A company providing call center services usually performs certain business processes on behalf of the business using the call center (e.g. customer services, or telemarketing). Customers of a call center’s client will be directed to the call center whenever there is a request within outsourced business processes (e.g. making inquiries about goods and services of the call center’s client) and the staff at the call center will handle such request on behalf of the business.
Vietnamese law does not have a concept of “call center services” and a specific foreign ownership limit applicable to call center services. However, in light of the above description, call center services could be considered as a combination of the following sub-services:
- the service of conducting the specific business process that is outsourced to the call center (e.g. customer services, reception or administrative services, or marketing services);
- calls-related services (hoạt động dịch vụ liên quan đến các cuộc gọi) (economic branch number 8220) under Decision 10/2007. There is no clear foreign ownership with respect to the calls-related services under the domestic laws. In addition, calls-related services are not committed sectors under the WTO Commitments. Therefore, the licensing authority will have the discretion to refuse an application for foreign investment in call center services on the basis that it is not a committed service sector under WTO Commitments; and
- commercial representative services under the Commercial Law. Under Decree 23/2007, commercial representative services may be regarded as activities directly related to sale and purchase of goods. This is because Decree 23/2007 is stated to apply to activities directly related to sale and purchase of goods only. However, Article 3.1 of Decree 23 provides broadly that the activity related to sale and purchase of goods include commercial representative services in general. It is not clear if Article 3.1 of Decree 23/2007 is intended to refer to the activity of representing a business entity, which involves in sale and purchase of goods only or to the activity of representing any business entity including those do not involve in sale and purchase of goods.