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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Online group buying to be regulated

By Jin Zhu  (China Daily)

08:19, March 16, 2012

A car tire of inferior quality draws the attention of onlookers. Dozens of car owners showed their defective vehicles to the media in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Thursday. (Provided to China Daily)

In a major effort to protect customers' interests, China has pledged to regulate online group buying, a thriving market with increasing illegal trading activities in recent years.

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce urged its local authorities to examine the qualifications of online group buying providers and supervise them, according to the latest circular posted on the administration's website on Wednesday.

Problems such as fraud, fake products and price hikes are arising frequently as the industry becomes popular in China, the circular said.

"Disputes and complaints related to online group buying have seen a sharp rise," the administration noted.

According to a report released on Wednesday by China E-Commerce Research Center, an independent research institute based in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, a total of 203 million people participated in online shopping in China in 2011, up 28.5 percent from the previous year.

The country's online retail sales reached 801 billion yuan ($126.5 billion) last year, a sharp increase from 514 billion yuan in 2010, the report said.

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