Chinese Food Delivery Platforms Meituan and Ele.me Interviewed by Market Regulators
The Hangzhou Municipal Market Supervision Bureau in eastern China’s Zhejiang Province issued a notice on July 28 regarding recent reports of food safety problems with group purchasing and delivery services by Meituan merchants, igniting extensive online discussion. The incident indicates that food delivery platforms do not strictly examine the qualifications of merchants and exhibit a lack of management during fierce price wars.
The local regulatory body conducted interviews with Meituan, Ele.me and other major domestic food delivery platforms on July 21, requiring them to implement food safety management responsibilities and prohibit vicious competition among catering businesses.
The administration stressed that the food delivery platforms should strictly fulfill their responsibilities according to the law, further standardize its business operations, and prevent price wars from disrupting market order. They also need to seriously carry out self-examination and self-correction, and ensure that related problems like food safety and malicious competition do not happen again.
In May of this year, food delivery platforms such as Meituan and Ele.me began to test the service of “group buying food delivery.” Since April, 2022, Meituan has piloted the group-buying version of food delivery services in many places. Through the way of “popular food recommendation combined with group-buying and unified distribution,” users can place orders centrally. Therefore, merchants can concentrate on cooking one kind of meal, and delivery riders can distribute intensively, inventing a new mode of “intensive cooking and distribution” in the food delivery industry. In addition, Ele.me took the lead in launching the “Ele.me Group Buying” in Wuxi, Shaoxing, Jinan.
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