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Chinese regulators warn against nefarious Singles Day sales tactics

Regulators at China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) warns leading e-commerce businesses that it will be monitoring Singles’ Day sales practices.

As China prepares for Singles Day on Wednesday, the Financial Times reports SAIC regulators met with Alibaba, JD.com, Amazon.com Inc, Baidu Inc, Tencent Holdings and several other retailers to warn against selling fakes, falsifying sales figures, misrepresented advertising, or other suspect transaction during the upcoming Nov. 11th Singles Day sales event.

In a statement on its website, the regulators said, “The SAIC will strengthen market supervision ... monitor and manage online marketplaces according to law, and together with the majority of industry players jointly create an online market environment of fair competition and an environment for online consumption that is safe and secure.”

High stakes for Singles Day
The Nov. 11th Singles Day shopping event is a key revenue generator. It drives billions of dollars of goods sold online at steep discounts, and is watched as a barometer for the e-commerce industry and consumer economy in China as a whole.

Alibaba's transactions alone were said to exceeded US$14 billion last year, a figure it hopes to exceed this year. By comparison, total combined Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in 2016 are projected to exceed US$5.8 billion for the first time in history — not a small amount by any means, but far less than what Singles’ Day reportedly brings in.

Heightened watch
Fierce competition for customers on Singles Day has led to accusations of underhanded tactics by online commerce platforms, including false advertising, massaging of statistics and forcing sellers to choose one platform over others.

While SAIC warned against nefarious business transactions in previous years, Alibaba’s SEC troubles earlier this year has increased the regulator’s vigilance and has caused some to perhaps maliciously question whether results from the event are really as high as reported.

Tags: china, Fraud, Singles' Day

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