1. How to navigate the laws applied to e-commerce in China.

Today more than ever, e-commerce plays an important role in penetrating the Chinese market. Companies choosing this business model shall take care ensuring they comply with PRC law at various levels.

First of all, can your product be legally imported into China? This is not always the case. Drugs, cosmetics, some food products, electronics all need – at various extensions – governmental qualifications to enter PRC. Goods entering China through cross-border e-commerce (i.e. sold through e-commerce directly by overseas suppliers to PRC end-users) are de facto and not subject to inspection by CIQ and customs. However, it is thought that soon this policy might change, and non-qualified products may become blocked.

Secondly, e-commerce is indeed focused on direct communications and engagement with end-users. Sales are conducted online, meaning that the seller’s web-site needs to outline clear terms and conditions applicable to such sales contracts, (applicable law, jurisdiction, delivery, etc…) as well as an appropriate procedure for the customer to confirm its consent.

Operators need also to make sure that their privacy policy and general terms and conditions comply with PRC regulations. The commercial content of the websites must comply with provisions concerning consumer protection, advertising and unfair-competition. For instance, under the new Consumer Protection Law, a consumer has the right to return the purchased product within 7-days. Such right is and currently can be excluded for some specific kinds of product;

  • Under the new Consumer Protection Law, on-line sellers must clearly disclose to consumers key information such as their contact details as well as quality/quantity/ price of products and services.
  • Under the new Advertising Law, specific provisions concern online advertising. Moreover, most provisions on off-line advertising apply to on-line advertising as well.
  1. E-commerce, trademark and authorization letters.

Several new platforms have been launched recently that we’d like to bring to your attention.

One we outline, and that our team has only recently became aware of was launched by Netease, the Chinese Internet giant listed in New York and famous for the email @163. cn. They are launching a new e-commerce platform (XIUPIN.COM) dedicated to fashion and lifestyle, with wide space offered to foreign brands. It is interesting to note that, compared to T-Mall and Alibaba, the competitors, XIUPIN offer consumers and brands a strict “no fake” policy.

They will limit the access to the platform to one or few sellers and provide direct connection with the brand and supporting authorization letters.

  1. Legal Compliance for e-commerce in China: your checklist.

When starting an e-commerce project in China, legal compliance is an important factor to take into consideration. We list herein a few aspects that shall be dealt with:

  • Domain name registration;
  • Trademark registration;
  • ICP registration;
  • Contractual Compliance (supplier, customer, platform);
  • Privacy Compliance;
  • 7dd right of refund/restitution;
  • Copyright protection for the web page or app design;