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New E-commerce Rules: China Will Implement Real-name Registration For Internet Stores

The State Administration for Industry & Commerce of China has formally published the “Interim Measures for Management of Network Commodity Trade and Related Services”, effective from July 1, 2010.

According to the measures, individual online sellers in China who wish to sell goods via the Internet should submit applications to the operators of e-commerce platforms with their true identity information, including names and addresses. By doing this, anonymous sellers of goods will hopefully be eradicated. Considering the nuances of various online shopping websites, SAIC will establish a unified nationwide supervision and management platform in three years after this initial test phase.

The measures state that for registered enterprises and small private businesses who want to open online stores, they should provide their business licenses and related information; while for individuals who wish to do the same, they should provide their true identity information, including names and addresses, for verification, then the related websites will issue certifications to them, mark on their web pages, and establish registration files for regular checks and updates. This will affect sites like Taobao.com, which encourage users to create their own online retails stores.

The measures also asked Internet platform providers to enhance management of online stores in various ways. Apart from the examination of main bodies, websites and their online stores should not infringe registered trademarks or company names. If the legal rights’ owners can prove the infringement of online stores, the related websites should take necessary measures, including passing the information of the websites to local authorities and shutting down the e-commerce stores.

In addition, websites and online stores should sign contracts or agreements, clarifying their rights and obligations in quality of products and services, and protection of consumer rights. Websites should set up a system to check and monitor product information of online stores. Once irregular activities are found, the websites should report to the local industry and commerce departments and can stop providing services to these online stores.

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