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China’s First Set of E-commerce Livestreaming Rules Are Out, With More to Come

China’s booming e-commerce live-streaming scene has been in the spotlight for its part in helping to sustain consumption throughout the corona virus outbreak and boost sales across many platforms during the recent 618 Shopping Festival. But the picture is not entirely rosy, as concerns have emerged that e-commerce live-streaming is a breeding ground for false advertising, sales of shoddy goods, fraudulent activity, and poor after-sales service. 
Help is on the way. In March, the State Administration for Market Regulation and 11 other departments highlighted the need to strengthen supervision of activity on live-streaming platforms, and various bodies have gotten to work on regulating the sector. 
Up first is the China Advertising Association (CAA). Its “Standards for Internet Live-stream Marketing Activity” (網路直播行銷行為規範) took effect on July 1and focus mainly on combating false and misleading information. Key points of the new rules:
1.     E-commerce live-streamers are required to give “complete, truthful, and accurate”descriptions of the products and the services they sell.
2.     False advertising, vulgar content, and exaggeration of products are strictly prohibited to prevent misleading consumers.
3.     Live-streaming platforms are required to operate under the supervision of authorities and provide data and information as needed.
4.     Although live-streamers can use nicknames, they will be required to provide real-name authentication to their streaming platforms.
5.     The marketing data provided by the live streamers to the merchants, streaming platforms and marketing platform must be true.
6.     Platforms need to maintain self-censorship and support training for live-stream hosts; and
7.     The CAA will censure parties that breach the rules and report them to relevant authorities for follow-up investigations.
Separately, CCI previously reported on the China General Chamber of Commerce’s work on drafting a set of national standards for e-commerce live-streaming shopping along with guidelines for online sales, which are expected to be released for comment this month.
With a new regulatory regime in the works, many are wondering what the future of e-commerce live-streaming will look like. In May, China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security recognized “live-streaming host” as a new profession, and it looks like official job requirements such as certification may not be far off. 
Zhejiang Province, home to Alibaba and a hub of e-commerce live-streaming activity, has several regulations in the works, and released the “Standards for Training and Evaluation of E-Commerce Live-streaming Talent” on June 26. These standards set out academic qualifications and three skill levels for hosts:junior, intermediate, and advanced, based on years of experience. But since e-commerce live-streaming has only been in existence for four years, top hosts such as Li Jiaqi and Viya would only qualify as mid-level talent.

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