A PYMNTS Company

Shanghai Watchdog Calls In eCommerce Firms To Talk Price Gouging

 |  April 18, 2022

Shanghai’s market regulator has summoned a dozen eCommerce firms, including food delivery platforms Meituan and eleme.me, to discuss a range of topics including allegations of price gouging during the COVID pandemic.

As Reuters reported Monday (April 18), the regulator told platforms to improve the way they manage delivery riders and curtail practices like improper price increases by riders.

Price gouging has been an issue in the U.S., as well. In February, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said his office received 800 reports of price gouging in his home state of Connecticut and insisted the lack of regulation by the federal government has contributed to the problem.

“There is a glaring lack of enforcement at the federal level,” Blumenthal said at a hearing in early February. “The federal government, including the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice, have few legal tools to hold price gougers accountable.”

China’s eCommerce sector has been under pressure from authorities for some time, with The State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) launching an antitrust investigation into Meituan in April 2021, focusing on vendors being forced to use its platform exclusively. The SAMR imposed a record $2.75 billion fine on e-commerce giant Alibaba in April for the same practices.

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.