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China Daily Website

China's commerce minister big fan of online shopping

Updated: 2013-03-08 20:40
( Xinhua)

BEIJING  -- Although many Chinese find it hard to personally connect with the country's leaders, a comment by Minister of Commerce Chen Deming has demonstrated just how similar their needs and wants are.

"If anybody knows where I can get a decent window squeegee, let me know," Chen said at a Friday press conference after recounting two unpleasant experiences in which he purchased low-quality squeegees online.

A "frequent" online shopper, the minister joins a rapidly expanding group of Chinese who are indulging in online shopping, the revenues of which exceeded 1.1 trillion yuan ($175 billion) in 2012.

In addition to his defective squeegees, Chen also cited an experience familiar to many online shoppers: late delivery.

He recalled a purchase of a blackboard that he wished to give to his three-year-old granddaughter as a New Year gift. The company responsible for shipping the item failed to deliver the blackboard on time.

"Although I eventually received the blackboard, the joy of giving the gift to my granddaughter before the New Year had gone," Chen said.

In order to obtain first-hand knowledge of the industry, the minister frequently visited online shops and "made some unnecessary purchases," which drew complaints from his family.

Although Chen said he has ended up with substandard products and clothes of wrong size from time to time, he said his online shopping experience has generally gone well.

"My personal experience is not adequate in showing the industry's whole picture. That will require surveys with larger samples and analytical methods," he said.

He said the government should accelerate the establishment of regulations and industry standards for e-commerce, as well as enhance related law enforcement capabilities.

Citing complaints lodged to China's foreign missions, Chen acknowledged the existence of cross-border e-commerce fraud and the difficulty of enforcing related laws.

"Often cross-regional and cross-sectoral in nature, online trading activity is sophisticated," the minister said. "Without coordination between various departments, it is very hard to carry out law enforcement."