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Multi-level sale (MLM) activities are allowed under the law in Vietnam. However, in recent years, a few MLM companies in Vietnam have been accused of not being fair khổng lồ customers, not fulfilling tax obligations, and/or at times trading in low-quality products. A report from the Ministry of Industry và Trade (MOIT) showed that from June 2015 to November 2016, the MOIT inspected and initiated investigations into 65 MLM companies and imposed fines totaling VND 11 billion (approximately USD 485,000) for violations. By the middle of March 2018, the MOIT had revoked the licenses of 17 MLM companies and another 17 MLM companies had voluntarily stopped their operations. Currently, there are 33 MLM companies operating in Vietnam.

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With the aim of tightening the existing MLM regulations và giving MLM companies a better legal framework under which lớn operate, the government issued Decree No. 40/2018/ND-CP on Management of Multi-Level sale Activities (Decree 40) on March 12, 2018. The new decree, which will take effect on May 2, 2018, revises & replaces Decree 42/2014/ND-CP dated May 14, 2014 (Decree 42). Some of the highlights of Decree 40 are provided below.

New Registration Requirements

Decree 40 adds a few new requirements lớn the conditions a company must satisfy to obtain an MLM license: The MLM company must operate an IT system with a hệ thống in Vietnam khổng lồ manage its MLM network; it must have a trang web with full information on its MLM activities; và it must have a communications system lớn receive & resolve queries and complaints from MLM participants.

In addition, the MLM company needs to lớn have charter capital of at least VND 10 billion (approximately USD 440,000), and make an escrow deposit equivalent lớn 5% of its charter capital (but not less than VND 10 billion – an increase from the VND 5 billion required under Decree 42) into a bank account. The escrow serves as security for the MLM participants và funds may be used toward payment of unpaid penalties to lớn Vietnamese authorities, and/or compensation for damages should the MLM company breach any of its obligations to the MLM participants.

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Additional Restrictions

As was the case under Decree 42, only goods (not services) are permitted to be traded under the MLM model, and certain types of goods, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, & various chemicals, are prohibited. Decree 40 also adds digital content products lớn the các mục of prohibited goods.

To combat the risks associated with some forms of multi-level marketing, Decree 40, lượt thích the previous Decree 42, prohibits MLM companies from performing a wide range of acts, such as requiring deposits or monetary payments from MLM participants. The following acts are newly prohibited under Decree 40:

Conducting promotions using an MLM network in which participants in the promotion have more than one position/ID number (in other words, where participants could benefit from having multiple virtual identities).Organizing commercial intermediary activities (for example, engaging a commercial agent or broker) for the purpose of maintaining, expanding, or developing MLM networks.Receiving or accepting documents from MLM participants in which the participants renounce some or all of their rights or release enterprises from their obligations toward participants under provisions of Decree 40.Failing khổng lồ use the management system registered with the MOIT khổng lồ manage MLM participants.

Implementation

Within nine months from May 2, 2018 (i.e., by February 2, 2019), companies which were licensed for MLM activities under the previous Decree 42 must satisfy all conditions for doing business under Decree 40 (for example, their IT system must have a hệ thống placed in Vietnam, and they must have a system lớn receive and resolve queries and complaints from MLM participants).