Minister warns of E-commerce threat to local firms

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Minister warns of E-commerce threat to local firms

Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel has voiced concerns over
the rapid growth of fast-fashion e-commerce retailers undercutting local businesses
through aggressive discounting.

Addressing the Proudly South African Buy Local Summit and Expo in Johannesburg,
Patel highlighted the challenges posed by the rise of ultra-low-cost online players like
Chinese giant Shein and newcomer Temu.

“There are challenges in the clothing industries that we need to address, particularly the
rise of the small parcel companies that are bringing goods in and advertise widely in our
media, offering goods that are sold at lower prices but undercutting our domestic
industrial base,” Patel stated.

Shein’s ability to offer rock-bottom pricing has powered its ascent to become a $24
billion global e-commerce juggernaut in just a few years, with an estimated 250,000
existing South African customers according to a Marketing All Product Survey.

As local clothing manufacturers grapple with intensifying competition on price from the
flash-entrant e-tailers, Patel’s comments underscore government wariness around
preserving the domestic textile sector amid rapidly shifting consumer shopping habits.