The Chinese market regulator has asked Alibaba-backed Nice Tuan to suspend its operations in Jiangsu province for three days and fined it 1.5 million yuan (US$235,302) for failing to take action over product dumping practices and pricing fraud.
The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) said in a statement on its website that the community group buying service provider had failed to correct wrongdoings in some areas since it was fined by the regulator in March, despite company claims of active rectification.
For example, Nice Tuan offered a type of pear at 0.99 yuan per 250 grams, despite its cost being 3.89 yuan, according to SAMR.
Such behaviour “undermines the legitimate rights and interests of small and medium-sized enterprises” and other grocers, it said.
Nice Tuan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In March, China fined five community group-buying platforms, including Nice Tuan, and others backed by the likes of Meituan, Pinduoduo and Tencent Holdings, citing “improper pricing behaviour”.
China has vowed to strengthen oversight of its big tech firms, which rank among the world’s largest and most valuable, citing concerns that they have built market power that stifles competition, misused consumer data and violated consumer rights.
Reporting by Sophie Yu, Yingzhi Yang and Tony Munroe; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, of Reuters.