Chinese businesses duped by fake Alibaba staff into buying mini app services

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小程序骗局肆虐 四大套路骗倒众老板—Southern Metropolis Daily

What happened: A number of Shenzhen-based businesses were tricked into paying large sums to buy mini program services by sellers representing themselves as Alibaba and Tencent staff. The business owners found that a small advertising company was behind the ruse which cost them tens of thousands of RMB. Further investigation by reporters found that similar activities have been happening across the country.

Why it’s important: While fraud is not rare in China’s online sphere, it’s still impressive to see the lengths some go to. The fraudsters convinced mostly small to medium-sized online businesses to participate in mini program seminars by “Alibaba officials” which were allegedly supported by the China International E-Commerce Center (CIECC). Both the CIECC and Alibaba and Tencent have denied organizing the seminars.