Meituan fined US$530 million for antitrust violations

Chinese food delivery giant Meituan was fined US$ 530 million (3.4 billion) yuan on October 8 for antitrust violations dating back to 2018 which forced restaurants and other merchants to sign exclusive agreements with the platform. The fine was equivalent to three percent of Meituan’s 2020 domestic revenue of 114.7 billion yuan.

The State Administration of Market Regulation ordered Meituan to refund the deposit to the merchants – 1.6 million of them – that worth US$198 million. The SAMR said if a merchant violated the agreement and sign deals with other platforms, Meituan would deduct the deposit.

Meituan, China's eighth-largest company by market value, faced regulatory heat as authorities tighten the grip on the country's sprawling platform economy. The SAMR launched an antitrust probe into the company in April.

SAMR also urged the platform to improve its commission mechanism and ensure the legal rights of its restaurant partners and delivery riders as well as submit self-inspection reports to the regulators in the next three years.

Meituan responded that it accepted the regulatory decision with sincerity and would stop the so-called “pick one from two” strategy and maintain a fair market competition environment.