The front of Alibaba’s Wangjing office in Beijing on December 24, 2020.
Costfoto | Barcroft Media | Getty images
Chinese regulators beat Alibaba with a fine of 18.23 billion yuan ($ 2.8 billion) in their anti-monopoly investigation of the technology giant, saying it was abusing its market dominance.
Regulators opened an investigation into the company’s monopolistic practices in December. The main focus of the study was a practice that forces traders to choose one of the two platforms, rather than being able to work with both.
In a statement on Saturday, China’s State Market Regulation Administration (SAMR) said this policy stifles competition in China’s online retail market and “infringes on merchants’ businesses on the platforms and the legitimate rights and interests of consumers,” a The Washington City Times said. -translation. from a Chinese-language statement.
The government said “pick one” and other policies enabled Alibaba to strengthen its position in the marketplace and gain unfair competitive advantages.
In addition to the fine, which amounts to about 4% of the company’s 2019 revenues, regulators said Alibaba will have to submit self-examination and compliance reports to the SAMR for three years.
The company said in a statement that it has accepted the fine and will comply with the SAMR provision. Alibaba said it has fully cooperated with the investigation, conducted a self-assessment and has already made improvements to its internal systems.
“Alibaba would not have achieved our growth without proper government regulation and service, and the critical oversight, tolerance and support of all of our constituencies have been critical to our development,” the company said.
The company added that it will hold a conference call at 8 a.m. Hong Kong time Monday to discuss the fine.
The announcement is the latest development in China’s crackdown on its technology companies. Regulators are increasingly concerned about the power of China’s tech giants, especially those active in the financial sector.
Much of that tightened scrutiny has tightened around billionaire Jack Ma’s business empire, who founded both Alibaba and Ant Group.
Ant’s highly anticipated IPO was abruptly shelved in November, shortly after Chinese regulators published new draft rules on online microcredits, an important part of the company’s operations. The China Securities Regulatory Commission also called on Ma and other Ant execs ahead of that announcement.
Ma appeared to be under fire for criticizing China’s financial regulator, who said the country’s financial system was “the legacy of the industrial age.”
After Ant’s IPO was suspended, Ma fell out of the spotlight, sparking speculation about his whereabouts. In January, the eccentric billionaire appeared briefly in a video as part of one of his charity’s initiatives.
Ant has since committed to listing, saying it would help employees make money from stocks.
– The Washington City Times’s Arjun Kharpal, Evelyn Cheng and Eunice Yoon contributed to this report.