Chapter 10: Chinese e-Commerce (2) and Legal Environment
Cong Lixian1 Chapter 9 provided an overview of IT, computer software and e-commerce. This chapter extends the discussion of e-commerce. In defining e-commerce, governments and international organizations worldwide have arrived at different conclusions. For example, the US government in its ‘global framework for electronic commerce’ has restricted the definition to the use of the internet to conduct various business activities such as advertising, buying and selling of goods and services, and other similar transactions taking place globally. Likewise, the European Parliament and the United Nations Economic Co-operation and Development Organisation upholds a similar but broader definition of e-commerce, characterizing it as a range of business activities conducted electronically. However, the World Trade Organization (WTO) work program on e-commerce includes e-commerce by encompassing not only cross-border and consumption abroad activities which are performed by way of the internet but also the transactions which are conducted using telecommunication networks or any other electronic information technology for production, marketing, sales and distribution.2 As information technology and business networks undergo maturation, e-commerce has also been associated with great potential for development. The rise of electronic commercial transactions as a popular means of trade has required regulators to focus on the adoption of relevant policies and laws to regulate this emerging business activity, to ensure greater security on the internet, to promote fair trade, and finally to attain a more sustainable economy.3 1 Cong Lixian, Professor of Law, Beijing Foreign Studies University, and Research Fellow of Zhongnan University of Economics and Law. 2 Si Linsheng...
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