What to contemplate when utilizing Chinese language procuring app Temu

An internet Chinese language market is booming in reputation, with specialists reminding prospects that, as with all app, they should be aware of the info they hand over.

The app, known as Temu, launched in Australia this yr, following its success within the US, the place it had 18 million downloads. Australians may need seen a number of advertisements popping up for Temu on their telephones and computer systems of late.

Temu strongly resembles on-line retailers like AliExpress and Want; it additionally gives items starting from clothes to gaming programs at extraordinarily low-cost costs.

Nintendo Swap controllers, which often retail for about $119, are marketed for about $48. A pack of 14K gold-plated zirconia rings are on sale for simply $2.57.

Whereas these kinds of offers could be tempting amidst the rising price of residing, the US authorities has said that purchasing bargains on Temu may come at the price of your private knowledge.


Temu shares its father or mother firm, PDD Holdings, with e-commerce platform Pinduoduo.

In March, Google eliminated the Pinduoduo app from its Play Retailer after malware was found in some variations of the app downloaded from different app shops.

In April, a number of cybersecurity researchers from the world over confirmed malware could possibly be discovered on Pinduoduo’s cell app, enabling it to bypass person safety permissions and entry personal messages, change settings, view knowledge from different apps, and forestall uninstallation.

Pinduoduo issued a brand new replace of its app in March that eliminated the malware. It additionally disbanded the group of staff who developed it.

Many of the group had been reportedly transferred to Temu, heightening considerations over safety of {the marketplace}’s app.

Pinduoduo’s malware scandal has tarnished the popularity of Temu. Photograph: Getty

Paul Haskell-Dowland, affiliate dean for computing and safety at Edith Cowan College, mentioned the US is probably going involved that when sufficient knowledge is gathered on a client, their roles in navy or intelligence organisations could possibly be revealed.

Ausma Bernot, postdoctoral analysis fellow in criminology at Charles Sturt College, mentioned any form of financial competitors from China can also be thought of a nationwide safety risk to the US.

This is the reason the US sends out such “heightened messaging” round new financial rivals.

How dangerous is Temu?

Dr Haskell-Dowland mentioned the chance of malware accompanying Temu app downloads just isn’t larger than some other app downloaded via official app shops that belong to the likes of Apple and Google.

“The indications that I’ve seen thus far is that [malware-ridden Temu app downloads] had been predominantly from non-official app shops,” he mentioned.

“That is, in some ways, no completely different from issues that you just would possibly discover in some other run-of-the-mill software – that would embody issues like Fb and LinkedIn.

“When you’re downloading a replica of the app from a non-official net retailer, then there’s a excessive likelihood that you just’re doubtlessly going to obtain malware as a part of that … you’re downloading issues from a retailer that doesn’t have the identical security and controls as maybe you would possibly anticipate with Apple or with Google.”

That doesn’t imply there’s no threat in any respect of malware being downloaded with the app, however Dr Haskell-Dowland mentioned the larger threat comes from permitting the app to entry private or delicate data in your system.

TikTok is probably going a a lot larger safety threat than Temu, Dr Bernot mentioned. Photograph: Getty

“Numerous these apps depend on the sharing of information and the era of enormous volumes of information,” he mentioned.

“The truth that these are Chinese language-based corporations means that there’s a potential to collect very massive, important quantities of details about a person … perhaps private data on them, in all probability monetary data in case you’re conducting transactions.

“And all of that’s successfully knowledge accessible to the Chinese language firm, and the place acceptable, their father or mother corporations … and underneath Chinese language laws, there’s the likelihood that could possibly be made out there to the Chinese language Communist Social gathering via varied authorities entities.”

Dr Bernot mentioned whereas there’s all the time a “very distant” threat {that a} China-related app will hand over details about you to Chinese language authorities, intelligence companies have higher methods to get that data.

“Temu wouldn’t be the primary go-to platform to get that data off individuals attempting to purchase water bowls for his or her canines,” she mentioned.

“TikTok would undoubtedly be a … larger concern, as a result of there’s much more private delicate data on the app, fairly than on Temu.”

TikTok was banned on Australian authorities gadgets in April over safety and privateness dangers.

Is a Temu buy value it?

As so typically is the case, you’ll get what you paid for, Dr Haskell-Dowland mentioned.

“When you’re paying $3 for a T-shirt, you’re in all probability not getting the best high quality product, and we all know that and anticipate it,” he mentioned.

However with the price of residing critically affecting the budgets of many Australians – which worsened on Tuesday after the Reserve Financial institution of Australia issued one more money charge hike – buyers are looking out for cheaper merchandise.

Dr Bernot mentioned: “I feel [Temu is] simply one other one other model of AliExpress by a distinct firm that’s attempting to actually use that recession time when individuals are searching for bargains.”

The gross sales are jaw-dropping, however they in all probability gained’t final without end. Photograph: TND/Temu

She mentioned platforms like Temu and AliExpress are attempting to duplicate the success of mainland-focused Chinese language corporations like Taobao, which connects factories to customers and is understood for low costs and speedy deliveries.

However a give attention to low costs and velocity often comes on the expense of staff; Amazon is understood for not permitting its staff sufficient breaks at packing centres, and Pinduoduo got here underneath hearth for forcing its staff into excessive additional time and insufficient services, allegedly resulting in deaths inside a two-week interval between December 2020 and January 2021.

Dr Bernot mentioned costs had been unlikely to remain as extraordinarily low as they at the moment are as soon as Temu secures its buyer base, with the corporate more likely to be operating at a loss within the meantime.

“I bear in mind residing in China, and there was one espresso firm that was competing with Starbucks, and for 3 months … in case you had been to purchase a espresso, they’d provide you with one other espresso at no cost, and so they’d provide you with a scone, and would ship that to you for a very low-cost worth,” she mentioned.

“And in these in these few months, they didn’t earn cash … I feel that is the entry technique of Temu as properly.”