Read Full Text of 'The Book Burning Pit' Poem That Make Meituan's Stock Price Plunges
|Meituan co-founder and CEO Wang Xing attends the 2108 debut of the company at the Hong Kong exchange. © Reuters|
Meituan's Stock Price Plunges by a poem
Shares in Meituan, China’s largest food delivery platform, have tumbled after its CEO posted —and then deleted — an ancient poem in a move widely seen as possible criticism of the Chinese government.
Wang posted the classical poem, “The Book Burning Pit” by Tang dynasty poet Zhang Jie to the social media platform Fanfou. He later deleted the post, saying it was meant to refer to fierce competition in the e-commerce industry, where the most dangerous competitors are often unexpected.
Meituan’s stock price lost 5.3% on Tuesday and plunged as much as 9.8% on Monday after its CEO Wang Xing posted the classical Tang dynasty poem, which criticized Emperor Qin Shi Huang for silencing his critics by burning books.
Wang's post was seen as a veiled comparison of the ruthless ancient emperor and China’s current authoritarian government. Investors worried over how Chinese authorities might react have been selling their holdings of Meituan’s stock.
Read the Full Text 'The Book Burning Pit' by Zhang Jie (translated):
"The ashes of burnt books had not yet faded away but the Qin dynasty was already weak,
The natural military forts did not protect the Qin dynasty,
The bonfire for burning books was not yet cold when the riot in Shandong started,
It turns out Liu Bang and Xiang Yu [who overthrew the Qin dynasty] did not read books at all."
The original poem was written more than a millennium ago in the late Tang dynasty by Zhang Jie, who also drew from Chinese history to critique the then Tang emperor.
What is Meituan Company?
Meituan is a one-stop platform for food, transportation, travel, shopping and entertainment.
Meituan is currently under a Chinese government antitrust investigation for abusing its market dominance, following a record $2.8 billion fine levied on its chief rival Alibaba last month.
Users of Twitter-like Weibo compared the Tang dynasty poem posted by Meituan's Wang Xing to a speech given at a forum in October by ecommerce billionaire Jack Ma in Shanghai.
Alibaba troubles surfaced after its founder Jack Ma publicly accused financial regulators of being behind-the-times at a conference in November.
Alibaba’s stock price has fallen nearly 17% since regulators announced in late December that they were investigating the company.
As China’s leading e-commerce platform for services, Meituan’s business revolves around the “Food+ Platform” strategy, and is centered on “eating” as its core. Meituan operates several well-known mobile apps in China, including Meituan, Dianping, Meituan Waimai and others. Its business comprises over 200 service categories, including catering, on-demand delivery, car-hailing, bike-sharing, hotel and travel booking, movie ticketing, and other entertainment and lifestyle services, covering over 2,800 cities and counties across China.
Leveraging its advantages in innovative technology, Meituan partners with a vast number of merchants and diverse partners to provide consumers with a higher quality of life. In doing so, Meituan is accelerating the digitization of the lifestyle services industry across both demand and supply.
Meituan (3690.HK) was officially listed on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited on September 20, 2018. Meituan continues to center its business on customers, while increasing its investment in technology R&D, in order to better fulfill its social responsibilities, create more value for society, and achieve win-win cooperation with its partners.
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