BEIJING - Internet entrepreneurs are now required to register their personal details, including their real names and addresses, with e-commerce agents before they begin to operate their businesses online, according to a regulation that came into effect on Thursday.
A web photo shows the homepage of Taobao.com, one of China's largest platforms for online stores.
Many online shop owners are worried that the regulation, issued by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), the country's market regulator, is a signal that the government is preparing to start collecting taxes from them.
As the country's first regulation administering online trade and services, the rule lists the obligations of online shop owners and e-commerce agents. It also stipulates the obligations of commerce authorities over the management of e-shopping.
If online business owners fail to abide by the regulation, they face a fine up to 30,000 yuan ($4,410), according to the regulation.
Some online trading platforms, including Taobao.com and Paipai.com, can expect to be targeted by the SAIC as it monitors the implementation of the regulation, since they are the most influential e-commerce agents, with the largest number of transactions, the administration said.
The platforms are required to register and review online shop owners' identities along with their business credentials, establish mechanisms to ensure the safety of online transactions and protect the buyers' legal rights. They also need to monitor sites and bar the sale of counterfeit goods, according to the regulation.
Commerce regulators in East China's Zhejiang province put the SAIC's regulation into effect on Thursday, specifying the local online trade inspectors' duties and urging businesses to protect their credibility.
Half of the profits produced by the country's online transactions are from the province, according to a report by 21st Century Business Herald.