Authorities are clamping down on the daigou trade.
Some context: Daigou is the practice of hiring someone to buy goods overseas on behalf of a Mainland resident and then ship them back through the mail.
The advantage of daigou: It avoids import tariffs, sales tax, and other restrictions on imported products.
But new regulations seek to regulate daigou more stringently (FT):
"A new law…requires all daigou who advertise online to register with the government and pay full import taxes."Authorities are already being more stringent:“In recent months, customs have stepped up airport checks, while Chinese courts have jailed several merchants for up to 10 years for tax evasion.”The big winners are the e-commerce platforms:“The clampdown is deterring daigou traders and channelling customers towards cross-border ecommerce sites, which allow sales of imported goods at lower tax rates.”International e-commerce is set to enjoy at least another year of preferential treatment:“At this month’s [Shanghai import] expo…officials announced they would delay new rules governing the sector for another year.” “Those regulations…would increase import taxes and ban any goods not on a specified list of approved products.”
Get smart: The crackdown ondaigou and the delayed regulations on e-commerce reflect the clout of China’s large e-commerce platforms.