Meituan CEO Wang Attends Xi Speech, Signaling He’s Back in Favor
(Bloomberg) -- Meituan’s Wang Xing made an appearance at an official Chinese state celebration on Thursday, signaling the chief executive officer and his company may be back in Beijing’s favor following a controversy over a poem he posted.
Wang was among the tens of thousands of people listening to Xi Jinping’s speech on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, local television images showed. Guests included medal winners, long-standing Communist Party members, as well as “fighters” who contributed to China’s campaigns against poverty and Covid-19, according to state media.
The government had summoned Wang to a meeting recently and warned him to keep a low profile, people with knowledge of the matter said last month, after the founder of China’s third-largest tech corporation made an online posting of a controversial poem that whipsawed Meituan’s stock and sparked a social media furor.
Shares of Meituan have remained little changed over the past month amid the debacle. Hong Kong markets were closed for holiday on Thursday.
Beijing officials had called Wang in after the food delivery mogul posted a millennium-old poem regarded by many as implicit criticism of the government. They warned him to refrain from courting the spotlight, at least temporarily, the people said.
Like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. previously, Meituan is grappling with a probe by the state antitrust watchdog into alleged monopolistic behavior such as merchant exclusivity, which some analysts have estimated could result in fines of more than $700 million.
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