Chinese regulators punished Nice Tuan and KE Holdings for unfair business practices. JD Logistics and NetEase are in various stages of IPOs. Meituan, Pinduoduo, and Kuaishou release first-quarter earnings and discuss new initiatives.
China’s e-commerce and retail market offers a fire hose of products, choices, business models, rapidly changing content, and more. Here’s what you need to know about China’s online retail market for the week of May 26 to June 2.
China’s top market watchdog, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), fined Nice Tuan, an online grocer focusing on community group buy, RMB 1.5 million ($235,000) on May 27 due to price dumping and false promotion. The Alibaba-backed company was also ordered to suspend business operations in Jiangsu province for three days until May 30, according to a statement by the regulator. (SAMR, in Chinese)
SAMR opened an investigation into online housing firm KE Holdings for forced exclusivity practices, Reuters reported on May 25, citing unnamed sources. The investigation has not been publicly announced. KE Holdings denied the news, calling the report “fake news” (in Chinese). The Tencent-backed company runs popular housing platforms Lianjia and Beike. (Reuters)
Check out TechNode’s Techlash Tracker for an overview of the crackdown.
Funding and IPOs
JD Logistics, the logistics branch of the online retailer JD.com, debuted on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on May 28, pricing its shares at HK$40.36 ($5.20). The stock surged more than 18% before dropping and closing at 3.3% higher than the issue price. JD Logistics CEO Yu Rui said the company expects users outside the JD ecosystem to power growth. (Reuters)
NetEase plans a separate listing for its music streaming arm called NetEase Music on the Hong Kong stock market. The company owns 62% of the subsidiary, and it plans to keep a controlling share. (NetEase)
Meituan beat estimates on May 28 with its first-quarter earnings statement. Revenue is up 121% year on year to RMB 37 billion (about $5.8 billion). CEO Wang Xing said the company had addressed investor concerns about its ongoing antitrust probe by setting up a dedicated investigation team. (SCMP)
The company is also changing how it charges businesses, hoping to get closer to financial sustainability. The food delivery giant used to charge a flat fee for all deliveries. The new rate system will allow Meituan to charge businesses fewer fees if the order is within three kilometers of delivery distance, more in longer-distance orders, the company wrote in a May 24 WeChat post (in Chinese). (TechNode)
E-commerce giant Pinduoduo posted better-than-expected first-quarter earnings. Revenue increased by 239% year-on-year to RMB 22 billion, and the company’s annual active buyer count surpassed that of Alibaba’s. The group-buying platform plans to increase spending on agricultural products and “building China’s first agri-focused infrastructure,” said chairman Chen Lei. (TechNode)
Short-video social app Kuaishou has begun allowing international brands to sell their products on its platform. Its total e-commerce transaction volume is up 220% year on year, but sales from live streaming are showing slower growth. Rival Douyin took the same step last December, but current international offerings are limited. (KrAsia)
Local officials gave online retailers JD.com and Meituan permits to test driverless delivery cars on designated public roads in Beijing. Previously, those unmanned vehicles were only allowed in semi-closed areas. Officials also announced rules for managing the autonomous delivery vehicles’ size, speed, and loading capability. (Caixin Global)