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China takes probes Meituan over antitrust concerns

HONG KONG (AP) – A Chinese market regulator said on Monday it had launched an investigation into suspected monopoly behavior by food supplier Meituan.

The investigation is being conducted against the background of an investigation by Internet companies suspected of anti-competitive practices.

The State Market Regulatory Authority said in a statement that it was reviewing Meituan policies, including exclusivity arrangements known as “choose between the two”.

Such an experience is common in China, where e-commerce providers sometimes force retailers to sell their products and services exclusively on their Internet platform.

Meituan, which competes with Alibaba’s China-based food delivery platform Ele.me, said in a statement posted on the Weibo microblogging platform that it would work closely with the authorities to improve compliance and protect consumer rights.

The company’s various businesses “worked normally,” it said.

The Meituan investigation follows an investigation by Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce company, into anti-competitive practices last year. Regulators fined Alibaba a record $ 2.8 billion earlier this month.

Alibaba’s financial subsidiary Ant Group has been instructed to reorganize as a financial holding company և Improve stricter rules as part of a major overhaul after its record initial bid sank last year just days before its stock market debut.

Officials recently instructed 34 Internet companies, including gaming giant Tencent Holdings and e-commerce company Pinduoduo, to rectify any anti-competitive practices within a month.

In February, the government issued antitrust guidelines aimed at ending practices such as exclusivity agreements, large-scale use of subsidies to gain market share, and pressure on competitors.

Last week, Meituan raised nearly $ 10 billion in the sale of convertible bonds, additional shares, and plans to invest in the development of delivery technology.

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