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Monday, March 9, 2015, 16:42

China to strictly regulate online commerce

By Xinhua

BEIJING - China's market regulator said Monday the government will strictly regulate online commerce, amid a heated public dispute over China's largest online shopping platform Taobao.com which was found to match-make transactions of a great number of shoddy commodities.

E-commerce platforms have to take "key responsibilities" for promoting "credibility and integrity," Zhang Mao, minister of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), said at a press conference on the sidelines of China's annual parliamentary session.

Underlining that the Internet is not a "lawless heaven," Zhang said government regulators would take more measures on protecting the legitimate rights of online shoppers, including proposing new legislative bills and building up online database for stricter supervision over e-commerce.

Results of a SAIC sample test released on Jan. 23 showed that only 37.25 percent of surveyed commodities sold on Taobao.com were authentic, lower than a 58.7-percent average of major online shopping platforms.

The US-listed online business giant Alibaba, which runs Taobao, butted heads with the SAIC over product quality after the release of the findings. Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma met with Minister Zhang on Jan. 30, drawing a line under the quarrel by mutual concession.

"The reason why there are so many market violations is that the cost of breaking rules is too low," Zhang said when taking a question on the Taobao dispute, adding that the market will fundamentally improve if companies find such costs unaffordable.

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