Beijing Issues Trial Regulations for China’s Live-Streaming E-Commerce Market

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The Chinese central government has issued new regulations targeting the country’s booming live-streaming e-commerce market.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) recently led the issuance of “Online Direct Streaming Sales Administrative Measures (Trial)” (网络直播营销管理办法(试行)), which is scheduled to come into effect on 25 May 2021.

A CAC offical said that the goal of the new Measures is to “standardise the online market order, maintain the lawful rights and interests of the public, expedite the healthy and orderly development of new conditions, and operate a clear and bright Internet space.”

The Measures require that live-streaming sales platforms establish effective mechanisms for the registration and cancellation of live-streaming e-commerce accounts and sales activities, as well as systems for data security management, sales conduct standardisation, protection of minors, consumer rights protection and personal data protection.

CAC also said that the Chinese government would establish mechanisms for information sharing and public education on live-streaming e-commerce activities, as well as strengthen supervision, investigation and punishment of illicit behaviour.

Live-streaming e-commerce has recently emerged as one of the most popular and lucrative sales channels in the Chinese retail markets. The sector involves online influencers marketing and selling products via new forms of hybrid e-commerce and social media platforms such as Alibaba’s Taobao Live, which currently enjoys an 80% share of the market.

Other major tech players in China have also launched their own live-streaming e-commerce platforms and channels, including Baidu, JD.com, and TikTok-owner ByteDance.

Sales from live-streaming in China are estimated to have comprised around nearly 9% of all online retail sales in 2020.

China is already the world leader when it comes to e-commerce, with the highest rate of any country when it comes to e-commerce as a share of total retail sales, at more than 35% in 2019 according to figures from eMarketer.

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