Meituan reports losses, warns of antitrust fines

Reuters
China's State Administration of Market Regulation launched an antitrust probe into the company in April for forcing restaurants and other merchants to use its platform exclusively.
Reuters

Chinese food delivery giant Meituan warned on Monday it could be required to pay "a significant amount" of antitrust fines and posted a third consecutive quarterly loss as it continued to invest in expanding its various businesses.

Meituan, China's eighth-largest company by market value, has faced regulatory heat as authorities tighten the grip on the country's sprawling platform economy.

China's State Administration of Market Regulation launched an antitrust probe into the company in April for forcing restaurants and other merchants to use its platform exclusively.

Meituan said in its earnings report that it was actively cooperating with SAMR on the ongoing investigation and that it could be required to "make changes to its business practices and/or be subject to a significant amount of fines."

The Tencent-backed company reported a 2.21-billion-yuan (US$341.8 million) loss in the April-June period versus a profit of 2.72 billion yuan a year earlier. It has been expanding aggressively into hotel booking and community group-buying, taking on rivals like Alibaba and Pinduoduo.

Meituan, whose services also include hotel booking and bike sharing, said total revenue rose 77 percent in the period from a year earlier to 43.76 billion yuan.

Later on Monday, the market regulator said it was investigating Meituan for not reporting its acquisition of bike-sharing startup Mobike in 2018 for antitrust review.

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