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Netflix Required to Stop Video Game Services in Vietnam

ByYasmeeta Oon

May 2, 2024
Netflix Required to Stop Video Game Services in Vietnam

Netflix Required to Stop Video Game Services in Vietnam

HANOI, VIETNAM — In a decisive move, the Vietnamese Authority for Broadcasting and Electronic Information (ABEI) has issued a directive to Netflix, ordering the global streaming giant to cease its video gaming promotions and services in Vietnam by April 25. This decision marks a significant challenge for Netflix as it attempts to expand its offerings within the country.

Vietnam’s regulatory framework mandates that any company offering video game services must have a specific gaming services license, a requirement that Netflix currently does not meet. The directive not only demands the cessation of game promotions but also the removal of all gaming features from the Netflix app on Vietnam’s App Store and Google Play Store before the deadline.

Netflix ventured into the gaming industry with the introduction of Netflix Games in November 2021. This feature, integrated within Netflix’s mobile apps, allowed subscribers to play a variety of mobile games as part of their subscription. However, Vietnamese law restricts video game service offerings to companies that are locally incorporated and registered. This regulation has placed Netflix at a significant disadvantage in expanding its service portfolio in the country.

The directive from ABEI is the latest in a series of regulatory hurdles Netflix has faced in Vietnam. Previously, the government banned the streaming of the Hollywood movie “Barbie” and the Chinese-produced drama series “Flight to You,” citing “geopolitical reasons.” These actions indicate a stringent approach by Vietnamese authorities towards foreign digital content providers.

Despite these obstacles, Netflix reportedly remains committed to its Vietnamese market strategy. The company is planning to establish a local office and has already conducted a risk assessment for the move. This step is seen as part of a broader effort to deepen its engagement with the Vietnamese market and navigate the complex regulatory landscape effectively.

Overview of Netflix’s Regulatory Challenges in Vietnam
DateEventImpact on Netflix
November 2021Launch of Netflix GamesExpansion into gaming
April 2023Directive to halt gaming servicesMust comply or face fines
2023Ban on “Barbie” and “Flight to You”Content restrictions
2023Planned opening of a local officeStrategic market presence
  • Immediate Cessation Required: The ABEI has explicitly ordered Netflix to stop all gaming promotions and remove gaming content from its platform in Vietnam by April 25.
  • Licensing Issues: Netflix’s current operations do not include the required Vietnamese gaming services license, prompting the regulatory action.
  • Future Compliance: To continue its operations without further disruptions, Netflix must align its services with Vietnam’s specific regulatory requirements.

The primary issue here involves Netflix’s alignment with the Vietnamese legal structure, which favors locally incorporated entities over foreign ones in certain digital service sectors, including gaming. This protective measure helps control the types of digital content and services accessible to Vietnamese consumers and ensures that they comply with local cultural and legal standards.

In response to these challenges, Netflix’s decision to open an office in Vietnam is a significant strategic move. It represents an effort to establish a more substantial local presence, potentially facilitating better relations with regulatory authorities and an improved understanding of the Vietnamese market’s specific needs and legal landscape.

Netflix’s entry into the Vietnamese market highlights the complexities international companies face when expanding into regulated spaces like digital content and services. The balance between innovation in service offerings and compliance with local regulations is a delicate one, requiring nuanced strategies and sometimes significant operational adjustments.

In conclusion, as Netflix navigates these regulatory waters, it will need to showcase not only adaptability but also a willingness to engage more deeply with the intricacies of the Vietnamese market. This situation underscores the broader challenges faced by digital content providers operating internationally, particularly in countries with strict regulatory frameworks concerning digital content and services.


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Featured Image courtesy of Tech Times

Yasmeeta Oon

Just a girl trying to break into the world of journalism, constantly on the hunt for the next big story to share.

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