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China fines delivery giant Meituan CNY3.4 billion for monopolistic behaviours

October 8, 2021 8:50 pm

China’s antitrust regulator has fined food delivery giant Meituan CNY3.4 billion for abusing its market position through its pick one from two practice.

Detail:

The fine equates to 3% of the Meituan’s total revenue of CNY114.7 billion in 2020, China’s top antitrust body, the State Administration for Market Regulation said, adding that Meituan should stop its “illegal behaviour” and refund exclusive cooperation deposits paid by merchants totalling 1.29 billion yuan.

The State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) started an antitrust investigation into Meituan in April, investigating whether vendors were being forced to use Meituan exclusively.

Since the SAMR launched its investigation into Meituan in April, the company have lost roughly HKD230 billion in market value amid investors stock selloff.

Pick one from two practice, in which merchants are forced to pick only one platform as their exclusive distribution channel, has been a widely adopted by major Chinese tech giants for years.

Meituan, along with other Chinese internet giants like Alibaba and Tencent, have been hit hard by China’s efforts to regulate unfair and monopoly practices in the country’s internet sectors.

In April, Alibaba was fined a record USD2.8 billion for engaging unfair and monopoly practices.

Context:

Meituan, China’s largest food delivery platform that is planning to add 60,000 new job in 2021, was urged to improve its rider’s working condition.

In July, SAMR has also issued a guideline to rectify food delivery platform particularly Meituan, asking the platform to guarantee driver’s benefit by improving riders’ salary package and ensuing their basic social and medical insurance.

Since the regulator started its probe into Meituan, the company’s billionaire founder Wang Xing has said he would donated Meituan shares worth more than USD2.3 billion to his his own philanthropic foundation, with most of the funds allocating to education and scientific research.