The Department of E-commerce under the Ministry of Industry and Trade on June 15 introduced a system to assess the trustworthiness of e-commerce websites in Vietnam in a bid to protect local customers from online trade frauds.

Built in cooperation with Thang Long Indochina Joint Stock Co, a prominent online security firm in Vietnam, the system was designed to provide consumer with concrete information on e-commerce websites, which have seen the set-up in the hundreds in recent years.

The system will evaluate each e-commerce site basing on credibility, payment method, internet environment and quality of traded products. The result will be published on the trade and industry ministry's website at

Online trade has experienced growth, thanks to its convenience and diverse offerings of goods. The sector generates revenue of 2 billion USD each year in Vietnam.

However, recent cases of fraud by e-commerce websites have raised serious concerns among consumers over the credibility of this model of trading.

It is expected that the e-commerce website evaluation system will help improve the e-commerce environment and protect consumers from fraudulent websites.

According to a recent Government decree which came to effect in January, unregistered e-commerce websites will be fined between 20-30 million VND (950-1,430 USD).

Meanwhile, trading in fake products on e-commerce sites is subject to fines of 40-50 million VND (1,900-2,380 USD).

Fake goods will be confiscated and the website will be forced to suspend operations from six months to a year. The domain name may also be revoked.

Figures from the Ministry of Industry and Trade show that about 1,889 online retail services are in their process of providing information.

Another 175 e-commerce providers are undertaking registration with the Vietnam E-Commerce and Information Technology Agency (Vecita) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

This number is quite small compared to the thousands of sites in operation.

Recently, Vecita and the Hanoi Market Watch Department fined 30 million VND (1,410 USD). Managed by Nam Viet Industrial Production Company in Hoang Mai district, the site had not been registered.

Hoa Nam Import-Export JSC was also fined 30 million VND for the same offence.-VNA