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Chinese delivery giant Meituan handed US$527 million antitrust fine

China’s antitrust regulator has fined food delivery giant Meituan 3.4 billion yuan ($527.4 million) for abusing its dominant market position, the watchdog said on Friday, the latest penalty in Beijing’s clampdown on online platforms.

The fine equates to 3 per cent of the company’s domestic sales in 2020, the regulator said, adding that Meituan should stop its “illegal behaviour” and return 1.29 billion yuan to merchants on its platforms.

Meituan said it accepted the penalty and will implement the rectifications ordered by the regulator.

The State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) launched an antitrust investigation into Meituan in April, focusing on vendors being forced to use its platform exclusively. The company warned in August that it could be required to pay a “significant amount” in antitrust penalties.

The SAMR imposed a record $2.75 billion fine on e-commerce giant Alibaba in April for the same practices. The regulator said then that the fine was equivalent to about 4 per cent of Alibaba’s 2019 domestic sales.

  • Reporting by Yingzhi Yang and Tony MunroeEditing by David Goodman, of Reuters.

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