Ten Chinese tech companies recently pledged to engage in fair competition and not take advantage of consumers.
JD.com, Meituan and two Alibaba subsidiaries — Ele.me and Hema — were among the 10 tech giants that were summoned to a meeting with regulators in the southern city of Guangzhou to report their data practices. At the meeting, Guangzhou's Bureau for Market Regulation and Bureau of Commerce deemed that big internet "platforms" — websites and apps — have "outstanding issues" in their data practices, including routinely "ripping off users with big data" (大数据杀熟). It's a term Chinese consumers coined to refer to price discrimination and other unsavory practices from some ticket-booking apps, car-hailing apps and online marketplaces.
Regulators said the companies should "assume their social responsibilities, strictly regulate business behavior and jointly maintain a fair competition market order." In the meeting, the 10 tech companies signed a pledge to comply with the relevant national laws and regulations and not engage in unfair competition. They promised to not illegally collect and use consumer information and not to "rip off" consumers using big data.
This pledge came in the midst of Beijing's antitrust drive, as authorities actively write new laws and regulations aimed at preventing certain monopolistic behaviors by internet giants, with harsh penalties for violations. Read Protocol's breakdown of the specific monopolistic practices that Beijing has made good on its threat to curb.