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China tech

Chinese delivery group Meituan handed $527m antitrust fine

Fine for abuse of dominant position equates to 3% of company's 2020 domestic sales

Fine for Chinese food delivery group Meituan follows one imposed on Alibaba earlier this year in Beijing's clampdown on online platforms.   © Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) -- China's antitrust regulator has fined food delivery group 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% of the company's domestic sales in 2020, the regulator said, adding that Meituan should stop its "illegal behavior" 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.

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

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