BYLINE: BRIAN K. DICKSTEINChina shut down some big online retailers, including fashion giant LVMH and jewelry and accessories giant Chanel, on Friday, with some brands getting shuttered for the first time in more than two years, a senior Chinese official said.
China’s central government has shut down a number of online shopping platforms, including Alibaba, Tencent, Taobao, Alibaba Group, China Minsheng and Zomato, and forced some to close or suspend operations.
The government also blocked sites offering virtual goods and services, such as online shopping for luxury goods and pets, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
The official Xinjiang Daily News said the government “redesigned” the platforms to prevent the proliferation of virtual goods.
The platforms include e-commerce and gaming sites, which the government has been shutting down as part of a crackdown on illegal activities.
Other online retailers that were shut down were Tencent and Alibaba, which together control 90% of the market for online shopping, the paper said.
The closures came as China’s economy continues to slow, with retail sales falling 2.6% in the three months to March, the fastest rate in nearly a decade.
A Chinese consumer survey conducted last month found that consumers were increasingly worried about the economic slowdown, with more than three-quarters of respondents blaming the government for the downturn.
“We are still facing a major economic downturn, but our situation is improving,” said an unnamed Chinese consumer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“In the past two years there has been a marked improvement in our lives, but we still have to face difficult economic conditions and difficult times.”
The government has also restricted the use of online gaming services in a bid to control illegal activity.
China has been trying to boost economic growth and boost investment to support its growing middle class, which makes up about half of the population.