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Online shopping surges in 2012, but problems follow

By Xiao Fei (Global Times)

10:40, January 17, 2013

With the number of Chinese online shoppers reaching a new high in 2012, problems such as fraud and user data leakage have also come to the fore, experts said.

The number of online shoppers amounted to 242 million by the end of 2012, up 48.07 million from a year earlier, according a report published Tuesday by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).

The increasing purchasing power of Chinese residents, as well as frequent sales promotions launched by e-commerce companies, has boosted the number of online shoppers in China, the report said.

"Online retailers want to seize every festival to attract consumers' attention and boost sales revenues," Feng Lin, an e-commerce analyst at Hangzhou-based China e-Business Research Center, told the Global Times Wednesday.

"People have gradually grown tired of various promotions. They have become more cautious in making purchases if the discounts are not attractive enough," he said.

The booming online shopping industry also faces problems such as fraud, leakage of personal information and disorderly competition, highlighting the fact that industry regulations have lagged behind the rapid development of the online market, the CNNIC report noted.

"As an online shopping platform, does not have the ability to check every seller's products in advance. In common practice, it will punish those sellers who have been found with problems by customers or others," Feng said.

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