Beijing “Becomes Friendly” to Internet Platforms, Seeks to “Free up” Conditions for Private Entrepreneurs in the E-Commerce Sector

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The Beijing municipal government has issued a slew of new measures to support the development of the regional e-commerce economy, with an especial focus on loosening up regulatory conditions for small-scale private entrepreneurs.

On February 7, the Beijing Market Supervision and Administration Bureau issued the draft version of the “Notice on Optimizing Access Services Work for E-commerce Operators” (关于优化电子商务经营者准入服务工作的通知(公开征求意见稿)) for the solicitation of opinions from the public.

Pan Helin (盘和林), co-director of the Digital Economy and Financial Innovation Research Center at Zhejiang University, said to Securities Daily that the introduction of this series of measures has weakened the regulatory duties for platform companies as well as simplified the the methods for the performance of their regulatory obligations.

“This frees up the individual private economy, reduces intervention in economic enterprises, and promotes the vigorous growth and development of private enterprises and individual industrial and commercial households.”

The draft version of the Notice outlines 17 measures for the purpose of “promoting flexible employment and encouraging and supporting the standardized and healthy development of the [Internet] platform economy.”

Key measures contained by the Notice for facilitating the online business operations of individual proprietors include:

  • Supporting e-commerce platforms to improve the convenience of their services for individual online stores.
  • Supporting individual online stores to use the “one license and multiple addresses” method to record information on multiple business site.
  • No longer requiring that individual online stores with multiple network business sites apply for multiple business licenses.
  • No longer indicating the validity period for the business licenses of individual online stores
  • Allowing “individual online stores” to convert their online business sites into physical business sites.
  • The implementation of “trigger supervision” by market supervisory departments for individual online stores, except for special cases such as complaints and reports.
  • Prohibiting e-commerce platforms from forcing natural persons who do not need to be registered according to law to apply for business licenses.

“This ‘loosening’ presages a friendly attitude towards the platform economy,” said Weng Zichi (翁梓驰), a senior investment consultant at Jufeng Investment Consulting. “The optimization of the access service measures will facilitate the development of individual online stores.

“On the one hand, individual online stores that have greater requirements for their own development can now complete the ‘conversion from individual to enterprise’ in order to achieve continuity.

“On the other hand, individual online stores will also be able to use the method of ‘one license, multiple locations’ to record information on multiple business premises. In addition to facilitating the development individual online stores, this is also conducive to individual online stores becoming bigger and stronger.”