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China’s Meituan Shares Fall 15% Over New Fee Guidelines

Shares in food delivery giant plunged after the state planner called for a cut in fees for restaurants to reduce their costs, while tech stocks were also hit by a warning on metaverse fundraising

Kuaishou Partners With Meituan
People walk past a Meituan logo at the 2021 World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai. Photo: Reuters.


Online food delivery group Meituan led a rout of Chinese technology company shares on Friday, as authorities announced a series of regulatory moves to boost growth while keeping financial risks under control.

Shares in Meituan, the food delivery giant, fell as much as 18% after the state planner issued new guidelines suggesting a cut in fees for restaurants to reduce their business costs as lingering effects of the pandemic curb the country’s service sector.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) urged “internet platform companies” to further lower the service fees that it charged restaurants in a guidance note issued on Friday.

The aim, the NDRC said, was to reduce the operating costs of restaurants and catering companies.

The planner said internet platforms should particularly offer preferences to areas hit by recent outbreaks.

They should “give preferential service fees to food companies in county-level administrative regions that are high-risk areas in terms of the pandemic”.

Hong Kong-listed Meituan shares pared back some losses to close at HK$188, more than 14.8% down.


Metaverse Warning Hits Tech Stocks

Meanwhile, shares in video streaming sites Kuaishou and Bilbili, as well as artificial intelligence firm SenseTime tumbled more than 4%.

China‘s state planner, the NDRC, issued rules on Friday to promote a faster recovery from the pandemic in the services sector.

It also echoed a warning by the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission against using the metaverse as a tool for illegal fund-raising, saying that some companies were engaging in illegal fundraising, fraud, and virtual real estate speculation.

Investors, entrepreneurs, and established Chinese tech giants have in recent months piled into the trend of the metaverse, described as a virtual shared space that blurs the boundaries between the online and offline worlds.

The regulatory moves come as China‘s technology sector is still smarting from a year-long regulatory crackdown, which has upended once-common industry practices and wiped millions of dollars off share prices.

In contrast, property sector shares jumped by more than 4% on Friday after China‘s finance minister pledged more fiscal support for the economy and an easing of home-purchase down payments in several Chinese cities aimed at reigniting demand.


  • George Russell and Jim Pollard with Reuters

This report was updated with new information on February 18, 2022.



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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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