Meituan fined 3.4bn yuan for monopolistic practices

China has fined food delivery giant Meituan 3.4 billion yuan (US$527 million) for monopolistic practices and ordered it to undertake a “comprehensive rectification”, the market watchdog said Friday.

Authorities have launched a crackdown on a range of homegrown tech behemoths – including Meituan, ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing and e-commerce titan Alibaba – for alleged monopolistic behaviours and aggressive harvesting of consumer data.

Meituan has been under fire since market regulators launched an investigation into the group in April, with particular scrutiny paid to the working conditions of its millions of delivery drivers, who are often employed as third-party contractors without legal protections or worker benefits.

On Friday the State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) said in an online statement that an investigation had concluded the group had “abused its dominant market position in China’s online food delivery platform market.”

It added that Meituan’s behaviour “eliminates and restricts market competition… weakens platform innovation power” and “damages consumers’ interests”.

The 3.4 billion RMB fine is equal to three percent of Meituan’s 2020 domestic sales, the watchdog said. (AFP)