Meituan, an investigation by antitrust regulators, community group-buying services, deepen its dialogue with antitrust regulators, Tencent Holdings

Meituan, operator of China’s largest on-demand delivery and local services platform, plans to hire 60,000 new employees in 2021, according to a report on Wednesday by Chinese online media LatePost, almost doubling its headcount amid an investigation by antitrust regulators.

The Beijing-based internet giant has started a recruitment drive, more than a week after reporting a wider net loss in the quarter ended March, to grow its headcount to about 100,000 by the end of this year, factoring in turnover, the report said, citing unidentified sources. The company had 58,390 employees as of mid-May.

The new positions to be filled mostly comprise on-the-ground logistics and marketing personnel, according to the report.

Meituan did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Thursday.

Meituan, an investigation by antitrust regulators, community group-buying services, deepen its dialogue with antitrust regulators, Tencent Holdings

Couriers from Meituan, operator of China’s largest local services e-commerce platform, are seen handling food orders for delivery from a centre in Beijing. Photo: AP

The company’s share price in Hong Kong gained 1.2 per cent during the morning session on Thursday.

About 900 job vacancies were posted by Meituan on its recruitment website on Thursday. These include jobs at its operations for food delivery, bike-sharing and ride-hailing, community group-buying services, powerbank-sharing and unmanned delivery.

Wanted personnel include Java engineers, call centre managers, natural language programming scientists and business developers in locations such as Beijing and Shanghai, Guangzhou in southern Guangdong province, Hangzhou in eastern Zhejiang province and Zhengzhou, capital of central Henan province.

The stakes are high for Meituan, as it faces antitrust scrutiny amid moves to consolidate its food delivery business, boost research and development in autonomous-delivery vehicles and use community group-buying services to expand beyond China’s biggest cities.

The company recorded a wider first-quarter net loss of 4.8 billion yuan (US$752 million), from a 1.7 billion yuan loss in the same period last year, because of heavy investment in new retail initiatives like community group-buying services.

In May, the company also vowed to deepen its dialogue with antitrust regulators.

“In response to the investigation, we have set up a dedicated team that is cooperating with the regulator’s investigation,” Wang Xing, founder, chairman and chief executive of Meituan, told analysts during the firm’s first-quarter earnings call in May. “We will review our existing business strategies and internal management, and also improve our compliance standards. This is a strategic priority for our company.”

Earlier this month, Meituan said Wang donated a US$2.3 billion stake, about a tenth of his total shareholding in the company, to his own philanthropic foundation that promotes education and scientific research. That followed Tencent Holdings’ pledge to invest 50 billion yuan in environmental and social initiatives.


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