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Vietnam: Digital Sovereignty with New .vn Domain Policies

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In a significant move to bolster the digital economy and society, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has introduced two groundbreaking policies aimed at popularising the national domain name ‘.vn’. This initiative is designed to stimulate digital growth and enhance Vietnam’s presence in the global digital landscape.

Image credits: Vietnam Ministry of Information and Communication

The Internet has become a critical platform for individuals, organisations, and businesses to establish an online presence. Registering a domain name is often the first step in creating this presence. Vietnam officially entered the global internet arena in 1994, and since then, it has actively participated in international economic integration, contributing to socio-economic development.

The Vietnam Internet Network Information Center (VNNIC) reports that after 30 years, Vietnam boasts over 610,000 domain names with the ‘.vn’ suffix. This positions the country as second in ASEAN, tenth in the Asia-Pacific region, and 40th globally. However, only 25% of Vietnamese businesses have registered to use the ‘.vn’ domain name, significantly lower than the 70% seen in developed countries.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Huy Dung highlighted the trend of shifting from traditional business models to online platforms. He stressed that the ‘.vn’ domain is crucial for Vietnamese businesses and households to build their brands, develop online businesses sustainably, and enhance the digital economy and society. Using the national domain name also contributes to protecting national digital sovereignty in cyberspace.

VNNIC’s director, Nguyen Hong Thang, cited a recent survey indicating that over 85% of respondents believe websites with ‘.vn’ domains are more reliable than those with international domain names. The ‘.vn’ domain has thus become a symbol of trust and reliability, enhancing brand identity for internet users in Vietnam.

To accelerate digital transformation and promote digital government, economy, and society, the MIC launched a program to popularise the ‘.vn’ domain name. Approved in mid-May 2024, it aims to help people, enterprises, and business households establish a reliable and safe online presence using the ‘.vn’ domain. The initiative spans from 2024 to 2025 and targets cities and provinces nationwide.

The program offers two special policies to facilitate rapid online presence. The first policy provides a two-year fee exemption for the use of the BIZ.VN domain name and basic digital services, such as website and email setup, for newly established businesses and private business households.

The second policy grants a two-year fee exemption for the ID.VN domain name and basic digital services to individuals aged 18-23. This includes setting up personal websites, online diaries, CVs, and emails, encouraging youth to establish their online presence and contribute to the digital society.

The concept of national digital sovereignty is evolving as the internet becomes deeply embedded in economic, political, and cultural life, making the world increasingly interconnected. Traditionally, national territory is defined by physical boundaries, but in the digital realm, these boundaries are represented by country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs). The ‘.vn’ domain serves as Vietnam’s identifier on the global internet map, signifying the nation’s digital territory.

According to the MIC, country-code domains like ‘.vn’ play a crucial role in establishing a nation’s presence and identity on the global internet. The ‘.vn’ domain represents Vietnam internationally, promoting the country’s digital sovereignty and global presence.

The MIC’s initiative to popularise the ‘.vn’ domain name through supportive policies and fee exemptions aims to stimulate the digital economy and society in Vietnam. By encouraging businesses and individuals to adopt the ‘.vn’ domain, the country enhances its digital sovereignty, reliability, and brand identity on the global internet map. This strategic move is poised to drive significant growth and innovation in Vietnam’s digital landscape, aligning with the nation’s broader goals of digital transformation and economic development.

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