Home Europe Chinese fast-fashion app Shein will face tougher EU tech rules

Chinese fast-fashion app Shein will face tougher EU tech rules

by editor

BRUSSELS — Chinese fashion app Shein will face stringent rules on how it handles content on its platform starting in late August, the European Commission said Friday.

The move to oversee the popular but controversial platform, previously reported by POLITICO, comes as Europe has tightened its scrutiny of China-based tech companies. TikTok this week suspended a feature considered by the EU as “addictive” and potentially in breach of the bloc’s content-moderation law, the Digital Services Act (DSA).

The EU executive said Shein was large enough to fall under more DSA rules, like detailed external audits and risk assessments about illegal content such as counterfeit clothes. The fashion and marketplace app said it was visited every month by an average of 108 million Europeans.

The Commission will supervise the so-called very large online platform under threat of various regulatory curbs and potential fines of up to 6 percent of Shein’s global annual revenue.

It joins more than 20 major platforms such as AliExpress, TikTok and Amazon that have already been designated as very large online platforms. Chinese e-commerce platform Temu is also set to face extra rules in the coming months after it said this month it is visited by 75 million Europeans every month.

Shein initially was a retailer selling its own products but last year became a platform when it started an online marketplace selling goods from other manufacturers. Amazon and a European marketplace, Zalando, are currently challenging the EU’s move to regulate retailers under the digital content law.

The company, which moved its headquarters from China to Singapore in 2021, started selling in European countries in the early 2010s.

Shein has been under fire for using forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region, which it denies. It’s also currently the target of French lawmakers’ efforts to rein in fast-fashion companies under a new environmental law.

“We share the Commission’s ambition to ensure consumers in the EU can shop online with peace of mind, and we are committed to playing our part,” said Leonard Lin, Shein’s global head of public affairs. “We also share a commitment to the principles of transparency and accountability that are at the core of the DSA, as reflected in our supply chain governance standards and our engagements with our users.”

This article has been updated to include Shein’s comment.

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