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Largest online platform to let shops change hands in death, divorce

(Global Times)

08:33, February 28, 2013

China's largest online platform for independent retailers will allow the heirs of deceased shop owners, as well as shop owners' divorced spouses, to continue operating businesses, the Hangzhou-based Qianjiang Evening News reported Wednesday.

According to the report,, also based in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang Province, will disclose the details of a shop ownership transfer procedure next week, seeking public opinion. It is Taobao's first attempt to clarify previously murky policies about virtual property ownership.

The online shopping website is expected to implement the new rules in the first half of 2013. They will replace existing regulations that say a shop's ownership can not be traded, rented or given away.

Lü Yan of Taobao's seller management department said Taobao shop owners put a lot of time and effort into building good reputations, and the company had forbidden ownership transferal with an eye to protecting consumers who rely heavily on those reputations.

With China's online shopping industry booming, Taobao shops with good ratings for customer satisfaction have increasing virtual value.

But last year, the deaths of two Taobao shop owners aroused public discussion about how online business can change hands. And some Chinese couples run their online shops together, so divorce can create tricky ownership issues.

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