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Online trading in China is no longer a world of anonymity. New regulation come intin force Thursday that requires people who want to shop online provide their real name and address. But what impact will it have on the booming industry, for retailers and shoppers alike?
Xiao Hu is a university student but she also runs an online clothes shop in her spare time. She says, when she opened her shop, the procedures was very simple. All she had to do was upload a copy of her ID card. After a few days of checking, her shop opened. Though the real name principle doesn't seem to bother her, she still has some worries.
Online retailer Xiao Hu said, "One of the new clauses orders retailers to provide legal receipts. I don't know anything about it. I never asked for or gave receipts before. And I'm worried that I may need to pay tax in the future. It will increase my costs."
Most small online shops cannot provide receipts. That's why the question of how to offer receipts and what to charge, have become some of the hottest topics among online retailers.
Xiao Hu said, "It depends on how the new principle works. If I can afford it, I'm happy to pay for it. But if it is too expensive, I may have to close my shop."
Facing an increasingly bad employment situation, this comparatively easy way of starting a business is popular among many graduates. However, many say the new regulations make it more difficult.
But customers have welcomed the new regulations. They say they are a powerful weapon to protect their rights.
An online customer said, "I think the new regulation will make the online shopping safer than before. It gives us a weapon to fight against retailers who cheat. I fully support the new rules."
However, some retailers warn that the new regulation will increase their costs, the cost of their products will increase which customers will have to pay for.
An online retailer said, "Before, opening a cyber shop was very easy and cheap. But now I have to register at the Industrial and Commercial Bureau. I have to pay for registration and other fees. My costs will increase and the products will be more expensive."
Experts say in the long run, the new regulation will help online trading develop. However many say the new regulation still need further improvement.