1 min read.Updated: 14 Jul 2021, 11:24 AM ISTLivemint
Chinese shopping sites shipping to India were under the scanner for exploiting a loophole that allowed Indian citizens to receive duty-free gifts and samples
NEW DELHI: Chinese fashion brand Shein is making a comeback in India through marketplace Amazon—a year and a half after the fashion site, popular for its latest styles and accessible price points, was temporarily barred from selling goods in India along with Clubhouse and Ali Express for evading tax rules. The site was also later banned by the Home Ministry as part of India’s crackdown on Chinese apps in 2020.
In 2019, the site had to temporarily stop shipping orders and initiate customer refunds after a crackdown by Mumbai Customs' department over allegations that Chinese shopping sites were paying lower duties than actually due. Over 500 parcels belonging to Shein and Club House were then seized. The seizure order showed that a Shein warehouse was sealed in Mumbai after officials found it undervaluing and wrongly declaring goods, according to a 2 July report by Business Standard.
Chinese shopping sites shipping to India were under the scanner for exploiting a loophole that allowed Indian citizens to receive duty-free gifts and samples, those valued under ₹5,000, from overseas. Several companies were known to be exploiting this provision to evade paying taxes on the parcels. Companies were also labelling the parcels as business-to-business (B-2-B) couriers as opposed to B-2-C.
In December 2019, India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade said that packages marked as gift items received from overseas will be subject to import duties. DGFT’s order caused a temporary setback to shopping sites.
Then, in June 2020, as part of a larger crackdown by the Indian government—several Chinese apps widely popular in India were banned in the aftermath of escalating tensions on the Indo-China border. These included TikTok, Weibo, WeChat, AliExpress, Shein, CamScanner among others. The apps were directed to be removed from Google Playstore and Apple App Store.
Now, Amazon Fashion has listed Shein as part of its Prime Day 2021 sale that is set to go live between July 26 and 27. To be sure, Shein will be listing on Amazon as a seller. Meanwhile, Shein’s own site for Indian shoppers is still unreachable.
Shein had become popular among Gen-Z and millennial shoppers who shipped orders from the site mainly because of low prices and trendy fashion.