Korean antitrust agency probes AliExpress, Temu for privacy breaches

2024.05.08 09:34:01 | 2024.05.08 09:39:32

[Courtesy of Korea Fair Trade Commission]이미지 확대

[Courtesy of Korea Fair Trade Commission]

South Korea‘s regulatory authority has initiated an investigation into the terms and conditions of Chinese e-commerce platforms AliExpress, operated by Alibaba Group, and Temu, operated by PDD Holdings, over suspicions of infringing on the privacy of South Korean consumers.

According to industry sources on Tuesday, the Korea Fair Trade Commission has recently commenced investigations into the unfair terms and conditions of AliExpress and Temu.

This action follows concerns that personal information of Korean users of these Chinese online shopping platforms could have been disclosed to overseas entities, given the significant increase in domestic platform users.

The agency aims to scrutinize whether there are unfair clauses in the terms and conditions of these Chinese platforms, particularly those that excessively collect and exploit personal information. The number of domestic users for AliExpress and Temu currently stands at about 8.58 million and 8.23 million, respectively, ranking second and third in the industry following Coupang.

Earlier, the Citizens United for Consumer Sovereignty reported alleged violations of privacy laws by AliExpress and Temu.

The complaints alleged that both companies coerced domestic users into providing personal information and collected irrelevant personal information unrelated to product purchases.

AliExpress, for instance, includes a clause in its terms and conditions permitting the sharing of personal information with third parties without consent, if deemed necessary for urgent interests in life, body, or property.

Temu’s terms and conditions contain a clause allowing the sharing of personal information with its subsidiaries and affiliates.

The Chinese e-commerce platforms have previously come under scrutiny following allegations of violating e-commerce, labeling, and advertising laws.

By Ryu Young-wook and Chang Iou-chung

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