China to probe online discounter Pinduoduo over reports of counterfeit goods

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s markets regulator said on Wednesday it has asked Shanghai regulators to investigate online discounter Pinduoduo Inc following media reports of counterfeit goods and intellectual property infringements.

FILE PHOTO: A display at the Nasdaq Market Site shows a message after Chinese online group discounter Pinduoduo Inc. (PDD) was listed on the Nasdaq exchange in Times Square in New York City, New York, U.S., July 26, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar

The move comes after the Chinese e-commerce start-up raised $1.63 billion last week in the second-biggest U.S. listing by a Chinese firm this year, which valued the company at $23.8 billion.

Regulators will interview the Shanghai-based platform’s operators and will deal seriously with any illegal practices found on the platform, the State Administration for Market Regulation said on its website.

Pinduoduo, which on Tuesday told the Beijing News that it was being attacked and said it was unfair to blame the firm for counterfeits, did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment on the regulatory probe.

The three-year-old company says it has 300 million active buyers and reaches a consumer group that tends to be less internet savvy and lives outside of the country’s megacities.

However, since its flotation, it has become the subject of online jokes and media reports in China that accuse the company of selling shoddy products which are counterfeit copies of items made by brands such as Samsung, Apple and Coca Cola.

Skyworth Digital Holdings Co, a Chinese television manufacturer, issued a statement last week asking Pinduoduo to stop selling counterfeit Skyworth products on its site.

Zheng Yuanjie, a popular writer, also said on his verified Weibo account that pirated versions of his books were being sold on Pinduoduo, which he had reported to regulators.

Reporting by Pei Li and Brenda Goh; editing by Richard Pullin

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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