The EU imposes strengthened rules on the Chinese fast-fashion champion Shein #854


Brussels (Belgium) – Brussels added the champion of budget fast fashion Shein to the list of very large online platforms subject to reinforced controls under the new Digital Services Act (DSA) on Friday.

The application, founded in China in 2012, emblematic of the social and environmental pitfalls of budget fashion, becomes the 23rd platform, alongside X, TikTok, Google, or Facebook, to be subjected to the EU’s strictest rules to “protect consumers against illegal content,” announced the European Commission in a statement.

Shein, a specialist in fast-fashion headquartered in Singapore, exclusively sells its clothes online, targeting a young clientele heavily present on social networks. It claims 108 million monthly users of its website in the European Union, significantly more than the threshold of 45 million from which actors can be subjected to reinforced regulation.

These companies must, among other things, analyze the risks associated with their services regarding the dissemination of illegal content or products and implement measures to mitigate them. This analysis must be the subject of an annual report submitted to the European Commission, which now assumes the role of digital watchdog in the EU.

“Measures must be taken to protect consumers against the purchase of dangerous or illegal products, with particular emphasis on preventing the sale and distribution of products that could be harmful to minors,” explained the Commission.

The very large platforms must also provide the regulator with access to their algorithms so that compliance with the regulation can be monitored. They must submit to an external independent audit once a year, at their own expense.

These obligations will apply to Shein starting from the end of August. Violators of the rules may be fined up to 6% of their global annual turnover, or even face a ban on operating in Europe in case of serious and repeated violations.

Reacting to its designation as a very large platform on Friday, Shein stated its intention to comply with European rules. “We share the Commission’s ambition to ensure that EU consumers can shop online with peace of mind, and we are committed to playing our part,” said Leonard Lin, global head of public affairs for the group.

Other large platforms subject to strengthened European controls include the online retail giant Amazon and its competitor AliExpress, a subsidiary of the Chinese giant Alibaba.

Another Chinese e-commerce application, Temu, is expected to be added to this list soon after announcing in April that it had around 75 million monthly users in the European Union.

The DSA demonstrated its effectiveness this week by requiring TikTok to suspend in the EU the functionality of its new application TikTok Lite, which rewards users for time spent in front of screens.

The Commission feared addiction risks, especially for teenagers, and opened an investigation. It suspects the social network, owned by the Chinese group ByteDance, of not having conducted the mandatory risk analysis, particularly for the mental health of users.

Also under the DSA, Brussels opened an investigation in December targeting the social network X for alleged failures to meet content moderation obligations. (AFP)

Read more: Fashion United – AFP.