China’s e-commerce sector has been immensely profitable, but it has also been kind of like the wild west. Without a lot of regulation, it’s very easy to find customers, merchants, and the employees of e-commerce companies that kicked it complaining about fraud. Now, China’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce has stepped in, announcing that it will establish a unified national system of oversight for e-commerce to prevent and punish law-breaking and unfair practices.
A Beijing-level official in the Ministry told the Beijing Evening News that the city was taking the lead by establishing a new laboratory for the collection of electronic data and evidence that will hopefully help in the prosecution of law-breaking e-commerce companies. The system, which will be overseen by legal authorities, can apparently access the computers of e-commerce executives and copy (but not alter) files to its own servers for examination.
It’s not clear when the Ministry’s new system of oversight will be fully implemented, but it is clearly taking e-commerce fraud very seriously. Ministry officials promised to make the fines levied on e-commerce criminals harsher, and this year the Ministry has already inspected more than 290,000 e-commerce sites, deleted more than seven million instances of illegal product information, and shut down 168 illegal e-commerce companies.
[Beijing Evening News via Sina Tech]