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Fake reviews crackdown: Amazon suspends 3 more Chinese brands

Beijing: Amidst e-commerce giant Amazon’s ongoing crackdown on efforts by sellers to request positive consumer reviews, three more Chinese consumer brands have been banned from selling on the platform, dealing a recent blow to the ‘made in China, sold on Amazon’ community.

Quoting the Guangdong SACA Precision Manufacturing, the media reported that Amazon has banned the sale of RAVPower power banks, Taotronics earphones, and VAVA cameras, three brands under Shenzhen-based electronics company Sunvalley, effective from June 16. The merchants were suspended after it was discovered that they were giving gift cards to customers who wrote positive reviews about their purchases. This is a general practice in the Chinese e-commerce world but is considered to be an abuse of the review system by Amazon.

‘According to our investigation, the reason (for the ban) may be that some products offered gift cards to customers, which is allegedly in violation of the rules of the Amazon platform,’ SACA said in the statement.

These three brands sell a wide variety of consumer electronics products, including baby monitoring cameras, which have accounted for around one-third of Sunvalley’s total sales on Amazon since its start in 2020. The online platform had taken related action against other Chinese merchants for disrupting its rules on fake customer reviews, including an online store backed by TikTok owner ByteDance. Since last month, product listings from some of the biggest Chinese electronic gadget sellers have disappeared from Amazon’s online marketplace, the media reported earlier.

Amazon has a ‘zero-tolerance policy’ towards violations, including asking a friend to give a review and its latest action has earned wide public attention in China because of the vendors involved. ‘Amazon shuts down thousands of stores every single day for manipulation of the review system. The reason it’s so notable this time is that the stores that they shut down are so big,’ said Zack Franklin, a Shenzhen-based Amazon consultant for merchants.

According to a prospectus filed in 2019, one of those concerned is Amazon’s electronics vendor Aukey, which generated more than three-quarters of its revenue from Amazon in the first quarter of 2018 and 2019.

It was reported in a financial statement that now, the main Amazon electronics store run by ByteDance and Xiaomi-backed consumer product firm Patozon were also hit by the crackdown. It had reported 2 billion yuan from exports in the first half of 2020.

‘The main reason Amazon specifically targeted the biggest Chinese accounts is to send a very strong signal to sellers. If you are breaking the rules, we will shut you down,’ Franklin said.

Recently, Chinese companies have been turning to international e-commerce platforms, like eBay and Amazon, to reach consumers beyond their home market. Despite Amazon’s crackdown on fake reviews, some small vendors continue the practice to stay competitive.


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