Why is the EU investigating AliExpress?

Alibaba’s overseas e-commerce venture AliExpress is the latest global tech platform to be formally investigated by the European Union following the opening of similar investigations of X (formerly Twitter) and fellow Chinese-owned platform TikTok last month.

These three probes are a result of the Digital Services Act (DSA), a new law that sets stricter standards for content moderation and targeted advertising. Platforms with 45 million monthly active users (10% of the EU population) or above are designated as Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) and these must comply with the new law within 4 months. This category includes AliExpress and 17 other platforms. TikTok is the only other Chinese-owned one on the list and AliExpress is the first online marketplace to face investigation under the Act.

In the case of AliExpress, the potential sale of fake medicines, unsafe foodstuffs, and ineffective dietary supplements are the key concerns of the EU Commission’s probe. “We have not found yet at this stage that AliExpress is not compliant. We are simply suspecting we have elements that they are not compliant with. This is not a finding of a breach,” an EU Commission official told reporters.

If found to be non-compliant with the DSA, AliExpress could face a fine as large as 6% of its annual turnover. The platform has said it will continue working with authorities to comply with the new standards. “AliExpress is committed to creating a safe and compliant marketplace for all consumers,” the company said in an official statement.

AliExpress is currently Europe’s biggest e-commerce site and boasts 150 million active buyers worldwide.


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