Apple and Netflix face Vietnamese scrutiny over content rules and tax

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What you need to know

  • Both Apple and Netflix are in the crosshairs of Vietnam's information minister.
  • There's a concern that the companies are flouting local content rules.
  • There's a question over the taxes the pair pay as well.

Apple and Netflix are being scrutinized by Vietnam's information minister after they told a government meeting that foreign firms don't always abide to the same local content and tax laws that Vietnamese companies do.

Nguyen Manh Hung is the one pointing fingers, seemingly with Netflix being the main target as reported by Reuters. The streaming service has already been forced to remove "Full Metal Jacket" for obvious reasons.

"Some content on Netflix has flouted regulations related to the history and sovereignty of the country, violence, drug use, and sex," he added.

Foreign streaming firms like Apple and Netflix reportedly rake in almost one trillion dong ($43.15 million) from around a million subscribers in the country.

The main argument is obviously based on the tax situation, with the foreign status of Apple and Netflix preventing local competition from going toe-to-toe with them.

"Domestic companies have to abide by tax and content regulations while foreign firms do not, which is unfair competition," the minister, Nguyen Manh Hung, told a government meeting.

Vietnamese authorities are said to be working to collect the tax they're entitled to in the future.

Hung said the information ministry, finance ministry and tax department were working to facilitate tax collection by calculating foreign streaming firms' revenues in Vietnam since their entry into the market.

Presumably, Apple and Netflix will be overjoyed at the news.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.