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World

Chinese regulators fine Alibaba $2.78 billion over monopolistic market abuse

  • Regulators in China have punished e-commerce giant Alibaba with a massive $2.78 billion (18.2 billion yuan) fine over practices deemed to be an abuse of the company's dominant (and monopolistic) market position.
  • Alibaba in particular has remained under scrutiny since last year, when co-founder Jack Ma criticised Chinese regulators as being "behind the times", after the company's financial arm Ant Group was investigated.
10 Apr 2021

Regulators in China have punished e-commerce giant Alibaba with a massive $2.78 billion (18.2 billion yuan) fine over practices deemed to be an abuse of the company's dominant (and monopolistic) market position.

Xinhua News Agency, a state-run outlet, announced that the State Administration for Market Regulation had assessed the fine after concluding an internal investigation into Alibaba, which was initiated in December 2020.

The investigation and subsequent fine centered around Alibaba's alleged malpractice of requiring merchants who wish to sell their products on its popular platforms to be forced to do so exclusively, by avoiding other e-commerce rivals.

The size of this penalty was determined as four percent of Alibaba's sales of 455.7 billion yuan in 2019.

Alibaba and other leading Chinese tech companies have come under growing pressure amid concern over their broadening influence in China, where tech-savvy consumers use leading platforms to communicate, shop, pay bills, take out loans and perform a huge range of other tasks on a daily basis.

Alibaba in particular has remained under scrutiny since last year, when co-founder Jack Ma criticised Chinese regulators as being "behind the times", after the company's financial arm Ant Group was investigated.

China has been seeking to rein in runaway personal debt and chaotic lending, and upstart Ant’s growing profile — and Ma’s rare public criticisms — have been viewed as a challenge to China’s state-dominated financial sphere.