King & Wood Mallesons

Asia-Pacific 100 rank: 3

China’s revised consumer rights protection law ‘raises the bar’ for both ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers and online retailers

By Richard W Wigley

China is now believed to be the world’s largest online marketplace, as well as quickly gaining on the US as the country with the largest overall retail marketplace. This growing retail marketplace, both for traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers as well as online retailers, presents both great opportunities and challenges. Chinese consumers are becoming increasingly demanding in terms of product quality, as well as increasingly transitioning from being traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ retail consumers to online shoppers. These consumers have demanded certain protections when making purchases and, as expected, have often resorted to administrative authorities or the Chinese judicial system to seek protections of their rights, as well as compensation where appropriate.

In response to this changing consumer retail landscape, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress recently promulgated a revision to the Consumer Rights Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China, where the revision is to become effective on 15 March 2014. While the revision affords additional protections to Chinese consumers, the focus of this analysis is upon how the revision, in effect, ‘raises the bar’ on retailers in China, in terms of their new or revised statutory obligations under the revision, as well as potential increased liabilities should they be found to be offering products or services of inferior quality. Specific provisions of interest shall be examined, as follows…

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