Deputy PM calls for crackdown on Chinese digital wallet payments

By Anh Minh   September 5, 2018 | 12:35 am PT
Deputy PM calls for crackdown on Chinese digital wallet payments
A green sign on the door of a store in Nha Trang indicates that WeChat Pay, a Chinese digital wallet service, is available as a payment method. Photo by VnExpress/An Phuoc
The Vietnamese government wants to stop tourists from using Chinese electronic wallets, saying it results in tax evasion.

Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has ordered ministries and other agencies to crack down on the use of WeChat Pay, AliPay and illegal points of sale devices at travel hotspots frequented by Chinese tourists.

He has also ordered the State Bank of Vietnam and the Ministry of Finance to consider international financial regulations and come up with solutions to prevent the use of foreign electronic wallets.

He also instructed them to put in place a legal framework to tax such payments.

According to some tour guides in tourist areas, many Vietnamese shop owners have bank accounts in China and payments made by Chinese visitors are transferred directly to those accounts.

Authorities in some tourist hubs frequented by Chinese had flagged difficulties in controlling payments since many used Chinese e-wallets, causing tax losses.

Authorities in Ha Long, Nha Trang and Da Nang beach cities called for technological solutions and specific regulations to stop these payments.

The deputy PM also ordered the Ministry of Planning and Investment to assess the impact of Chinese ‘zero dollar’ tours on the economy and security.

He urged local authorities to carry out surprise checks of tourism companies, shopping malls and restaurants reportedly involved in ‘zero dollar’ tours and publicly announce their penalties.

Huge numbers of Chinese tourists have been coming to Vietnam in recent years, many through ‘zero dollar’ tours that enable them to get free accommodation and meals for shopping at “Chinese customers only” stores for prices a few times higher than the market rate.

These stores are owned by Vietnamese nationals but are actually operated by Chinese investors, and their operations are very hard for authorities to control, one official at the Mong Cai International Border recently told VnExpress.

Fifteen such stores were closed last year after Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told Quang Ninh Province to verify media reports.

In the first half this year Vietnam received 2.5 million Chinese visitors, or 32 percent of all international arrivals, a year-on-year increase of 36 percent.

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