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China moves to regulate e-commerce

Updated: Dec 19,2016 3:36 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — Chinese top legislature is deliberating a draft law that will regulate and facilitate e-commerce in the country.

The draft law was tabled for review by legislators at the bimonthly session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, which runs from Dec 19 to 25.

It is the first reading of the draft by the top legislature.

Explaining the draft to lawmakers on the morning of Dec 19, Lyu Zushan, deputy director with the NPC’s Financial and Economic Affairs Committee, said booming e-commerce in recent years had served to reveal loopholes in China’s legal system and commercial rules.

The draft law will facilitate e-commerce growth, help maintain market order and protect consumer rights.

The draft law said the nation should put online and offline commercial activities on an equal footing, and protect the safety of e-commerce transactions.

All e-commerce operators have an obligation to pay taxes and should acquire the necessary business certificates, under the draft.

Operators must also ensure personal information security for consumers. Those that fail will face fines up to 500,000 yuan and could have their business certificates revoked.

They must also work to protect intellectual property, the draft said.

The draft requires third-party e-commerce platforms to offer technical support for “law enforcement activities by relevant authorities.”

China is the world’s largest e-commerce market.

According to Lyu, e-commerce trade amounted to over 20 trillion yuan (about $2.87 trillion) in 2015, with online retail sales totaling 3.88 trillion yuan.

Last month, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba saw 120.7 billion yuan in gross merchandise volume during its 24 hour Singles’ Day event, an annual online shopping spree on Nov 11.