Officials call for better regulation of new retail models

Ding Yining
CPPCC members and National People's Congress delegates have proposed better regulation of new retail models such as community group-buying sites and online fresh food vendors.
Ding Yining

Chinese lawmakers and political advisers have proposed better regulation of new retail models such as community group-buying sites and online fresh food vendors. 

Better Life Commercial Chain Company Chairman Wang Tian suggested regulators increase scrutiny of marketing events and sales discounts at community group-buying sites to ensure a long-term development of the sector.

"Price irregularities, food safety concerns and the absence of a consumer rights protection mechanism could hinder future development," Wang said. 

Booming community group-buying sites have  upgraded agricultural supply chains and boosted investment in logistics infrastructure. Kantar Consulting estimates the community group-buying market in China will increase to 121 billion yuan (US$18.6 billion) this year, 36 percent higher than a year ago. 

Subsidiaries and complex promotional activities have made it difficult for regulators to detect monopolistic activities and unfair competition, members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and delegates of the National People's Congress also said.

Chai Shanshan, who works at China Post Group's Shanghai bureau, proposed regulating dispatch stations for online fresh food vendors and a coordinated supervision model.

Dispatch centers, which also serve as warehouse stations in central districts, have created regulatory problems and potential food safety loopholes. Chai thinks they should be considered urban infrastructure facilities to ensure optimization and reduce investment in new facilities. He also proposed creating operation standards to ensure sound development of new retail models for the digital economy.

Suning Group Chairman Zhang Jindong proposed government-sponsored training courses for e-commerce practitioners in rural areas to boost consumption and upgrade retail models. 

Sales of rural consumer goods were almost 5.3 trillion yuan in 2020, about 13.5 percent of total nationwide sales. Traditional brick and mortar stores still account for the bulk of daily purchases in rural areas. 

Zhang thinks established retailers should help smaller rural vendors combine online and offline resources to increase sales.

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