Caixin
Oct 26, 2016 06:44 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Online Companies, Central Government Join Forces to Stamp Out Phony Reviews

(Beijing) — China's largest internet sellers have signed agreements with the country's top economic planner in which they promise to crack down on fake online reviews for products and services ahead of the Nov. 11 online shopping festival.

Eight companies, including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Didi Chuxing, agreed to cooperate with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to share information to eliminate fake reviews, the government agency said on Tuesday.

The companies are required to share information on a platform created by government authorities about sellers who engage in forging reviews. The offending sellers will be put on a blacklist, the NDRC said. However, there are no immediate plans to make either the platform or the list of sellers public.

It is a common practice by sellers on e-commerce websites and drivers on ride-hailing platforms to hire people to write positive reviews of their products or services to get more business.

"There has been an industry based on this practice, and it has become a thorny issue for regulators," said Li Juhe, deputy director of the fiscal and financial affairs department of the NDRC.

The move came ahead of the "Double 11" shopping day, the biggest online shopping event in the country, which falls on Nov. 11. Alibaba, which created the event, said deals worth 91.2 billion yuan ($13.5 billion) were made in 24 hours on its e-commerce platform last year.

Contact reporter Chen Na (nachen@caixin.com); editor Ken Howe (kennethhowe@caixin.com)

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