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  • A distressed Weishang user stands next to a large volume of underwear she purchased but has been unable to sell. Photo: VCG_Gallery: The Dark Side of WeChat’s Microstore Platform
     
     
    A distressed Weishang user stands next to a large volume of underwear she purchased but has been unable to sell. Photo: VCG
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Gallery: The Dark Side of WeChat’s Microstore Platform

For many in China, WeChat offers a straightforward path into e-commerce. The “Weishang” function allows users to sell products and services to their contacts. These are typically friends and acquaintances, which builds trust. But there’s a dark side. Poor product quality, marketing spam and nonexistent after-sales service top a litany of consumer complaints that have undermined trust in the platform.

07.11.2019
Weishang sellers hold out their bonuses at an annual party for the app’s top sellers. Photo: VCG
A distressed Weishang user stands next to a large volume of underwear she purchased but has been unable to sell. Photo: VCG
Seller Min holds up a selfie of her swollen face taken after she tried the cosmetics she now sells. Though she likely had an allergic reaction to the product, she insists that she was “detoxing.” Photo: VCG
Sellers often have faith in their products. Here, Lin shows cosmetics she bought from her company, which cost five thousand yuan. Photo: VCG
A seller uses photos of himself to advertise biscuits he claims helped him lose 21.5 kilograms (47 pounds). Photo: VCG

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Gallery: The Dark Side of WeChat’s Microstore Platform