Business activities in Vietnam will be classified into 4 different groups :
1. The activities that are allowed to be carried out by foreign investment freely and without any constraints in term of ownership or minimum capital. This concern activities such as Management advisory (including marketing, management, strategy, HR, design, etc.).
2. The activities that are allowed to be carried out by foreign investors but under certain conditions such as ownership (Vietnamese ownership required) or minimum capital. For instance, industries such as tourism, real estate development will typically be subject to certain conditions.
3. The activities that are not yet listed in the Central Product Classification after the adhesion of Vietnam to the World Trade Organization in 2006 are subject to “sublicensing”. That basically means that you will need to get your ERC (enterprise registration certificate) first then apply for the appropriate sublicense. For instance, if you wish to do e-commerce at the platform level in Vietnam (also processing payment from the website), it may be necessary to obtain a e-commerce license.
TIPS: Invoicing in Vietnam works differently than in other country, it is possible in order to avoid much trouble (and if your client permits it) to invoice for a matter that is slightly different than what you are actually performing. For instance, event organization will be invoiced as marketing advisory. Vietnam is a country that is opening and where laws tend to be more in favor of foreign investment. We would advise you to choose the most general business activity to keep things legal and simple. Do not hesitate to talk to us!
See also: What is a VAT red invoice ? What subject may I use when issuing an official VAT invoice ?