In our daily browsing of Vietnamese news  we were surprised to see a report from TuoiTreNews quoting a representative of the Department of Broadcast, Television, and E-Information, Dao Kim Phu, saying that his department has not received any registration application from Baidu for its Tra Da Quan social network site. The site is currently at located at tieba.baidu.com.vn and the report says it has been operating since July 1.
We initially wondered if it might be a social Tieba forum service, and indeed that’s what Baidu is planning according to this new report. Although as we noted yesterday, TuoiTreNews points out there is still the issue of regulation to overcome:
Under current regulations, all social networking websites operating in Vietnam must obtain a license from the Ministry of Information and Communications.
But to say that the site has been ‘operating’ is more than a little imprecise, since currently the webpage is just a ‘coming soon page.’ We’re not aware of any marketing that Baidu has done to promote the site, with the exception of this Facebook page which currently has 177 likes. When we got in touch with Baidu this afternoon about its rumored intentions to do a social site in Vietnam, the company declined to comment on any of its activities in Vietnam.
We’re not aware of any schedule that Baidu may have for this Tieba site (or as it’s to be called, Baidu Ta Da Quan), but I’m sure they have no intentions of operating without a license. That really wouldn’t make any sense. Hopefully the authorities can cut them a little slack for what is only, at this point, a pre-launch placeholder.
July 6 Update: Thanks to one of our astute readers for pointing out this BBC Vietnam article which cites an anonymous source at Baidu saying that the company will work on the legal procedures, and change the domain name to .com to avoid issues.
We can’t actually read Vietnamese, so we were delighted to see this English report from TuoiTreNews! ↩