Regulator Visits ByteDance's Douyin to Discuss Revised Pricing Rules

Beijing’s market regulator recently visited ByteDance’s Douyin video hosting service to look into the company’s livestreaming e-commerce business and discuss how to prevent over-charging, a statement, published on Thursday on the regulator’s official WeChat account, said.

The regulator’s visit to Douyin – the Chinese version of TikTok – comes at a time when Beijing has pledged to support a private sector reeling from the state-imposed COVID restrictions that were lifted in December, as well as a regulatory crackdown in the property, technology and private education industries.

The regulator’s research team visited Douyin where it listened to an explanation from the company on price compliance, and how to better understand and implement the “clear price tag and the provisions on the prohibition of price gouging,” according to the statement.

“A good foundation has been laid for further deepening government-enterprise cooperation, working together to standardise the pricing behaviour of the live streaming industry,” the market regulator said.

Douyin said in a statement on the same day that it had revised rules governing price-gouging and the behaviour of e-commerce livestreamers promoting products on its platform.

The revision is aimed at forcing the livestreamers, who play a key role in boosting e-commerce sales in China, to verify prices, make sure they do not mislead customers, and ensure the merchant can deliver a product on time.

The rules also include bans on livestreamers that use fictional discounts to mislead customers into purchasing a product, or promotional acting involving family disputes, violence, and other kinds of anti-social behaviours.

It is unclear whether the visit was prompted by a specific incident. ByteDance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

BEIJING (Reuters)

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