China’s largest online shopping platform Taobao.com has hit back at the results of an official quality survey that accused it of selling fake and substandard goods, saying that the poll’s sampling methods were questionable and its test standards unfair.
More than 60 per cent of products randomly chosen from Taobao failed to meet China’s retail-goods standards, according to a recent survey commissioned by the state commercial regulator and conducted by the China Consumers’ Association.
In an open letter published on Taobao’s Weibo account, the e-commerce giant said the survey selected only 51 products out of the more than 1 billion that it had on sale.
It also said it was unfair of the State Administration of Industry and Commerce to compare the quality of goods sold on Taobao – whose platform comprises millions of e-commerce businesses operated by individual sellers – with those sold by self-operated retailers.
One of China’s major self-operated e-commerce businesses is Taobao’s major rival, Jingdong Mall. It is also the country’s second largest online shopping platform. The survey results showed that 90 per cent of Jingdong Mall’s products met official standards.
About 80 per cent of goods sold on Yihaodian, a Chinese online grocery business controlled by Walmart, met standards.
Taobao’s open letter, titled “Don’t “Don’t make unfair calls, Director Liu Hongliang. You’ve crossed the line”, was penned by an anonymous employee, Taobao said on Weibo.
The letter addressed State Administration for Industry and Commerce director Liu Hongliang, accusing him of making public the survey results without giving the online shop owners a chance to appeal. The move violated China’s regulations on quality surveys, it said.
“Director Liu, is it appropriate to make use of your public power [like this]? It’s easy to ruin [the reputation of] Taobao, but please don’t ruin the spirit of private entrepreneurs simply because [you are angry with] Taobao,” the letter said.
Chinese officials, including Premier Li Keqiang, have over the past year repeatedly voiced support for the country’s burgeoning private enterprises, especially those in the e-commerce sector.
At least 350 million people have shopped online in China, with each spending at least 3,000 yuan (HK$3,770), according to official statistics.
via Taobao cries foul over study’s claim that it sells fake, substandard goods | South China Morning Post.