Two days ago, I wrote about how “China Wants US$2.8 Trillion E-Commerce Sales by 2015, But Please Stop Bleeding Money First!” I highlighted how China’s rapid development through the internet has superseded the ability to manage and control it. Although higher internet penetration leads to higher sales, it doesn’t mean higher profits. Many famous e-commerce players are still struggling to become sustainably profitable. Li Guoqing, DangDang’s CEO berated 360Buys ability to do e-commcerce as “bullshit” and said for every dollar they earn, they spend four.

Now China Daily has reported about customers suing 360Buy.com for failing to uphold its end of the deal to provide sightseeing trips for 1 yuan or 16 cents. This highlights another pillar lacking in China’s heavy shift towards supporting e-commerce: rules, regulations, policy and law.

So what happened? According to China Daily, 360Buy advertised several sightseeing packages, including one to Shaoxing, a historic city in Zhejiang province for a ridiculous 1 yuan per customer on March 19. The deal included breakfast, one night’s stay in a hotel and entrance fees for some scenic areas. Nearly 1,700 people purchased the trip online. But subsequently 360Buy cancelled the deal and refunded the money back to customer accounts. 360Buy claimed they made a technical error and the page was only meant to be a test page.

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Jason Lim

Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area.