China has passed a law legalizing electronic signatures to boost the growing online commerce industry.
The law gives electronic signatures the legal status of handwritten versions and allows the creation of companies to verify the identity of people making online transactions.
China has the world's second-largest number of Internet users, with 87 million people online.
But e-commerce has grown slowly, held back by a low rate of credit card use among Chinese and a lack of other online payment options and legal structures.
China already has some 4,000 Web sites that carry on e-commerce.
(CRI August 30, 2004)