China launches first Internet court

Baku, August 23, AZERTAC

China's first court specializing in handling Internet-related cases opened in the e-commerce hub of Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province, to cater to the increasing number of online disputes, according to Xinhua news agency.

The Hangzhou Internet Court heard its first case regarding a copyright infringement between an online writer and internet giant Netease on its opening day.

Sitting in front of their computers in Hangzhou and Beijing, the agents representing the plaintiff and the defendant communicated with the judge online. The trial lasted about 20 minutes.

"The Internet court breaks geographic boundaries and greatly saves time in traditional hearings," said Wang Jiangqiao, vice president of the court.

The court mainly handles civil cases such as contract disputes involving online shopping, service and small loans, copyright and infringement lawsuits, domain name dispute, Internet defaming and some administrative lawsuits.

It will also handle certain cases assigned by superior courts.

By registering on court's website, plaintiffs can file lawsuits and pay legal costs. The cases handled by the court will be tried online. The process is quicker, and plaintiffs and defendants can have their disputes handled while at home and at much lower cost.

"The hearing of an Internet-related case often lasts at least two days and each side has to spend thousands of yuan to travel to the court," said Zhang Sijia, a lawyer.

"We are involved in cases all over the country and the costs are too high to attend every lawsuit. Sometimes even if we win the case, we lose a huge amount of money in the process. It will significantly lower our costs if we can have them done online," said Yang Wei, vice president of Netease.

The opening of the court is along with the fast growing internet users and the consequent online disputes in China.

According to the latest report from the China Internet Network Information Center, China had about 751 million Internet users and 724 million mobile Internet users as of the end of June.

As China pushes its Internet Plus and innovation strategies, the Internet is playing an increasingly important role in the country's economic transformation. China is home to a number of Internet giants such as Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent.

The income of China's top 100 Internet companies rose 46.8 percent year-on-year to 1.1 trillion yuan (about 164 billion U.S. dollars) in 2016, latest official data showed.

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