With lockdowns beginning in late January 2020, many residents of Chinese cities had to rely on online, on-demand services offered by e-commerce and food delivery platforms.
The pandemic’s persistence introduced the wider population to the versatile use of couriers for a range of tasks, with community-based, bulk grocery purchases gaining the most traction among China’s tech giants.
However, as the group-buying model spread like wildfire across China’s numerous urban clusters, it grabbed the attention of regulators. State media criticized internet giants’ investment in the space as a lazy method of monetizing user traffic. Soon after, regulators came up with a set of guidelines for the sector to rein in the abusive use of subsidies and price-cutting by cash-rich internet entrants.
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