E-commerce regulation updates
With the high traffic of e-commerce sales happening in China, it is only natural for the government to regulate the industry. To address environmental concerns, for instance, the Chinese authorities initiated the promotion of e-commerce green development. Thus, many e-commerce enterprises have taken steps to minimize or “slim” the packages of express parcels.
The Chinese local governments have requested e-commerce companies to gradually stop using non-biodegradable plastic bags and disposable woven bags. There are also plenty of environmental steps taken to achieve certain goals such as:
- Promote epidemic prevention and control as well as economic and social development;
- Support the green development capabilities;
- Actively explore the formation of resource-saving, environment-friendly enterprise development model; and
- Promote plastic pollution control, and express packaging green transformation.
According to the Notice from the Ministry of Commerce for the green development of e-commerce enterprises, the following are the relevant steps to reach the above goals:
- Strengthen the concept of green development;
- Raise the level of low-carbon environmental protection;
- Enhance digital operation capabilities;
- Promote the reduction of express packaging;
- Promote recyclable packaging applications;
- Standardize the use of express packaging;
- Implement the responsibility for green management of e-commerce platforms;
- Expand sales of green products;
- Actively guide green consumption;
- Strengthen organization leadership;
- Increase policy support; and
- Strengthen publicity and guidance.
In terms of fast-tracking the e-commerce green transformation, the government plans to optimize the supply of express delivery packaging. This is in accordance with the State Office Letter No. 115 released last year. Furthermore, China will have upgraded the laws and regulations regarding express delivery packaging by 2022. It will also have provided incentives and set up a restraint mechanism for package management.
By 2025, the government will have built a comprehensive green concept-based system and long-term mechanism for the following areas:
- Package production
- Usage recycling and disposal
In addition, e-commerce will not do secondary packaging, and the number of recyclable packages will reach 10 million.
Supervision and administration of online transactions
China’s MOC has formulated measures related to the supervision and administration of online transactions to ensure market stability and security of e-commerce activities.
- Individuals engaged in cleaning, washing, sewing, hairdressing, moving, key preparation, pipe dredging, home appliance furniture repair, and other civil service activities that do not require permission according to the law do not need to be registered.
- If an individual engages in online trading activities and the annual transaction value does not exceed RMB 100,000, that person shall not need to register as well.
- If the same operator opens more than one online store on the same platform or on a different platform, the transaction volume of each store shall be calculated together.
Network trading operators shall not force or disguise consumers to agree to collect or use information that is not directly related to their business activities. These can be done through such methods as:
- General authorization;
- Default authorization;
- Bundling with other authorizations; and
- Discontinuing installation and use.
In other words, if sensitive information such as personal biometrics, medical and health care, financial accounts, or personal whereabouts are concerned, the consent of consumers shall be obtained on a case-by-case basis.