Chinese delivery giant Meituan handed $527 mln antitrust fine

The logo of food delivery giant Meituan is seen at the 2021 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, China September 3, 2021. REUTERS/Florence Lo

BEIJING, Oct 8 (Reuters) - China's antitrust regulator has fined food delivery giant Meituan (3690.HK) 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 behaviour" 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. read more

The SAMR imposed a record $2.75 billion fine on e-commerce giant 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.

($1 = 6.4472 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Yingzhi Yang and Tony Munroe Editing by David Goodman

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