China to set up e-commerce regulatory system

The country's e-commerce industry is flourishing because of an unfettered environment, but the Ministry of Industry and Commerce is setting up a centralized monitoring system to better regulate it.

China is setting up a centralized monitoring system for e-commerce activities as it looks to rein in an industry flourishing from a free business environment, and punish law breakers and businesses with unfair trade practices.

Citing ministry official Gan Ling, a report by Sina Tech Wednesday said the Ministry of Industry and Commerce is building the regulatory system and implementing a data management framework to collate and monitor all online transactions. It is aiming to be operational by the first half of 2013, it added.

An official from the Beijing office said only the Chinese capital currently has the technical capability to access the computers of e-commerce vendors and look through their electronic documents. It can copy, but not alter, the contents for further examination, it added.

News of the centralized monitoring system for e-commerce is further evidence China intends to pay more attention to this sector, even as the government had set its sights on growing the online commerce market to be worth US$2.86 trillion by 2015. 

On Wednesday, China Daily reported that regulators shut down 168 illegal Web sites in 2012 and inspected 29,000 e-commerce Web sites and 28,000 offline stores in 2012. It also busted 167 illegal cases and deleted 7.14 million items of illegal online shopping information.

These figures compared favorably to 2011, when 1,400 illegal Web sites were shuttered and 34 million pieces of online information were deleted, the report noted.