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China tech

China's online grocers fight for survival in overcrowded market

Alibaba unit rises above price wars and labor shortage while Missfresh falls

A Missfresh hub in Shanghai in June 2021. The option for same-day delivery was one of the platform's distinguishing features.   © Reuters

GUANGZHOU -- After expanding fivefold in as many years, China's market for online grocery deliveries is at a crossroads as it faces a debilitating price war and worker shortage.

The fall of Missfresh, a pioneer in online grocery delivery, shows just how competitive the market has become. This month, the Beijing Consumer Association ordered Missfresh to appropriately handle complaints and announce a plan to refund its customers. The startup, once valued at $3 billion, had recently come under fire for failing to return fees charged through its app.

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