On April 26, the State Administration for Market Regulation of China (the SAMR) announced it had launched an antitrust probe into Meituan, a national operator of food delivery service, for alleged anticompetitive practices, including forcing merchants not to cooperate with its competitive platforms.
In a statement Meituan undertook to cooperate actively with regulation authorities, to increase the level of corporate compliance management, to guarantee legal interests of users and all other parties, to promote long-term and healthy development of the industry and to ensure earnest fulfilment of Company’s social responsibility.
Previously in April, following the SAMR’s administrative guidance meeting for Chinese digital platforms, Meituan had issued a commitment letter, promising not to impose unreasonable restrictions, including forcing to enter exclusive cooperation (so called ‘either-or choice’), or technical means to abuse market power.
According to DCCI statistics, as early as in the first quarter of 2019 Meituan had already controlled 65.3% of the market. This year, the Company was twice ruled by court to provide compensation to its main rival – Ele.me – for unfair competition: Ele.me had long accused Meituan of demanding such exclusivity.
The new probe comes right after the completed investigation into an e-commerce giant for the same cause: on April 10 the SAMR fined Alibaba Group 18,2 bil CNY (≈2,78 bil USD) for abusing its dominant position on Chinese market of online retail platforms, which is the maximum fine ever imposed by China’s antitrust regulator.
Source: SAMR website