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China tech

Meituan shares fall as China ups protections for food delivery workers

Reforms call for income guarantees, insurance and looser deadlines

Meituan food delivery workers disinfect their scooters and delivery boxes before they start work in Beijing.   © Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) -- Food delivery platforms in China will be required to guarantee riders' income above minimum pay, insurance and a relaxation in deadlines for deliveries, under reforms announced on Monday by China's market regulator.

The guidelines were issued by the State Administration for Market Regulation along with six other administrative departments, including the National Development and Reform Commission, the Cyberspace Administration of China and the Ministry of Public Security.

Food delivery platforms in China, including Meituan and Alibaba's Ele.me, have drawn severe criticism on social media for their treatment of delivery riders, most of whom are not covered by basic social and medical insurance.

Both, Meituan and Alibaba's Ele.me did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment.

Meituan has been working with the government to purchase employment injury insurance for its delivery drivers, the company's chief executive, Wang Xing, said on a conference call in May.

Investors are worrying about the rising cost of employing riders by the platforms, Reuters had previously reported.

Meituan's Hong Kong-listed shares slumped nearly 14%, against a 4.13% drop in the Hang Seng Index. 

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