Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Although the Internet and E-commerce revolutions have clearly taken hold in the United States and Europe, the Chinese culture has been slow to adopt the Internet as a marketplace. The Authors cite a lack of trust on the part of both potential consumers and potential merchants as the primary obstacle to a robust Chinese E-commerce community. To remedy this lack of trust, the Article proposes the nation seek a middle way between reforms guided by Western rule of law and Eastern rule of ethics, thus incorporating effective regulatory strategies and the philosophical resources already within the Chinese cultural consciousness. The Authors propose a framework based on three distinct varieties of trust, and apply that framework across the specific policy problems that impede vibrant E-commerce in China--namely, the development of a workable regulatory regime, and the particular problems of privacy and defamation that seem to be related to the growth of E-commerce. Ultimately, the Authors suggest that to successfully navigate this dramatic shift to an Internet-enabled economy, China should embrace its past but recognize that the new E-commerce context also may demand new solutions.