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Chinese Watchdog Summons Alibaba, Meituan For “Unfair Competition”

 |  November 10, 2021

Chinese market watchdog summoned 16 e-commerce platform operators – including a branch under Alibaba Group Holding, Meituan’s group-buying business, and Vipshop – to warn them against “unfair competition” activities and other business malpractice, as Beijing’s ongoing antitrust crackdown weighs on Big Tech companies during this year’s Singles’ Day festival.

The Guangdong Administration for Market Regulation accused the companies of various irregularities including selling fake products, false advertising and poor after-sales services, according to a report published on Tuesday by state-run China Central Television.

The agency issued a set of guidelines for the offending platforms, requiring them to establish a compliance management system, handle consumer complaints in a timely manner, protect consumers’ personal information, and refrain from false or illegal advertising. The companies were also asked to avoid banning or restricting merchants from taking part in promotional activities organised by rival platforms.

The rules align with a message last month from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, one of China’s leading internet watchdogs, which has routinely called on businesses to protect consumer rights during Singles’ Day. In this year’s meeting, Alibaba, JD.com, Meituan and several telecommunications companies were asked to tackle the issue of excessive marketing messages received via SMS during the annual shopping spree.

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