Markets: China’s Meituan Fined $530M For Monopolistic Conduct

Meituan logo

Meituan, a Chinese food delivery giant, has been levied a big fine in its home base of China. The country’s State Administration for Market Regulation has fined Meituan 3.44 billion yuan ($533mn) for monopolistic conduct, amounting to 3% of the company’s 2020 revenue. 

  • Meituan is the second Chinese tech company to be levied a hefty fine as the country has toughened its regulation on its domestic tech companies. The first was Alibaba, the e-commerce giant, which was fined $2.8bn this April.
  • Along with the fine, Meituan was also ordered to return 1.29 billion yuan ($200mn) of deposits stemming from exclusivity agreements with restaurants signed up on its food delivery app. Such agreements barred restaurants working with Meituan from offering takeout food delivery on rival platforms and required deposits to be put in place that Meituan claimed the right to deduct from were the agreement breached.
Meituan is a food delivery giant in a country that constitutes the world’s largest food delivery market. It’s a rapidly-growing company built from the ground up in 2010 to one with nearly $18bn in sales last year. But, we can say that Meituan’s rise has not been without controversy stemming from the strong-arm tactics such as restaurant exclusivity that it’s deployed to drive its growth.

Apparently, the Chinese government isn’t having it with Meituan’s strong-arm tactics and has expressed its displeasure with a major fine. Though, the fine won’t be a damaging one as it’s barely 3% of Meituan’s 2020 revenue.
  • In a responding statement, Meituan said it accepted the Chinese government’s penalty and would comply with the imposed regulatory actions. It may be that the fine was much less than Meituan expected, given rumors circulating by August that the government had planned a $1bn fine for the company. 
Meituan’s stock (HKG: 3690) shot up 2% on Friday. The company’s current market cap is equivalent to $202bn.

                                           

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.