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Beijing consumer rights group summons grocery firm Missfresh over complaints

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: A shop of MissFresh is seen at a street in Shanghai

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Beijing consumer rights group said on Tuesday it had asked Missfresh to work on plans to refund its customers and explain how it will rectify its business after receiving a number of complaints, adding to pressures facing the Tencent Holdings and Tiger Global-backed grocery startup.

The government-backed Beijing Consumer Association said in a statement on its website on Tuesday that a large number of Missfresh customers had complained about the platform's "abnormal operations".

Missfresh did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The grocery delivery firm's troubles come as China's tech sector grapples with slowing growth amid COVID-19 lockdowns and tightening regulatory oversight.

The company pioneered one-hour fresh food delivery services in China, a model that is extremely popular with consumers but is labour and capital intensive. It listed on the Nasdaq in June last year, raising $273 million.

However, the company's stock has lost 98% of its valuation since and in late July local media reported that it had abruptly laid off hundreds of employees and had not paid salaries, triggering labour arbitration complaints.

Missfresh has cancelled its one-hour delivery service, changing it to a next-day model, and told local media that it had conducted layoffs due to business restructuring.

(Reporting by Sophie Yu and Brenda Goh; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)