Beijing (AP) – Alibaba Group, the world’s largest e-commerce company, was fined 18.3 billion yuan ($ 2.8 billion) by Chinese regulators on Saturday for anti-competitive tactics as the ruling Communist Party tightens control over fast-growing technology. on industry.
Party leaders are concerned about the dominance of China’s largest Internet companies, including Alibaba, as the industry expands into finance, healthcare and other sensitive sectors. The party says antitrust enforcement is a priority this year, especially in the technology industry.
Alibaba has been fined for “abusing its dominant position” for restricting competition by a retailer using its platforms and obstructing the “free movement” of goods, the state market administration said. It says the fine equals 4% of its total sales in 2019 – 455.712 billion yuan ($ 69.5 billion).
The move is a new setback for Alibaba Jack its billionaire founder Jack E. Mai after regulators decided to shut down Ant Group’s stock exchange, a financial platform that had grown out of an e-commerce giant. That would be the largest public offering in the world last year.
Ma, one of China’s richest and most prominent businessmen, has temporarily disappeared from public view after criticizing regulators in a speech in November. This was followed by the suspension of Ant Group a few days later, although financial experts said that regulators were already concerned that Ant did not have sufficient financial risk control.
Launched in 1999, Alibaba operates retail, business-to-consumer platforms. It has expanded rapidly to become financial services, film production, and other industries.
Twelve companies, including Tencent Holdings, which runs games և the popular WeChat messaging service, were fined $ 500,000 ($ 77,000) in March for failing to disclose previous acquisitions.
In February, the government issued antitrust guidelines aimed at preventing anti-competitive practices, such as concluding exclusive contracts with traders and using subsidies to squeeze competitors.
Regulators said in December that they were considering possible anti-competitive tactics by Alibaba, including a “choose one” policy that requires business partners to avoid dealing with competitors.
Also in December, regulators announced that the executives of Alibaba, JD.com’s main competitor Alibaba և four other Internet companies had been invited to a meeting: and warned not to use their market dominance to deter new competitors.