China E-commerce: New regulations to protect consumers and fight counterfeit
The Chinese government is implementing new regulations in its e-commerce sector, with various laws planned to take effect in March.
The Chinese E-shopping sector has been growing faster than ever. The industry grew from $3 billion in 2009 to $64 billion in 2012 with millions of Chinese getting online for the first time, according to the South China Morning Post.
As China is becoming the world’s second-largest online retail market in 2013, and the BtoC subsector is projected to grow on average 34%annually over the next five years, the Chinese government is looking to regulate the industry, which it has done little until now.
In March, several laws concerning the e-commerce industry will appear. Under the regulations, consumers will be able to return goods within 7 days without reason, as long as the purchases are in “good condition,” with exceptions for customized products and perishables.
Protection of consumers
“I think the law is extremely important because it affects things at a time when e-commerce is taking off in China,” said Claudio de Bedin, an attorney who advises European clients on entering the mainland market. “It’s common to see working women shop at their office computers during lunch. It makes retailers more aware of the products they are selling and ensure products don’t negatively affect the health of customers. They wouldn’t want to lose money when goods are returned.”
There is also a new law that requires sellers to register their names and addresses, which makes it easier to pursue legal action against counterfeiters. It relies on online commerce platforms like Alibaba’s Taobao.com to ensure sellers on their websites provide contact information to consumers.
The regulation will prove troublesome for e-commerce sites, as counterfeit products are rampant on many platforms, but are necessary to help bring all marketplaces up to the same standard.
“Compared with our rivals, we have very strict entry requirements on certification,” according to the South China Morning Post.