China’s State Market Regulatory Administration has fined Internet company Meituan 3.44 billion yuan ($ 533.6 million) for forcing sellers to sell goods exclusively on the company’s platform.
Officials found out that food delivery giant Meituan had abused its market dominance by forcing sellers to sign agreements that would preclude them from selling goods elsewhere. The company also applied various penalties to those who failed to comply with the internet giant’s monopoly requirements.
In addition, the agency ordered Meituan to return the 1.29 billion yuan that the company had charged as exceptional deposits to sellers. The Internet giant will also have to bring its activities in line with the legislation and submit a report to the administration over the next three years.
The administration’s investigation into Meituan’s antitrust violations has been ongoing since April.
The so-called “choose one of two” business practices employed by Chinese Internet companies have become the target of Chinese regulators, which are tightening their belts in the tech sector. In April, authorities fined another internet giant, Alibaba Group Holding, a record 18.2 billion yuan for the same reason.
Meituan, with a market capitalization of about $ 170 billion, is China’s third-largest publicly traded internet company after Tencent and Alibaba Group.