China tells Meituan billionaire to lie low after poem furore -Bloomberg

June 18, 2021 3:14 AM EDT

FILE PHOTO: Wang Xing, CEO of Meituan-Dianping attends at the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, October 20, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

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(Reuters) - China has advised Meituan Chairman and CEO Wang Xing to keep a low profile after he posted an ancient poem last month that sparked a social media furore and sent the food delivery firm's shares plummeting, Bloomberg News reported on Friday.

Government officials summoned the founder of China's third-largest tech firm to a meeting recently and told him to refrain from courting the spotlight, at least temporarily, Bloomberg reported, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the matter.

Meituan did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The poem, posted on May 6 on a small social media site Wang founded, criticises the emperor of the Qin dynasty, who burnt books to suppress intellectual dissidents only to be overthrown by illiterates.

Many on social media interpreted the post as an allusion to the anti-monopoly campaign of President Xi Jinping. Wang said the reference was to business rivals, saying "the most dangerous opponents are often unexpected ones".

The original post has since been removed.

In April, China began an antitrust investigation into Meituan as it increased scrutiny of the country's sprawling internet platform economy.

(Reporting by Nandakumar D in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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