Notification for advertising

 Currently, under the Ordinance 2001, there must be a license issued by the competent State administration body prior to advertising on computer information networks, billboards, placards, panels, banner and screens placed in public places, on objects which radiate or appear in the air or underwater, on means of transportation or on other mobile objects. According to the Law on Advertising, the licenses (from the State administrative body for media) for conducting advertising are only required when a media agency wishes to have a specialized advertising channel or program.

 Organizations or individuals wishing to conduct advertising on billboards and banners are no longer required to obtain a license, though they must submit a file for notification of an advertising product. If there is no response from the relevant authority within five business days of confirmed receipt of the notification, the advertising may proceed as intended.

Along with conducting advertising on billboards and banners, the notification of an advertising product is also required for conducting advertising by a group of persons and for publishing an advertising insert by a press agency.

Foreign investment in the advertising business.

Both the Ordinance 2001 and the Law on Advertising provide for the right of foreign organizations and individuals operating in Vietnam to directly advertise their business activities and their goods and services, or to hire a Vietnamese advertiser to conduct their advertising for them. Foreign organizations and individuals not operating in Vietnam and wishing to advertise their products, goods, services and operations in Vietnam must hire a Vietnamese advertiser to conduct the advertising.   

 Currently, foreign organizations and individuals are entitled to undertake cooperation or investment with a Vietnamese partner conducting business of advertising services in the form of joint venture and business cooperation contract. Beside, the foreign advertising enterprise may also establish its own branch in Vietnam. But since the last option of commercial presence is not consistent with the commitments of Vietnam upon its accession to the WTO, the provisions governing the establishment and operations of foreign advertising branches in Vietnam are removed from the new Law on Advertising.

 Unlike the Ordinance 2001, the scope of application of the Law on Advertising now covers advertising on websites of foreign organizations and individuals conducting cross border advertising services and earning revenue from advertising in Vietnam. However, the Law on Advertising contains no specific regulations on this particular activity.

*) Please contact the authors at if you wish to have more information or specific advice for the topic of this article.

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