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China launches antitrust probe into food delivery giant Meituan

A Meituan delivery rider at a junction in Guangxi Zhuang, China. Reuters/Thomas Suen.

China’s market regulator said it has launched an antitrust investigation into food delivery giant Meituan, the latest target in a widespread crackdown on the country’s sprawling internet platform economy.

The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) said in a statement that its probe is focused on the practice whereby a company forces vendors to use their platform exclusively, known as “choose one from two”.

Meituan, which this month raised US$10 billion in a stock and convertible bonds sale, said in a statement that it would cooperate with the investigation and that its business was operating normally.

Earlier this month, the SAMR imposed a record $2.75 billion fine on e-commerce giant Alibaba over the same practice, and summoned 34 internet companies including Meituan for a meeting warning them to learn from Alibaba’s penalty and stop using any banned practices.

  • Reporting by Tony Munroe and Yingzhi Yang, editing by Louise Heavens, of Reuters.

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