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Criminals fleece Chinese consumers via e-commerce

20 August 2012 - 10:28 by Mike Price

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The market for safe shopping online is growing in China, although a new report suggests that it is actually difficult for people to avoid falling for fraudulent websites, set up by cybercriminals and designed to siphon money from unsuspecting members of the public.

In the last year, the equivalent of £3 billion has been effectively stolen by criminals using unscrupulous methods to exploit online shoppers.

198 million people in China currently use e-commerce services on a regular basis and almost a third of these consumers have been duped by scam sites, according to a report in Xinhua.

The main reason that criminals are currently so successful in China is that there is no universal standard or mark of quality and security available to retailers, which means consumers can have a tough time telling the different between legitimate portals for safe shopping online and those sites that are setting out to defraud them.

Authorities have been attempting to clamp down on fraudulent websites, but it seems that they are having little luck at the moment.

In three years, the annual amount spent online in China is predicted to top £1.4 trillion, which would easily make it the world's largest e-commerce market.

PricewaterhouseCoopers recently published a report, which found that Chinese consumers who engage in online shopping, harness it twice as often as their contemporaries in the UK.

Of course, the UK's e-commerce market is more mature than its Chinese equivalent, which means that British consumers will have a better chance of being able to shop safely from their PC or mobile.

Vigilance is still required when shopping online wherever you are, so you should stick to reputable sites and always avoid offers that seem too good to be true, because in many cases, this will turn out to be woefully accurate.