Why You Should Avoid Chinese Shopping Apps Temu & Shein
For years, Chinese manufacturers have attempted to reach U.S. customers through Amazon, but selling items on the platform can be costly and Amazon has been attacking Chinese sellers for posting fake reviews. This has led to more Chinese-based companies leaving Amazon and attempting to sell to the American market on their own. Enter Temu and Shein, these apps allow you to buy items directly from companies based in China at a low, low price, but buyer beware. Not only do you have to worry about cheaply made goods, these Chinese shopping apps are also collecting all of the data from your smartphone Here's what you need to know.
What you should know about Temu & Shein. Shein (pronounced "she-in") was founded in 2008 and has grown to be the go-to online place to find cheap clothing and accessories. Its revenue reached $22.7 billion in 2022.
Temu (pronounced “tee-moo”) is based in Boston, Massachusetts, by PDD Holdings Inc which is headquartered in Shanghai, China. PDD also owns the e-commerce platform Pinduoduo also headquartered in China. They offer a wide range of items including electronics and clothing, Temu has seen exponential growth since it launched in September 2022 from 5.1 million to 70.1 million U.S. unique visitors in February 2023.
Shein has been the trendsetter for how a Chinese-based e-commerce company can take off in the U.S. and gain traction, and most of that is based on price. US consumers are always looking for a great deal from apps that allow you to shop and buy on the go.
What you need to know before using Chinese-based shopping apps. You’re buying goods directly from manufacturers in China. This is why shipping times are often much longer than on sites like Amazon which can usually deliver in a day or two. You might get your stuff in a week, but it could be more like 12 days. The prices of the items you purchase are low because the goods are cheap. Also, the pictures of what you see advertised may not be what you actually get. But that’s not the worst of it. As you shop, apps like Temu, Shein, and Pinduoduo collect lots of information from your phone. These apps collect things like:
The info you provide, like your name, address, and phone number.
Other details you enter, like your birthday, photo, and social media profiles.
Your phone or computer’s operating system and version, IP address, GPS location ), and information about the websites you've visited.
They also gather more about you from third-party sources, such as your public records, social media, and credit bureaus.
In other words, they read literally everything on your phone. Cybersecurity researchers found it wasn’t just tracking device info and activity — malicious code allowed it to bypass cellphone security settings to spy on other apps, read notifications and messages, and even change settings. If you're using one of these apps for bargains, it's not worth it. You should delete these apps immediately. Here’s how:
On iPhone, hold your finger on the app, then tap Remove App > Delete App. Tap Delete to confirm.
On Android, touch and hold an app, then tap Remove App > Delete App > Delete.
If you downloaded Pinduoduo, you need to do a full factory reset on your smartphone or tablet to wipe out any remaining code or tracking information.
Hopefully, this post has given you the information you need to stay safe from the dangers of Chinese shopping apps. If you need further assistance, please reach out to me with any questions you might have. I am always happy to help!
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