Net bargainers in high demand in China

Monday, September 13, 2010

BEIJING - Online shopping in China has become easier as people can now avail of services of middlemen who dicker for lower prices with e-retailers on behalf of the buyers.

The middlemen, who charge a small amount of the discount they get the buyers, are called “net bargainers”, and the service is booming amid China’s fast-growing online-shopping industry, Xinhua reported.

A search for net bargainers on, China’s largest online shopping website, gives 2,186 results.

“I thought 120 yuan ($17.7) would be a fair price for a pair of shoes priced 150 yuan at an online store. But a net bargainer took half an hour to get me the shoes for 100 yuan,” said Wang Huan, a 25-year-old worker in Hefei City in east China’s Anhui province.

After the deal, she paid the bargaining fee — 20 percent of the 50-yuan price gap — which she thought was “absolutely worth it”.

Wu Chen, a university student in east China’s Nanjing city, said she was a “net bargainer” during her summer vacation, earning her 3,000 yuan ($443) per month.

Wu said most of her peers born after 1985 began having online shopping experiences while still in school.

Wang Yu, a white-collar in Beijing, said it takes time and energy to compare prices on internet. That is why people are willing to pay for the bargaining service.

Zhang Zhongjie, an owner of a net bargaining business, said he was self-employed with the business after he graduated from college in 2008.

“There are many ways to collect price information and bargain with online shops. Net bargainers are a third-party. We help shoppers get the fairest price, and we also bring customers to good shops,” said the bargainer, who has business contacts with more than 400 online shops that sell goods from garments, shoes and skin care products to fashion accessories.

However, concerns are raised about the legality of net bargainers.

Wang Jun, a lawyer from Anhui province asked what happens when the buyer ends up with a fake product and what responsibilities bargainers have to buyers? And what if bargainers fail to cut the price?

Wang said the government should start drafting regulations for the new occupation, in order to protect the rights of online customers.

Filed under: Economy

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