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China's community group-buying fever meets Beijing's snub

New battleground for internet giants threatens small businesses

HONG KONG -- Alibaba Group Holding, Tencent Holdings and other Chinese internet companies face growing regulatory scrutiny over one of the country's hottest e-commerce battlegrounds -- the attempt to digitize fresh produce sales through so-called community group-buying.

The practice, in which neighbors purchase groceries and fresh produce in bulk at discounted prices through a leader recruited by internet platforms, became popular during the coronavirus pandemic, as people avoided going out.

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