China releases rules tightening regulation on its livestreaming sales industry
China’s internet watchdog on Friday released rules to regulate the country’s booming livestreaming sales industry. The industry has seen an increase in misbehavior of some livestreamers, false advertisements and counterfeit goods.
According to the rules posted on the website of Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), livestreamers will need to provide their real names as well as social credit codes to the livestreaming marketing platforms they use. The platforms will in turn have to submit their identity information and other information concerning tax to local tax authorities. Livestreamers will also need to be above the age of 16 unless they’re under supervision of an adult.
In addition, these platforms will step up monitoring of livestreaming content and must immediately handle any illegal and bad information.
Behaviors such as promoting pyramid schemes, gambling or falsifying page views are prohibited. The platforms will establish a blacklist system for livestreamers and block anyone that violates these laws, among other rules, according to the CAC.
Livestreaming sales have witnessed fast development in China amid the pandemic when people stayed at home to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. According to industry analysis platform chyxx.com, the livestreaming e-commerce industry was estimated to be nearly worth 971 billion yuan ($149 billion) in 2020, which is more than double the 443.8 billion yuan scale in 2019.
In China, Alibaba’s Taobao, ByteDance’s Douyin and Tencent-backed Kuaishou are leading livestreaming e-commerce platforms. Hundreds of thousands of hosts across the country sell goods from personal care products to food and cars in real-time livestreaming. Top livestreamers like “lipstick king” Li Jiaqi and Viya are able to sell goods worth millions of yuan in a single livestreaming session.
As the Chinese economy was being battered by the pandemic, the livestreaming industry played an active role in staving off unemployment, driving up domestic demands as well as poverty alleviation. However, the industry has also aroused wide criticism with many consumers accusing some livestreamers of misrepresenting products or even selling counterfeit products.
By strengthening supervision on livestreaming platforms, livestreamers and every aspect of online and offline activities and regulating the rights and responsibility of industry players, the new rules are of significance for regulating the internet market, maintaining the legitimate rights and interests of consumers and boost the healthy development of the new business mode, the CAC said.
The new regulations will take effective on May 25.