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China tech

China targets apps 'bullying' loyal customers with higher price

Big data algorithms single out fans unlikely to flee to competitors

Travelers at Beijing Daxing International Airport. A travel-booking site was told to pay damages to a plaintiff who claimed to have charged a higher price for being a repeat customer.    © Reuters

GUANGZHOU -- China's tech regulators have stepped up their crackdown on so-called customer bullying, a practice among internet companies to charge higher prices to loyal customers unlikely to switch to competitors based on data algorithms.

In a landmark case that pushed the topic to the forefront of the national debate, a district court in Zhejiang Province in July ordered travel booking site Trip.com to pay roughly 4,800 yuan ($745) to a customer for false advertising.

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